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  • Cited by 5
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
October 2019
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Book description

Between 1895 and 1922 the Anglo-American actor and manager, Maurice E. Bandmann (1872–1922) created a theatrical circuit that extended from Gibraltar to Tokyo and included regular tours to the West Indies and South America. With headquarters in Calcutta and Cairo and companies listed on the Indian stock exchange, his operations represent a significant shift towards the globalization of theatre. This study focuses on seven key areas: family networks; the business of theatrical touring; the politics of locality; repertoire and publics; an ethnography of itinerant acting; legal disputes and the provision of theatrical infrastructure. It draws on global and transnational history, network theory and analysis as well as in-depth archival research to provide a new approach to studying theatre in the age of empire.


‘The theatrical enterprises of Maurice E. Bandmann played, at the start of the twentieth century, a highly significant role in promoting Western plays, musical comedies and revues throughout Asia, but they have been hitherto overlooked by historians. Christopher B. Balme has, through ingenious and thorough research, reconstituted the manifold activities of this pioneering manager. More importantly, he has situated them as a hub from which to explore such matters as global networks, transnational commerce, intercultural relations, playhouse architecture, and the diffusion of taste. His enquiries open out into thought-provoking analyses that stretch far beyond theatre itself. The result is an engrossing and intellectually stimulating study which is bound to open up new directions in theatre scholarship, much as Bandmann blazed trails in India and the Far East.'

Laurence Senelick - Fletcher Professor of Drama and Oratory, Tufts University

‘This ground-breaking study provides new insights into theatrical touring in an age of globalization, particularly across the Asian continent, and the networks that made it possible. Focussing on the circuit developed by Maurice E. Bandmann in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century, it charts the impact of economics and politics on touring theatre and its structures, while also investigating managerial practices, performer and spectator experience, and the types of repertoire presented. Balme's informative and carefully researched book is an important addition to our understanding of transnational theatre practices and networks in a period of significant change and increasing internationalisation.'

Jim Davis - University of Warwick

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