Dr. Christopher Balme

Dr. Christopher Balme
Adjunct Professor
Chair of Theatre Studies, University of Munich

BA Honours Otago, PhD Otago, Dr. phil. habil Munich

Christopher Balme Bio

Christopher Balme is a New Zealand-born scholar of theatre and performance studies based at LMU Munich. He did his undergraduate study in German and drama at the Universities of Auckland, Otago and Munich. He obtained his PhD at Otago and then moved to Germany where he has lived since 1985. His work in Germany was initially supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (postdoctoral). He has held a number of positions in Germany at universities in Würzburg, Munich and Mainz. From 2004 to 2006 he was chair of theatre studies at the University of Amsterdam before returning to Munich in 2006 when he took up his current position. 

Since the late 1980s, his research has been heavily focused on colonial and postcolonial theatre. This work led to his postdoctoral thesis which was initially published in German and later in English as Decolonizing the Stage (Oxford University Press 1999). Pacific Performances: Theatricality and Cross-Cultural Encounter in the South Seas (Palgrave Macmillan 2007) looked at performative encounters in Oceania since first contact. He has also invested heavily in introductory books for students of theatre studies. An introduction to theatre studies in German, Einführung in die Theaterwissenschaft, was published in 1999 and is now in its 5th revised edition. An English adaptation, Cambridge Introduction to Theatre Studies, was published with Cambridge University Press (CUP) in 2008 and has been translated into five languages. His most recent monograph is entitled The theatrical public sphere (CUP 2014). 

His work has attracted major research funding from national and European funding bodies. He directed a six-year project on Global Theatre Histories funded by the German Research Society (DFG) and in 2016 was awarded an ERC Advanced Grant for a project entitled ‘Developing Theatre: Building Expert Networks for Theatre in Emerging Countries after 1945’. 

He was immediate past-president of the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR) and has edited the journal Theatre Research International. He currently edits Forum Modernes Theater, a peer-reviewed journal that publishes in both German and English, and co-edits the online Journal of Global Theatre History. 

He is very active as a speaker and in the past three years has given keynotes and invited lectures at Tel Aviv, New Delhi, Malta, Heidelberg, Bangkok, Athens, Turin, Beijing and Guangzhou.