The Bandmanns - A Leverhulme Lecture by Professor Christopher Balme

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The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

62-64 Eton Avenue

London

NW3 3HY

United Kingdom

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The Bandmanns: Biopolitical and Actor-Network Perspectives on a Theatre Family
Lecture by Professor Christopher Balme


Between 1900 and 1922 Maurice E Bandmann (1872-1922) established a global theatrical network which extended across most of the British Empire but also included South America and Japan. This lecture will situate Bandmann’s activities in the context of his family network.

He was the child of two itinerant and prominent actors, Daniel E Bandmann and Millicent Bandmann-Palmer, while his older sister Lily Bandmann also became an actor and spent her professional life touring the British provinces with her husband William Maclaren. All three were prominent examples of the actor-manager model. Theatrical families were often informal unions, peripatetic and sometimes dysfunctional, ending often in separation, divorce and highly publicized litigation. Following the ‘actors’ in the double sense of performers and nodes of a network, theatrical families of the Bandmann kind were both affective as well as economic networks, held together by – initially – bonds of emotional attraction, and later, economic dependency and entrepreneurial activity. What distinguishes the theatrical family network from other models of the time is the extreme mobility required of it. Both Maurice and his sister, Lily, were born on tour, and both spent most of their lives on the road. Both married within the profession and combined symbiotically theatrical and familial activity. The lecture will explore how Maurice shifted to a new, ‘modern’ managerial model, compared to that practised by his parents, and sister, thereby freeing himself of the limitations of the family network.

Christopher Balme holds the chair in theatre studies at LMU Munich and is currently Leverhulme Visiting Professor. His publications include Decolonizing the Stage: Theatrical syncretism and postcolonial drama, (Clarendon Press 1999); Pacific Performances: Theatricality and Cross-Cultural Encounter in the South Seas (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007); Cambridge Introduction to Theatre Studies (CUP 2008); The theatrical public sphere (CUP 2014). He is principal investigator of the ERC Advanced Grant ‘"Developing Theatre: Building Expert Networks for Theatre in Emerging Countries after 1945”.


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The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

62-64 Eton Avenue

London

NW3 3HY

United Kingdom

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