Tradition in progress. Electrical modern times in a provincial court theater

The dissertation project focuses on the mechanization und electrification of the Hoftheater Stuttgart, a former court theater in a medium-sized town around 1900. At that time, the new electric light becomes a symbol for social and cultural progress. Simultaneously, however, it provokes future shocks and conventionalism. Consequently, the electrification of the theater causes a public dispute amongst the citizens and can only be understood in the context of the developing urban space (e.g., new electric trams, street lighting, and a vibrant night life). Therefore, the interdependency between the theater and the city is the principal theme of the project to understand how the electrified theater is used to transform the city into a modern metropolis. Thus, this dissertation provides a deep understanding about how the electrified court theater triggers the emergence of new world views, concepts, and imaginations about the city and its society.

Miriam Höller is a Ph.D student and research associate in Munich. The research is part of a larger research-project, named “Energien des Spektakels. Zur Theatralität der Elektrizität und der Elektrifizierung des Theaters, 1870-1930“, sponsored by the Volkswagen-Stiftung.

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