Institutional Changes in Contemporary Theatre

Elena Dzikevich


Current processes in international theatre practice have been so different in artistic sense that they could hardly be combined in some unity. But there is anothercriterion, not purely artistic, according to which artistically different phenomena of contemporary theatre could be united in wholeness. It is an institutional kind of criterion. Contemporary state of theatre as a kind of art could not be clearly described and then productively investigated without interpretation of those strong and deep transformations that have happened to theatre as a kind of societal institution. The thing is that researchers usually do observe artistic and societal qualities of art separately. Of course, it is one of the results of knowledge coming into depth and getting specialized, but sometimes it seems as if in development of art there were two divided processes – artistic, on the one hand, and societal, on the other hand. In reality, this development is one and whole total process with many various aspects. To keep in mind the unity of artistic and societal transformations of theatrical art is the challenge for methodological discourse within any aesthetic investigation in this field. Institutional theory of art, according to the author’s point of view, is the very case of methodological attitude that allows a researcher stay realistic in relation to the abovementioned unity. There is the key point that demonstrates it – the approach of the institutional theory of art to the problem of psychical distance between performance and spectators, its historical institutionalization in the phenomenon of classical and the following changes within this institutional state that finally brought theatre from classical to non-classical aesthetic regime. Institutional theory looks at this transition as artistic in the inspiriting causes, but societal is focused on fixation of their results. So, this theory allows an aesthetic observer keep the balance on the blade of the artistic and the societal contents of the institutional state of contemporary theatre. This article is the author’s attempt to point out the most significant institutional changes in contemporary theatre.


theatre; contemporary art; institutional theory of art; psychical distance; institutional transition

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.

"Societal studies" ISSN online 2029-2244 / ISSN print 2029-2236