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Prof. Dr. Erika Fischer-Lichte to Receive 2024 Thalia Prize

Her specialties have been performance theory, European theatre and cultural history, transformative aesthetics, and performances of Greek tragedies since 1800.

Prof. Dr. Erika Fischer-Lichte.

GLOBAL: The International Association of Theatre Critics (AICT/IATC) announced today that Prof. Dr. Erika Fischer-Lichte, the renowned German theorist on theatre and performance, will receive the 2024 Thalia Prize at its 2024 World Congress in Brno, Czechia (Czech Republic), in May. 

The Thalia Prize, AICT/IATC’s prestigious award for outstanding contribution to the field of theatre criticism, is bestowed on critics, theoreticians, and practitioners who have played significant roles in shaping global understanding of theatre spanning different cultural environments, politics, and aesthetics. The 2024 Thalia committee comprised Ivan Medenica, chair (Serbia); Irina Gogoberidze (Georgia); and Pawit Mahasarinand (Thailand). The executive committee of AICT/IATC voted unanimously, in a meeting earlier this year, to present the prize to Prof. Dr. Fischer-Lichte.

“It is difficult to imagine the landscape of thought on global theatre and performance over the past several decades without the brilliant perspectives of Erika Fischer-Lichte,” said Jeffrey Eric Jenkins (USA), president of the association, in a statement. “It is truly a pleasure for us to honor her outstanding work and contributions to the field.”

Fischer-Lichte’s extensive body of work is concerned with problems of performance theory, European theatre and cultural history, transformative aesthetics, performances of ancient Greek tragedies worldwide since 1800, theatre and cultural identity, interweaving of performance cultures in the context of historical and contemporary forms of globalization, and performance-related concepts in non-European languages. Among her publications are The Transformative Power of Performance: A New Aesthetics (2008), The Politics of Interweaving Performance Cultures: Beyond Postcolonialism (2014, ed. with S. Jain et al.), and Tragedy’s Endurance: Performances of Greek Tragedies and Cultural Identity in Germany Since 1800 (2017). Born in 1943, Fischer-Lichte studied Theatre Studies, Slavic Languages and Literatures, German Philology, Philosophy, Psychology and Educational Science at Freie Universität Berlin and the University of Hamburg. In 1973, she was appointed professor at the Institute for German Language and Literature at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt/Main. In 1986 she took over the chair of General and Comparative Literature at the University of Bayreuth, and in 1990 she became director of the newly founded Institute for Theatre Studies at the University of Mainz. Since 1996, she has been a professor at the Institute for Theatre Studies at Freie Universität Berlin, and since 2008 she has been director of the International Research Center “Interweaving Performance Cultures.” 

Previous Thalia honorees include Eric Bentley (USA, 2006), Jean-Pierre Sarrazac (France, 2008), Richard Schechner (USA, 2010), Kapila Vatsyayan (India, 2012), Eugenio Barba (Denmark, 2014), Femi Osofisan (Nigeria, 2016), Hans-Thies Lehmann (Germany, 2018), and Tadashi Suzuki (Japan, 2020). No prize was given in 2022 due to pandemic public health protocols.

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