The Sound of Theatre

Theater Studies | Academic Year 2022/2023

Musical and Acoustemological Approaches to Contemporary Performance Practice in an International Context

In theatre, as in everyday life, we are continuously surrounded by sounds. Sounds in the foreground which we actively turn towards, such as voices, effects, music, but also background soundscapes, sonic tapestry, atmospheres, acoustics of space. What sounds in the theatre and how it sounds is of the utmost importance and has significant impact – on theatre-makers and audiences alike. Research interest in music and "sound" (in a broad sense) in theatre, however, is low and mostly disintegrates into its individual aspects (e.g. voice, sound design, acoustics, composition).

The CAS Research Group "The Sound of Theatre" therefore pursues two important goals toward a sonic aesthetic of theatre: 1) Deeping and expanding current research on theatre music in particular as a relational and performed practice. With the help of international experts, the current significant gap in research on this topic would be addressed and their findings made accessible to a broader, international public through the joint publication of a carefully curated volume. 2) Furthermore, however, the topic will be considered in the context of a more holistic perspective: going beyond the study of theatre music, the group will consider a more comprehensive aesthetics of "sound" in theatre. How do artists and audiences sound, hear and listen? What constitutes the sonic signature of a theatre, an ensemble, a directorial team? These new, explorative approaches will be presented and discussed in a conference that analyses the acoustic, epistemic, performative, phenomenological and social conditions, effects, and meanings of "sound" in theatre practice across all genres.


Prof. Dr. David Roesner

LMU Munich

Theatre Studies


Dr. Anna R. Burzyńska

Jagiellonian University

Theatre Studies

Prof. Adrian Curtin, Ph.D.

University of Exeter

Theatre Studies

Lynne Kendrick, Ph.D.

University of London

New Theatre Practices

Prof. Dr. Ursula Kramer

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

German musicology

Duška Radosavljević, Ph.D.

University of London

Contemporary Theatre and Performance

Dr. Julia H. Schröder

University of the Arts in Berlin


Prof. Millie Taylor, Ph.D.

University of Winchester

Musical Theatre

Dr. Konstantinos Thomaidis

University of Exeter


Dr. Pieter Verstraete

Free University of Berlin

Theatre and Performance Studies

Kick-Off-Event: Sonic Bliss, 9. November 2022

In contrast to many other artifacts in the arts, ”sound“ and ”music“ in theatre productions remain particularly intangible, often even unheard impressions for scholars and general audiences alike. In this first public engagement, members of the Research Group approach the theme by recalling ”favourite moments“ in their personal theatre biographies.

Closing Conference

Podcast “Staging Sound”

This podcast offers reflections on theater music, sound design, sonic practices and experiences and sheds light on the wide range of interplays between theatre, music, sound, voice, acoustics, and technology.

Find links to the podcast here