Maurice E. Bandmann and the Beginnings of a Global Theatre Trade


  • Christopher Balme Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich Center for Global Theatre Histories



Theatre, Popular Entertainment


This essay outlines the remarkable but today largely forgotten career of the Anglo-American actor and theatre manager Maurice E. Bandmann (11872-1922). In the course of a thirty-year career Bandmann established a theatrical circuit that extended from the Mediterranean to the Far East. It argues that Bandmann refined theatrical management from an actor-centred to a manager-centred enterprise which enabled him to move several troupes performing various genres around the circuit on a carefully calibrated rotation system. The essay explores how Bandmann created a successful theatrical product that could cater to a highly diverse theatrical public. It argues that the theatrical trade routes established by Bandmann worked on a principle of repetition, whereby troupes sustained a culture of promise and expectation that transcended a specific work or performer.

Author Biography

Christopher Balme, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich Center for Global Theatre Histories

Christopher Balme currently holds the chair in Theatre Studies at LMU Munich. Recent publications include Pacific Performances: Theatricality and Cross-Cultural Encounter in the South Seas (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), Cambridge Introduction to Theatre Studies (Cambridge 2008) and The theatrical public sphere (Cambridge, 2014). He is director of the Global Theatre Histories project (