Scenes of Cold War Diplomacy: Romania and the International Theatre Institute, 1956–1969

In: East Central Europe
Viviana Iacob Center for Advanced Study, Sofia

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The article maps Romania’s involvement with the International Theatre Institute during its first decade of membership. The argument revolves around a number of East–West convergence high points such as the 1959 Helsinki Congress or the 1964 Bucharest Symposium. It analyzes the connections developed by Romanian theatre specialists within the framework provided by iti, the specialized networks they helped create and the domestic impact of these interactions. The article examines the multifaceted Romanian involvement with these projects in national and international context. It begins in 1956, Romania’s first participation at the Dramatic Art Festival in Paris, the forerunner of iti’s Theatre of Nations Festival. It closes the arc of the story with the 1969 international symposium on training young theatre directors. The article shows that soon after joining iti ranks, Romanian theatre artist were propelled into the international limelight and were recognized by their Western peers. It advances the idea that East European theatre practitioners had a role in shaping their respective community of knowledge as much as their Western counterparts did.

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