Mass Theatre in Interwar Europe

Flanders and the Netherlands in an International Perspective

Thomas Crombez (Editor), Luc Van Den Dries (Editor),

Series: KADOC-Artes 15

Category: Art, History, History 1800-present

Language: English

ISBN: 9789058679925

Publication date: June 23, 2014

€49.50 (including 6% VAT)

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Size: 280 x 225 x mm

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Stock item: 91016

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For Belgium: 5 to 8 working days

For EU: 2 to 3 weeks

For other countries: 4 to 5 weeks


Ideological heterogeneity in mass plays in Flanders and the Netherlands
In many European countries mass theatre was a widespread expression of ‘community art’ which became increasingly popular shortly before the First World War. From Max Reinhardt’s lavish open-air spectacles to socialist workers’ Laienspiel (lay theatre), theatre visionaries focused on ever larger groups for entertainment as well as political agitation.
Despite wide research on the Soviet and German cases, examples from the Low Countries have hardly been examined. However, mass plays in Flanders and the Netherlands had a distinctive character, displaying an ideological heterogeneity not seen elsewhere. Mass Theatre in Interwar Europe studies this peculiar phenomenon of the Low Countries in its European context and sheds light on the broader framework of mass movements in the interwar period.

This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).

Staf Vos (Het Firmament), Karel Vanhaesebrouck (Université Libre de Bruxelles/Rits), Evelien Jonckheere (Ghent University), Ad van der Logt (Leiden University), Frank Peeters (University of Antwerp)

Blog Thomas Crombez –


Thomas Crombez & Frank Peeters
A New Genre for a New Audience. Introduction
The Lion of Flanders in Antwerp, 9 July 1938
Dynamics and Domination
Politics and Pathos
Three Parameters of Socio-Theatricality
Participants and Spectators
Mass Spectacle in Soviet Russia
The Soviet Example as a Model for Europe
Choral Drama in the Weimar Republic
Ideological Diversity and the Question of Technique
Mass Spectacle and Public Space
Re-theatricalizing the Theatre
Jan Oscar de Gruyter’s Open-air Theatre Project
Conquering Public Space

Ad van der Logt & Thomas Crombez
Mapping Mass Spectacle in Flanders and the Netherlands
Socialist Lay Theatre in the Netherlands
Traditional Workers’ Theatre in the Netherlands
The Development of Lay Theatre
Labour Day Celebrations
The Reception of Socialist Mass Spectacle
Communist Choral Drama and Mass Spectacle in the Netherlands
National Socialist Spectacles in the Netherlands
The Land Days of the National League for Agriculture and Society
The Cultic Plays
The Catholic Movement in the Netherlands
The Grail Movement
The Grail Spectacles
Other Catholic Mass Spectacles
Socialist Groups in Flanders
King Labour (1932)
The Moral Education of Youth
The Catholic Movement in Flanders
The Modernization of Catholicism
Modernist Catholic Theatre
Theatre and the Return to Christianity
Flemish Polemics on the History of Choral Drama
The Praxis of Liturgical Drama

Case Studies

Frank Peeters
National Feasts in the Long Nineteenth Century
The Feasts of the Revolution
The Feast of the Constitution (1793)
The Feasts Revisited: Firmin Gémier
Staging the Great Moments of History

Evelien Jonckheere
Disciplined Freaks and Redskins. The Ghent Performances of the American
Mass Spectacles Barnum and Bailey (1901) and Buffalo Bill (1906)
Mass Spectacle
A Well-Disciplined Organization
The Exhibitionary Complex
The Society of the Spectacle

Ad van der Logt
The Machine on Stage. Two Expressionist Mass Spectacles in the Netherlands
Gas I by Georg Kaiser
D 16 MM by Mannus Franken

Staf Vos
‘Variations on a Cosmic Rhythm’. Collective Movement between Dance, Sport and Politics
From Solo Presentation to the Collective Experience
Lea Daan and the Desire of an Organic Community
Red Movement Choirs
Catholic Movement Choirs

Karel Vanhaesebrouck
Herman van Overbeke and the Open-Air Theatre in Ghent.
Between Scenic Innovation and Medieval Traditionalism 127
Mass Spectacle in Flanders 127
The Sint-Baafs Play 128
The Middle Ages as a Construction of the Imagination 132
The Green Theatre in Citadel Park 135

Luk Van den Dries
The Pilgrimages of the Yser (1948-1970)
Mass Singing and Speeches
The Problem of Youth
A Cumbersome Flagship
New-style Pilgrimage

Index of persons

Thomas Crombez

Thomas Crombez is affiliated Researcher at the University of Antwerp and teaches Philosophy of Art and Theatre History at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp and Philosophy at Sint Lucas Antwerpen.

Luc Van Den Dries

Luk Van den Dries is Professor of Theatre Studies at the University of Antwerp.

Mass theatre in interwar Europe is in zijn geheel een mooie publicatie, die slaagt in het opzet dat de redacteurs vooropstellen: een duidelijk beeld geven van dit fenomeen in Vlaanderen en Nederland. Het uitgebreide bronnenmateriaal biedt een goede kijk op die historische periode en de toenmalige theaterpraktijk die zeer sterk verbonden was met de politieke en sociale omwentelingen.
Karel Pletinck, Universiteit Antwerpen, Forum+, maart 2015, jaargang 22, nr. 1

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