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Tyrol or Not Tyrol

Theatre as History in Südtirol/Alto Adige

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Nóra de Buiteléir

On 19 June 1992 Austria and Italy declared the official resolution of the South Tyrol question – the dispute that had dominated relations between the two countries since the end of the First World War. While this bilingual province is today held up as a triumph of minority rights protection and a model for post-conflict societies across the world, the story of the South Tyrol since its amalgamation into the Italian state in 1919 has been a complex and often turbulent one.
This book investigates the political role of the theatre in reflecting, shaping and subverting patterns of cultural identity among the German-speaking South Tyrolese. Taking as its starting point the representation of history in a series of ambitious theatrical productions from the 1970s to the present, this study offers close readings of texts and performances and an examination of the belated development of professional theatre in the province. The role of theatre is analysed in terms of the broader historical and sociocultural factors at play in the shaping of South Tyrolese identity.

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Politics and Theatre in the South Tyrol: A Chronology

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1915 Treaty of London. Italy joins the war on the promise of a Brenner border 1919 Treaty of Saint-Germain. Austria loses the South Tyrol to Italy 1922 Fascist March on Rome; Benito Mussolini comes to power 1923 Ettore Tolomei launches his Italianization programme in Bolzano 1923 Bolzano municipal theatre closed and converted into an Italian Opera House 1928 Erection of the Victory Monument on the Piazza della Vittoria/ Siegesplatz 1939 Option Agreement. 86 per cent of the South Tyrolese popula- tion register to leave 1943 Fall of Mussolini; the South Tyrol comes under direct Nazi occupation 1943 Verdi Opera House (formerly Bozner Stadttheater) destroyed in air-raid 1945 End of the war; birth of the Südtiroler Volkspartei and Dolomiten newspaper 1946 First Autonomy Statute (De Gasperi-Gruber Agreement) signed in Paris 1950 Setting up of the Teatro Stabile di Bolzano 1951 Setting up of the Bund Südtiroler Volksbühnen 1954 Setting up of the Südtiroler Kulturinstitut 1957 Silvius Magnago leads ‘Los von Trient’ campaign for extended autonomy 1958 Ezra Pound moves into Brunnenburg Castle, near Meran 1959 Erich Innerebner revives the Meraner Volksschauspiel Andreas Hofer 204 Politics and Theatre in the South Tyrol: A Chronology 1961–7 Rising discontent at failed autonomy settlement; series of bomb attacks 1966–9 Setting up of the first experimental urban theatres in Bolzano 1972 Second Autonomy Statute (‘Das Paket’) passed by the Italian parliament 1974 Setting up of the Interessengemeinschaft Theater in Südtirol IGTST 1976 Tyrol 1525 (Südtiroler Kulturzentrum) 1976 Erste...

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