“The history of Europe – told by its theatres” was a touring exhibition, created by six theatre museums from six countries.

The history of Europe – told by its theatres. European Touring Exhibition.

Lokacija: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, Maistrova 10, Ljubljana
Termin: 24. 10. 2016 – 03. 01. 2017

“The history of Europe – told by its theatres” was a touring exhibition, created by six theatre museums from six countries. The exhibition was on show from 2015 to 2018 in Warsaw, Copenhagen, Vienna, Munich, Ljubljana, Hanau, London, and Bellinzona. With more than 250 exhibits, the exhibition illustrates how the history of Europe from antiquity to the present is mirrored in the performances and the theatre buildings of the different eras. The focus is therefore not on battles or political power play, but on mutual influences across all borders and the development of society – all that has shaped Europe and continues to shape it.


In a colourful design, reminiscent of the colours in the flags of European countries, the exhibition presents nine topical chapters, entitled: “Mediterranean Experience”, “Religious Impact”, “Changing Society – Changing Building”, “Aesthetics and Technology”, “The Nation”, “Fire!”, “Crossing Borders”, “War”, “Democracy”.


The exhibition aims to inspire the visitor and invites him to connect the past and present on display with the possible future. And obviously, topics like “Changing Society”, “Religious Impact”, “Democracy” are immediately relevant today and to our future.


It was the first time that a group of museums created an exhibition as team, each proposing well-chosen exhibits from its own and other collection(s) and discussing all proposals with the colleagues from the partner museums. The result is also a panorama of European theatre collections.


The participating museums were: Teatermuseet i Hofteatret, Copenhagen / Slovenski Gledališki Inštitut, Ljubljana / Victoria and Albert Museum, Theatre & Performance Department, London / Deutsches Theatermuseum, Munich / Theatermuseum, Vienna / Teatr Wielki – Opera Narodowa – Muzeum Teatralne, Warsaw.


The exhibition was organized by PERSPECTIV as part of the European Route of Historic Theatres and supported by the Culture Programme of the European Union.



Have a look at the exhibition magazine.

And find the entire exhibition on the Internet.


Razstava podaja zgodovino Evrope, kakor se odraža v repertoarjih in arhitekturni zasnovi evropskih gledališč.


Violeta Bulc, EU Commissioner, visited the exhibition on 18 November 2016. On the left: Mojca Jan Zoran, director of the Slovenien Theatre Institute. On the right: Tea Rogelj, also of the Slovenian Theatre Institute.


Mednarodno potujočo razstavo si je 18. novembra ogledala tudi evropska komisarka mag. Violeta Bulc.         Mednarodno potujočo razstavo si je 18. novembra ogledala tudi evropska komisarka mag. Violeta Bulc.



The exhibition was organized as part of the European Route of Historic Theatres and supported by the Culture Programme of the European Union. The exhibition in Ljubljana was made possible by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia.




Themes of European Touring Exhibition


The Mediterranean Experience

European civilization started in ancient Greece. The Greeks were the first people in Europe to build cities, introduce an alphabet and mathematics, develop philosophy, natural sciences, literature, history, the Olympic Games, and democracy. Carsten Jung


Religious Impact

Theatre in Europe started in a religious context, was later condemned by the church, much later endorsed by it as propaganda instrument, and finally freed itself from religious impact to become the secular event we still enjoy today. Carsten Jung


Changing Society

Every society creates its very own variant of the theatre building. In this way every theatre building can tell us something about the society that built it and about changes in society that in turn led to changing the appearance of a given theatre building. Carsten Jung


Aesthetics & Technology 

Aesthetics and technology influence each other, particularly on a continent as creative as Europe. Sometimes, a new aesthetic movement demands new technologies to achieve its ambitions; at other times, new technologies lead to new aesthetic expressions. Carsten Jung


The Nation

What is a nation? What defines its identity? Is “nation” a category that has a future, or is it out of date and will disappear? And what has theatre got to do with it? Carsten Jung



No hurricane hit the city, no plane crashed, no ferry sank, no trains collided, no reactor melted down. It was simply a theatre on fire. But the catastrophe was so terrible that it changed everything. Daniela Franke & Carsten Jung 


Crossing Borders

What is a border, and what effect does it have? Do we need borders? What happens when borders become permeable or vanish altogether? Carsten Jung 



The history of Europe could be told as a succession of wars, raging for 2500 years. It was only after the ultimate disaster of two World Wars that institutions were created to prevent wars in Europe: the OSCE, the Council of Europe, and, by and by, the European Union. Carsten Jung 



Parliament is the greatest theatre of democracy, a venue for debate and far reaching decisions. Theatres, too, are great venues for debate. But how can they be democratic?




The venues of the tour 2015 – 2018


10 February – 30 April 2015

Warsaw (Poland): Teatr Narodowy


22 May – 20 September 2015

Copenhagen (Denmark): Theatre Museum at the Court Theatre


22 October 2015 – 28 March 2016

Vienna (Austria): Theatre Museum


13 May – 03 October 2016

Munich (Germany): German Theatre Museum


24 October 2016 – 3 January 2017

Ljubljana (Slovenia): Ministry of Culture


19 January – 24 February 2017

Hanau (Germany): Neustädter Rathaus

With the special support of Culture Fonds Frankfurt RheinMain and the Hessian State Chancellery


22 March – 03 September 2017

London (United Kingdom):
Victoria and Albert Museum, Theatre and Performance Department


11 November 2017 – 07 January 2018

Bellinzona (Switzerland): Castelgrande