Bryce Lease, Principal Investigator

Bryce Lease is Reader in Theatre & Performance Studies at Royal Holloway, University of London and is Primary Investigator on the ‘Staging Difficult Pasts’ project. His articles and reviews on contemporary international performance and theatre have been published in The Drama Review (TDR), Contemporary Theatre Review (CTR), Theatre Research International (TRI), Theatre Journal, European Stages and Safundi. He has published widely on Polish theatre, including his recent monograph After ’89: Polish Theatre and the Political (Manchester University Press, 2016). He is a co-editor for Contemporary Theatre Review and co-convener of London Theatre Seminar. He is completing two books, Contemporary European Playwrights (Routledge) with Maria Delgado and Dan Rebellato and A History of Polish Theatre (Cambridge University Press) with Katarzyna Fazan and Michal Kobialka. From 2018-2020, he is also Co-I on the project ‘Embodied Performance Practices in Processes of Reconciliation, Construction of Memory and Peace in Chocó and El Pacífico Medio, Colombia’, led by Melissa Blanco-Borelli and Anamaria Tamayo Duque. The project is jointly funded by the Newton Fund in the UK and Colciencias in Colombia. Developing practices from his previous AHRC-funded project ‘Sequins, Self and Struggle’ ( in the Western Cape (South Africa), he will help to develop modes of creating digital archives around local performance practices for marginalised communities.

Maria M. Delgado, Co-Investigator

Maria M. Delgado is Professor and Director of Research at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London, and Honorary Fellow of the Institute for Modern Language Research at the University of London. Her books include “Other” Spanish Theatres: Erasure and Inscription on the Twentieth Century Spanish Stage (Manchester University Press, 2003, updated Spanish-language edition published by Iberoamericana/Vervuert, 2017), Federico García Lorca (Routledge, 2008), and the co-edited Contemporary European Theatre Directors (Routledge, 2010), A History of Theatre in Spain (Cambridge University Press, 2012), and A Companion to Latin American Cinema (Wiley-Blackwell, 2017). Her recent work on cultural memory includes a consideration of Federico García Lorca, the politics of memory and his place in democratic Spain (available at a study of Almodóvar’s Los amantes pasajeros/ I’m So Excited! in relation to corruption in Spain, and work on Republican exile and the Spanish Civil War. Her work as a film curator involves work at the ICA and the Cine Lumière as well as a programme advisor role at the London Film Festival. She is a regular contributor to Sight & Sound.

Michal Kobialka, Co-Investigator

Michal Kobialka is a Professor of Theatre in the Department of Theatre Arts & Dance at the University of Minnesota.  He has published over 100 articles, essays and reviews in the American, South American, and European journals.

He is the author of two books on Tadeusz Kantor’s theatre, A Journey Through Other Spaces: Essays and Manifestos, 1944-1990 [University of California Press, 1993; the book was translated into Romanian under the title: O Călătorie ĭn Alte Spaţii: Teatrul lui Tadeusz Kantor (Cluj-Napoca: Casa Cărţii de Ştiinţa, 2010)] and Further on, Nothing: Tadeusz Kantor’s Theatre (University of Minnesota Press, 2009).  He is the editor of Of Borders and Thresholds: Theatre History, Practice, and Theory (University of Minnesota Press, 1999), a co-editor (with Barbara Hanawalt) of Medieval Practices of Space (University of Minnesota Press, 2000), a co-editor (with Rosemarie Bank) of Theatre/Performance Historiography: Time, Space, Matter (Palgrave, 2015), and a co-editor (with Natalia Zarzecka) of Tadeusz Kantor’s Memory: Other Pasts, Other Futures (Polish Theatre Perspectives, 2018).

He has held the McKnight Land-Grant Professorship (1991-1993; University of Minnesota), the Fesler-Lampert Professorship in the Humanities (2003-04; University of Minnesota), the Hoffman Chair at Florida State University (2004-05), the Belle van Zuylen Chair at Utrecht University (2008-09), the Imagine Fund Arts and Humanities Chair at the University of Minnesota (2010-12); was designated as Scholar of the College in the College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota (2007-10); and has been awarded the Paul W. Frenzel Professorship in Liberal Arts (2016-21).

Cecilia Sosa, Researcher

Cecilia Sosa is an Argentinean sociologist and cultural journalist. She obtained an MA in Critical and Creative Analysis (Distinction, Goldsmiths College, University of London) and a PhD in Drama (Queen Mary, University of London), awarded the AHGBI best thesis publication prize. She is a permanent research fellow at CONICET (Argentina, Universidad Tres de Febrero) and is currently affiliated to Royal Holloway, University of London as a postdoctoral researcher for Staging Difficult Pasts. She also works as a consultant for the AHRC project ‘Screening Violence. A Transnational Study of Post-Conflict Imaginaries’ (Newcastle University). Her first monograph is entitled Queering Acts of Mourning in the Aftermath of Argentina’s Dictatorship (Tamesis Books, 2014) and she has published extensively at the crossroads of Memory, Performance and Affect, including articles in Memory Studies; Theory, Culture and Society; Feminist Theory; Subjectivity and Cultural Studies. She is the co-editor of the Latin American Theatre Journal special issue ‘Theatre on Screen, Cinema on Stage: Cross-Genre Imaginaries in Contemporary Argentina’ (2017).




CRICOTEKA, the Centre for the Documentation of the Art of Tadeusz Kantor was founded by Kantor in 1980. Originally named the Centre of the Cricot 2 Theatre, it was first located at 5 Kanonicza Street in Krakow. For almost ten years, until Kantor’s death in December 1990, the institution was the cornerstone of Kantor’s avant-garde theatre, as well as a ‘living archive’ of his theatrical creations.

The new home of Cricoteka opened on Nadwiślańska Street in Krakow in 2014 – is the first art institution in Poland dedicated to an individual artist. The fundamental concerns of Cricoteka are issues such as the nature of the artist’s output and the possible ways of presenting it in a museum. The unique collection of Kantor’s works, the basis of the activities of the Centre, comprises several hundred objects and costumes from the Cricot 2 Theatre, Kantor’s theoretical papers, drawings and design works, video records, and photographic documentation as well as thousands of reviews, journals and books. This enormous output offers unique opportunities for academic research.  Alongside Cricoteka’s commitment to being a research center, it offers an innovative program for the public.  The concept behind the program of the Centre has been inspired by Kantor’s work as well as the collection of archival materials and theatrical objects, which are today viewed from the perspective of contemporary art and the new generation of artists. The program explores such phenomena as interdisciplinarity, re-performance, appropriation art, retrospection and memory, the concept of the archive and collecting, as well as experimental puppet theatre.

For more information see:

El Solar

El Solar is a detective agency of objects, a portable research office specializing in field work, an ethnographic research of people and their belongings; and how, through the same singular collective history a specific community is portrayed. Our objective is to visualize the memories and experiences stored in the objects of the inhabitants of a specific place; and from there investigate close knit relationships within the space and propose a reflection about the present space and time of that specific neighborhood and/or city, as well as the transformations and transitions of certain material culture. With this in mind we aim to build documentary-object theater, scenic devices where the appeal of the project is the testimonial potential that exists within the life cycles of these objects together with the actual stories. Our agency is open to build different display formats depending on the specific case and on the interaction that is established with the local community (installations, exhibitions, tours, social gatherings, performative round tables, etc.).

Alejandra Naftal

Since its inauguration in May 2015, Alejandra Naftal has been the Executive Director of ESMA Memory Site Museum - the former Clandestine Center for Detention, Torture and Extermination. She received her master’s degree in Image and Institutional Communication and Social Anthropology. In the area of Memory and Human Rights she was Coordinator of the Oral Archive of Memoria Abierta, a coordinated action of Human Rights Organizations. She worked as a museologist for the National Ministry of Culture and in the National Museum of Fine Arts. Naftal developed citizenship and human rights’ campaigns for the city of Buenos Aires. She worked at the State News Agency (TELAM) and also for Producers Television and advertising agencies in the private sector. She is also a founding member of the Good Memory Civil Association; Executive Director of the Institute for Interreligious Dialogue; and Secretary of the Support Committee of the Haroldo Conti Cultural Center. In 1978, being a secondary student she was arrested and disappeared. Released in 1979, she was exiled until 1983. She testified in national and international court cases. As Director of the ESMA Memory Site Museum, she has delivered multiple conferences and lectures in the UK, Sri Lanka, Poland, Italy and Latin America, where she referred to the process of debates and consensus needed for the creation of the ESMA Museum. She is currently coordinating the presentation of ESMA Memory Site Museum to be included at UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Joanne Rosenthal

Joanne Rosenthal is a freelance exhibition curator and museum consultant with over 14 years’ experience working in the arts and museums sectors. She is passionate about communicating complex ideas and narratives in an accessible and meaningful way and has a proven track record of producing exhibitions that negotiate complex and sensitive subjects with nuance and intellectual rigour whilst appealing to a broad range of audiences. Her museological interests lie in the politics of display and in explorations of heritage ownership, collective memory and identity. Her exhibition-making practice covers a hugely eclectic range of subject matter, encompassing cultural and social history, art, design and photography. Until recently she was Chief Curator and Head of Exhibitions at Jewish Museum London where she was responsible for producing some of the museum’s most critically-acclaimed exhibitions. In 2015 she curated the exhibition Blood: Uniting and Dividing presenting a cultural history of blood in ritual, theology, history and medicine which is currently on a record-breaking international tour. Other exhibitions include Sephardi Voices: Jews from North Africa and the Middle East (2017), Through a Queer Lens: Portraits of LGBTQ Jews (2016) and Four Four Jew: Football, Fans and Faith (2013/4).

Opening in March 2019 at the Jewish Museum in London, her latest project is an exhibition exploring the sensitive topic of Jews and money. Looking at the subject with a long view - from Judas’ betrayal of Christ through to 21st century dog-whistle politics - the exhibition will historicise and deconstruct antisemitic associations of Jews and money, interrogating notions of wealth, power and dispossession throughout Jewish history, and illuminating Jewish ideas on money from a religious and ritual perspective.

For further information on Jo Rosnethal:

Alejandro Tantanian

Alejandro Tantanian is General and Artistic Director of Teatro Nacional Argentino - Teatro Cervantes. Director, playwright, teacher, actor and singer. Curator of the Theater of the Museum of Modern Art of Buenos Aires (MAMBA), he has participated in more than 60 international festivals and is winner of numerous national awards. His pieces have been produced and staged in Argentina, Uruguay, France, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Austria and Germany, and have been translated into English, French, Italian and German. In January 2010 Tantanian and Cynthia Edul founded Panorama Sur, a platform of training and exchange for artists based in the city of Buenos Aires, which he currently directs. Some of his recent local productions are Sagrado bosque de monstruos (2018) by Oria Puppo and Tantanian; Todas las canciones de amor by Santiago Loza (Paseo La Plaza, 2016); Beatrix Cenci, an opera by Alberto Ginastera (Teatro Colón, 2016); Patricio Contreras dice Nicanor Parra (2015); Almas Ardientes, by Santiago Loza (2014); El rastro by Margo Glantz (2014); Anything Goes by Cole Porter (2013); Nada del amor me produce envidia by Loza (2013); El don de la palabra by Andrew Bovell (2013); Cenizas by Neil LaBute (2012); Cliff by Alberto Conejero (2012); Las Islas by Carlos Gamerro (2011); Blackbird by David Harrower (2011); Luci mie traditrici, an opera by Salvatore Sciarrino (2011). Internationally, he launched Nie war der Schatten (2012); Die Dreigroschenoper (2010) by Kurt Weill & Bertolt Brecht; Amerika (2009) based on Franz Kafka’s novella and Freiheit by Farace, Tufró & Tantanian (2007) at the Nationaltheater in Mannheim; Instante, an opera by Oscar Strasnoy, in Paris (2008); Romeo und Julia at Luzerner Theater in Lucerna (2006); La Gabbia ópera by Tiziano Manca at Lille’s Opera  (2004).

Teatro Nacional Argentino - Teatro Cervantes

Tantanian’s website

Lluís Pasqual

Lluís Pasqual (Reus, 1951) is a stage director and one of the founders in 1976 of Barcelona’s Teatre Lliure. He studied Catalan Philology at Barcelona’s Universidad Autónoma and then Dramatic Arts at The Institut del Teatre. He has combined directing different works with the artistic directorship of venues such as Madrid’s Centro Dramático Nacional (1983-89), the Odéon-Théâtre de l’Europe in París (1990-96), la Biennale de Venezia (1995-96), Bilbao’s Teatro Arriaga (2004-07) and the Teatre Lliure (1998-2000 and 2011-18). He has directed for Milan’s Piccolo Teatro, St. Petersburg’s Maly Theatre, Buenos Aires’s Teatro Martín and the Avignon Festival. Recent productions include Shakespeare’s El rei Lear (King Lear, Teatre Lliure, 2015), In memoriam. La quinta del biberó (In memoriam. The Baby Bottle Brigade, Teatre Lliure, 2016, 2018), Medea (from Eurípides and Séneca, Teatre Lliure, 2018) and Romancero gitano (Federico García Lorca’s Gypsy Ballads, Teatro de la Abadía, 2018). He has also directed numerous operatic works at the Liceu Barcelona., Madrid’s Teatro Real, the Paris Opera, the Teatro alla Scala di Milano and the Salzburg Festival.

His many prizes and awards include the Premi Nacional de Teatre de la Generalitat de Catalunya, the Premio Nacional de Teatro from the Ministry of Culture, Barcelona’s Premi Ciutat, the Chevalier de l’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur, and the Creu Sant Jordi of the Generalitat de Catalunya. He was recently given the Premio Atlàntida 2018 by the Association of Editors of Catalonia.

In 2016, he published De la mano de Federico (Arpa Editores), an extended essay on his relationship with Federico García Lorca whose writings he has regularly engaged with over his extensive career.

Erica Lehrer

Erica Lehrer is a sociocultural anthropologist and curator. She is Professor in the departments of History and Sociology-Anthropology and held the Canada Research Chair in Museum and Heritage Studies (2007-2017) at Concordia University, Montreal, where she also is Founding Director of the Curating and Public Scholarship Lab (CaPSL). She is the author of Jewish Poland Revisited: Heritage Tourism in Unquiet Places (Indiana University Press (2013); and editor (with Shelley Butler) of Curatorial Dreams: Critics Imagine Exhibitions (McGill-Queens 2016); (with Michael Meng) of Jewish Space in Contemporary Poland (2015); and (with Cynthia Milton et al) of Curating Difficult Knowledge: Violent Pasts in Public Places (Palgrave 2011), as well as numerous articles. In 2013 she curated the exhibit Souvenir, Talisman, Toy at the Kraków Ethnographic Museum (MEK) in Poland, and in 2014 published the accompanying book Lucky Jews and the online exhibit She is currently at work on a collaborative project Awkward Objects of Genocide, resulting in the exhibition Terribly Close: Polish Vernacular Artists Face the Holocaust at MEK (12.1.2018 - 3.31.2019) and other creative interventions in 2018-19.

For more information on the Terribly Close exhibition:

Rubén Szuchmacher

Actor, director, teacher, dramaturge, translator, and performing arts manager. Szuchmacher has trained in multiple and varied disciplines such as theatre, music, opera stage directing, dance, choreography and social psychology. His artistic production involves acting and directing plays at national, commercial, and independent theatres, and he has been called one of South America’s most influential theatre directors. His teaching activity, both in the field of acting and staging has been developed in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Mexico, Chile, Germany, Spain, and the UK. Szuchmaher’s production of Henry IV Part 2 was selected for the Globe to Globe season in London in 2012. He carries out management projects in several institutions, including Elkafka Theatre (2004-2017). His work in theatre has been widely recognised by all the award-winning committees in Argentina.

The Holocaust Exhibition, Imperial War Museum

The Holocaust Exhibition at the Imperial War Museum tells the story of the Nazi persecution of the Jews and other groups before and during the Second World War. The origins and implementation of the ‘Final Solution’ are laid bare, with photographs, documents, artefacts, posters and film offering stark evidence of how persecution turned to mass extermination. Testimonies from survivors bring a moving perspective to the many objects on display while a model of Auschwitz-Birkenau by artist Gerry Judah demonstrates the extent of events that occurred.

IWM is currently developing new Holocaust Galleries which will open at IWM London in spring 2021. You can contact the content team at

Parque de la Memoria, Monumento a las Víctimas del Terrorismo de Estado

The Parque de la Memoria - Monumento a las Víctimas del Terrorismo de Estado (the Park of Memory - Monument to the Victims of State Terrorism) is a public space that extends over fourteen acres, located along the coastline of the Río de La Plata river in Buenos Aires City. Erected as a place for memory, it combines the force of a monument with the engraved names of the disappeared and murdered persons by the State’s repression, and the critical approach elicited by a work of contemporary art and direct visual contact with the Río de La Plata river, silent witness to the fate of many of the victims.

El Extranjero – Mariano Stolkiner

El Extranjero Theater is a space specially designed for theatrical production. It gathers practicioners who form part of the independent theatre scene as part of their own work. Located in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, it serves as a creative lab for the research and experimentation in the performing arts across a wide range of languages. Since its creation in 2010, El Extranjero has been working alongside some of the most important directors in the local scene while generating valuable exchanges with groups from different parts of the world. Its artistic director, Mariano Stolkiner, holds a degree in Scenic Direction and is also an actor and teacher. Together with his company El Balcón de Meursault, he conducts teaching, research and direction. His productions include L.U.I.S. (Las últimas imágenes soñadas) (which he also authored); Cleansed and Phaedra’s love, both by Sarah Kane; Mark Ravenhill’s Shopping and Fucking; Adiós todavía by María Cárdenas; Iván y los perros by Hattie Naylor; Biolenta. Delicado emparche femenino by Carolina Vergara Olivetti; Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas and La reina del Abasto, which he also authored. His awards include the Trinidad Guevara, ACE, Teatro del Mundo, Teatro XXI and Revista BUE prizes.



STAGING DIFFICULT PASTS is an AHRC funded project: Grant reference: AH/R006849/1