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About Us

The noble and picturesque Thurnau Castle has been home to one of the University of Bayreuth's institutes for over 40 years: the Research Institute for Music Theatre Studies ("fimt" for short) is an institute unlike any other in the world, where music theatre is treated as an equal division between musicology and theatre studies. It truly is an enviable place to work and study.

SchlossThurnauThurnau Castle With a population of around 4,000, the town of Markt Thurnau belongs to the administrative district of Kulmbach. The castle is the centrepiece of the town and has often been used as the backdrop for German and international films. At the beginning of 2017, the Institute of Franconian History joined the fimt in Thurnau Castle. - © Schloss Thurnau

The first staff members of fimt were hired in 1976 (at that time in Bayreuth). It wasn't until 1976 that the institute moved into the castle "out in the country".

Initially limited to a research institute with responsibilities relating to documentation and close ties to professional practice, in 1987 the Chair of Theatre Studies with a focus on Music Theatre was established - the postholder is ex officio director of the institute.

A corresponding degree programme was also launched in 1987. Ever since the modulization of the institute, the fimt - together with the Music Theatre team - offers the bachelor's programme Music Theatre Studies, and a master's programme and doctoral programme in Music & Performance.

The fimt: Internationally renowned and globally connected

Mitarbeiter_GruppenfotoIn the anniversary year, the fimt team is made up of the director of the institute Prof. Dr. Anno Mungen (6th from the left) and eight academic staff members; three of them are carrying out research in the scope of the DFG project "The Staging of Propaganda: Music Theatre in Nuremberg 1920-1950". The team is also supported by student assistants. - © Maxim Zimmermann

The institute has established an international reputation for itself and is well-connected globally. The project "WagnerWorldWide2013" was carried out in cooperation with the University of South Carolina and the Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

More recent projects to receive funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG) are the project bundle Musik–Stimme–Geschlecht, "The Staging of Propaganda: Music Theatre in Nuremberg 1920-1950"; and the online journal Act – Zeitschrift für Musik & Performance.

As of 2016, the institute has a new research concentration on non-European music theatre with a focus on Africa.

The institute's offices within the castle

The institute didn't really get settled in to its new home in Thurnau until 2006. That is when the extended renovations of the institute's offices was completed, thus bringing to an end a temporary set-up in a different wing over a period of several years.

The castle complex built in the 13th century is not only used as office space (including a meeting room with an arched ceiling), but also a library, and the so-called gatehouse is now an archive that is already filled to capacity: 20,000 programme booklets provide an overview of music theatre history since 1977. Conferences, colloquia, seminars, and concerts are now hosted in the festive Ahnensaal (see photo).

AhnensaalIt was relatively quiet in Thurnau Castle's Ahnensaal for several years, however that all changed in 2017: the fimt has brought back the Thurnau Castle Concerts.

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