In 2010, the International Balzan Prize Foundation honoured Prof Dr Manfred Brauneck for his life’s work, the first time the Balzan Prize has been awarded to a theatre scholar. In accordance with the prize rules, he donated half of the prize money to a research project for young scholars.
Manfred Brauneck commissioned the ITI Germany to carry out this project. The research project "The Role of Independent Theatre in Contemporary European Theatre: Structural and Aesthetic Changes" examined the structural changes that have been taking place in theatre within Europe since the early 1990s.
The volume Independent Theatre in Contemporary Europe: Structures – Aesthetics – Cultural Policy (published in 2017 by transcript Verlag) brings together the studies that were carried out as part of this research project on the situation of independent theatre in Europe in the areas of dance and performance, children's and youth theatre, theatre and migration, post-migrant theatre as well as on developments in the former socialist states. They are supplemented by essays on experimental music theatre and on the different cultural policies for independent theatre in European countries as well as by a classification of independent theatre in Germany. The publication contains contributions by Manfred Brauneck, Henning Fülle, Andrea Hensel, Tine Koch, Matthias Rebstock, Petra Sabisch, Azadeh Sharifi and Wolfgang Schneider.
The research project was completed with the publication Independent Music Theatre in Europe (published in 2020 by transcript Verlag). In case studies, the authors Thom Andrewes, Leo Dick, Matthias Rebstock and Martina Stütz empirically study four international scenes for the first time and describe the relations between the respective historical and cultural conditions as well as concrete artistic practice locally.