In 2000, the steps necessary to organize PhD studies at the Theatre Department of “George Enescu” National University Iași were taken, a department that at the time belonged to the Faculty of Composition, Musicology, Music Pedagogy and Theatre. The first three qualified scientific supervisors were prof. Sorina Bălănescu, PhD, prof. Florin Faifer, PhD and prof. Constantin Paiu, PhD. According to the academic regulations of the time, students could choose between two profiles: Theatre and Performing Arts. Starting with academic year 2007/2008, in the context of adhering to the Bologna system, the regulations underwent a series of changes, the main one concerning the inclusion of two types of PhD studies relative to the domain of Theatre and Performing Arts: a scientific PhD and a professional PhD, a distinction that is maintained to date.
The research lines of the Doctoral School of Theatre Iași can be summarized by:
- Continuing the research aimed at rediscovering, reassessing and assuming classical values, bringing to light certain personalities, theatrical practices, views on theatre and identifying past-present temporal axes thanks to which fundamental questions such as “Who are we?”, “Where do we come from?”, “Where are we going?” can find answers. Ultimately, the major stake of this research component oriented towards the past is to understand the identity of Romanian theatre and to identify particularities that distinguish it from the European one, or, in a broader sense, from the theatre of the world. The development of pejorative meanings of “nationalism” creates a tendency to abandon research that focuses on local/national traditions or ethos. Abandoning it, however, means, we believe, abandoning a heritage and placing everything related to the foundations of a culture under the sign of derision.
This is the reason why a significant number of research projects of the Doctoral School of Theatre in Iasi are centered around precisely this revisiting of the past and creating a dialogue between what-was and what-is.
- Research as a eulogy of inter-disciplinarity is a constant concern of the Doctoral School of Theatre, all the more so as the art of theatre remains a syncretic art. In addition, the different fields of UNAGE Iași privilege such approaches. We aim to encourage the joint-supervision of theses, the participation of our doctoral students in programs initiated by other Doctoral Schools (Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology, etc.), but also to enagage colleagues from other fields by involving them in the scientific events organized by Doctoral School of Theatre. It is necessary to enhance professional communication within the so-called humanities, both nationally and internationally. Frequently, in their research projects, our doctoral students have to deal with situations outside their specialized field, feeling the need for benchmarks related precisely to trans-disciplinarity and inter-disciplinarity.
- A third line of research starts from rallying to a common European cultural fund. Romanian contributions to the deepening of major European themes (a reevaluation of dramaturgy, of directorial systems, of performance and theatrical aesthetics) are not few, the Doctoral School of Theatre in Iași recording a significant number of research projects dedicated to this type of scientific investigation (studies already completed or in the process of being completed on Chekhov, Shakespeare, Beckett, Ibsen, etc. are relevant here)
- Another area of interest concerns the ongoing self-reflection of research, or, in other words, the interest for meta-research. One of the successful programs of the Doctoral School of Theatre is the one entitled “For whom do theatre researchers research?” We thus try to overcome the somewhat abstract character that research can acquire and define as explicitly as possible the addressability of our research. The program mentioned above, carried out as cultural-scientific events with an audience, has as collateral purpose the removal of research from the much-used “ivory tower” and the involvement of the artistic community in the very heart of research. It is a form of “in sight” or “open” research. The public success of the program “For whom do theatre researchers research?” indicated the existence and level of expectation of an audience that wants to be involved in research.
- Approaching certain urgent, topical themes in research. Just as theatre claimed, from Shakespeare onwards, to be a mirror of the world, in a similar way theatre research should mirror the background data of the world/society/community in the midst of which the research takes place. Thus, social dynamics, economic fragility, the risks of globalization, the technologization of the human being, the digitization of human relationships, migration and its effects, the alteration of communication, etc. they can all generate research projects through theatrical grids able to bring more knowledge/inight/remedy to the themes themselves. In the same contemporary trends, the new functions that theater and performance art acquire are of course included. The research plan of a doctoral school of theater cannot remain indifferent to dealing with the new formulas of “social theatre”, “political theatre”, “independent theatre”, “institutionalised theatre”, etc. – very different from the meanings they had in past decades.
- The dynamics of the Faculty of Theatre Iași involves certain lines of research. The development of the Choreography section in recent years, for example, requires broadening the field and the interest shown not only for theatre performance, but also for dance performance. The functions of contemporary dance, the issue of the classical-modern relationship in choreography, the ambiguity of concepts such as theatre-dance open new research horizons.