The Bauhaus in Germany, the most famous art school between the wars, cradle of Modernist architecture, source of almost every art and design course undertaken in the Western world in the second half of the twentieth century, had an active theatre stage which was central to its curriculum at Dessau. Yet the phrase 'the theatre of the Bauhaus' provokes surprise, curiosity and even downright disbelief, even though by the 1970s performance was well established in art schools and had become an accepted part of the visual arts. The extant black and white 1920s stage photographs puzzle and provoke more than they illuminate: padded masked figures play with sticks and hoops, light and shadow, scale and contrast. These are 'dances' with little movement, theatre with little content: even in the new millennium, their strangeness challenges our notions about what theatre- and dance- could be.
Focusing on the work of painter, choreographer and scenic designer Oskar Schlemmer, the 'Master Magician' and leader of the Theatre Workshop, this book explains this 'theatre of high modernism' and its historical role in design and performance studies; further, it connects the Bauhaus exploration of space with contemporary stages and contemporary ethics, aethetics and society.