Of the 6 OISTAT Commissions, the Commission for History & Theory is the youngest.
The commission for History, Theory and Criticism came to life again at the symposium on Adolph Appia, in Amsterdam, in November 1993. The event attracted many technicians and historians interested in discussing the development of theatre lighting since the spectacular experiments of Appia, in Hellerau, in 1912.
In order to focus the scope of the commission's work, the last term-Criticism was left out. The commission for History, Theory & Criticism gave way to the commission for History & Theory. Dr. Arnold Aronson of the United States was elected chairman of this new commission. The commission laid out clear objectives with a mandate "to promote study and research of theatrical space (architecture, locations), scenography in its widest sense (including costumes, lighting, sound, etc.) and theatre technology with the aim of improving the quality and supply of material for various courses".
Since its rebirth in 1993 the commission gathered several times in member-countries and examined a variety of topics:
During the PQ'95.
Tel Aviv, Israel
"Spaces for Lyric Theatre"
"The influence of new texts and new technology on scenography and theatre space."
"Theatre as a space for communication."
Held in conjunction with the annual conference of USITT. Bob Logger of The Netherlands is elected the new chairman.
New Orleans, USA
Tel Aviv, Israel
“Documenting Scenography: History and Practice”
The commission has designed a checklist for the determination and preservation of Historic Theatres, and is investigating the condition and number of Historic Theatres throughout Europe. The commission is working to spread the practical and theoretical experience and knowledge of its members through seminars, workshops and events in any interested country.
Subjects arising out of the Tel Aviv meeting to carry forward as potential areas around which to focus future meetings include:
• Documenting historical theatres.
• Documenting scenography and preserving its artifacts.
• Working with museums to promote the collection of scenographic material and to determine criteria for documentation and preservation.
• Considering how best to teach students to work with archives and historical material.
• Working more closely with other commissions.
• Working with the Publications Commission toward publication of work emerging from the History and Theory Commission.