OISTAT Research focuses on exchanging ideas, sharing innovations, encouraging experimentation and promoting collaborative international research around history, theory and practice in professions that support the development of design, space and technology for live performance.


OISTAT Research (formerly known as "History & Theory Commission") encourages OISTAT members and related groups and individuals to engage with the theoretical and historical aspects of theatre scenography, architecture and technologies. It aims to:


• hold at least one meeting annually that includes a conference or symposium, from which papers and presentations are prepared for publication on the OISTAT website and / or in print.

• assemble internet resources on scenography, performance environments and technologies (both digital and real world) in collaborative projects with other Commissions and organisations / institutions, including databases and links to relevant archives, research projects and theatres. 

• support and encourage members' interests in the visiting and documenting of historical theatres, artefacts, scenography and performance.



Of the 6 OISTAT Commissions, the Research Commission (formerly known as "History & Theory Commission") 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:

1995  Prague
During the PQ'95.

1995  Tel Aviv, Israel
"Spaces for Lyric Theatre"

1996  Finland
"The influence of new texts and new technology on scenography and theatre space."

1997  Bratislava, Slovakia
"Theatre as a space for communication."

1999  Toronto, Canada
Held in conjunction with the annual conference of USITT. Bob Logger of The Netherlands is elected the new chairman.

2002  New Orleans, USA

2006  Tel Aviv, Israel
“Documenting Scenography: History and Practice”