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The American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR) is a U.S.-based professional organization that fosters scholarship on worldwide theatre and performance, both historical and contemporary.
ASTR was founded in 1956 to encourage theatre scholarship and to provide a link with other similar groups represented in the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR/FIRT). Its name was adopted to distinguish it from the Society for Theatre Research, based in the United Kingdom.
In 1967, the American Society for Theatre Research was incorporated under the laws of New Jersey as a nonprofit corporation. In informal correspondence, the society is referred to as "ASTR."
ASTR is the only theatre organization in the United States affiliated with IFTR and the American Council of Learned Societies. ASTR cooperates with the Theatre Library Association to host its annual conference and the Association for Theatre in Higher Education in many endeavors of mutual interest. ASTR also maintains liaisons and correspondence with the National Humanities Alliance, Performance Studies International, the Society of Dance History Scholars, and the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music regarding the administration of the Kurt Weill Prize.
For more extensive histories of ASTR, see Thomas F. Marshall's "The First Quarter Century of ASTR" and Gary Williams's article, "A Serious Joy: ASTR from 1981 to 2006." on the second twenty-five years, which was delivered at the 50th Anniversary Conference in Chicago.
To commemorate its 50th Anniversary in 2006, ASTR designed a new logo that evokes our mission as theatre and performance scholars to write about an ephemeral and often elusive subject while continuously "writing over" - in both tribute and challenge - the scholarship that has preceded us. ASTR designed and launched a new website in 2007 and revamped its website in 2012 to better serve its members and visitors.