Former organisational unit. 10/05/16.

This research group focuses on issues related to practices of performance (past, present and future). It considers the implications and possibilities of practice-based research and practice-as-research in theatre, dance and performance, in particular in terms of practice as a mode of research inquiry, as well as of documentation and writing (after) the event. As part of its brief, necessarily it also interrogates concepts of the body, and of embodied perception. Interdisciplinary in its focus, the research group meets twice a term throughout the academic year, and hosts a series of guest speakers, practical seminars, performances and workshops both on and off site. 

Practice is conceived as integral to the department’s research work, with a number of staff actively involved in performance making in diverse contexts and in publishing in related areas. Particular areas of strength include contemporary choreographic practices, dramaturgy, directing, playwriting and approaches to performer training. Members of the Department are also involved editorially in the journals Contemporary Theatre ReviewPerformance ResearchTheatre, Dance and Performance Training and Choreographic Practices.

In addition there is a lively group of postgraduate scholars and practitioners at Royal Holloway. As part of the MA in Theatre, the department hosts pathways in Directing, Playwriting, Physical Theatre and Applied Drama, as well as the Postgraduate Certificate in Physical Theatre for Actors and Dancers. Current and past PhD researchers have focused on e.g. the agency of objects in theatre practices, vocal training practices internationally, kinaesthetic approaches to devising, directorial processes of feedback in processes of making work, tensions between the local and global in the work of Kneehigh, the reception of Noh Theatre in the West, site-responsive text-based performance, the skeleton and the Feldenkrais Method in performance, aerial performance and the making of intimate spaces in physical theatre pieces in France and the UK.

Key research areas of members of this Research Group include:

  • Formation – the performer in relation to neuro-physiological developments
  • Encounter – the experience of the permeable body
  • Enactment – layers of knowledge: touching the past through enactment
  • Transmission – confronting the limitations of movement discourse
  • Materials and materiality – objects, agencies, ecologies
  • Dramaturgy and composition

Key researchers in conversation are: Dr David WilliamsDr Libby WorthAli HodgeDr Dick McCaw and include Dr Emma BrodzinskiProfessor Matthew CohenDr Gilli Bush-Bailey,Professor Helen Nicholson


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