Dr Bryce Lease

Personal profile

Bryce Lease is a Reader in Theatre and Performance Studies. His writings on contemporary international performance have been published in numerous journals, including The Drama Review (TDR)Contemporary Theatre Review (CTR), Theatre Research International (TRI), Theatre Journal, European Stages and New Theatre Quarterly (NTQ). His research has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the Newton Fund, the British Academy, the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Standing Conference of University Drama Departments (SCUDD) and the Brown International Advanced Research Institute (BIARI). He has been awarded the Thesaurus Poloniae Fellowship in 2021 but the Minister of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland.

Bryce is Co-Editor of Contemporary Theatre Review, a founding member of the Executive Committee for EASTAP (European Association for the Study of Theatre and Performance), an advisory board member for European Stages, and a member of the Arts and Humanities Research Council Peer Review College. At RHUL, he developed the MA Theatre Directing with Katie Mitchell.

Overarching themes that frame his research interests are the interconnections between cultural memory, difficult histories, politics, nascent democracies, nationalism, counterpublics, gender, sexuality, ecologies and cultural geography. Bryce has published numerous articles on Polish theatre and a monograph, After '89: Polish Theatre and the Political, which interrogates the rebirth of the theatre as a site of public intervention and social criticism since the establishment of pluralistic democracy. Two further edited collections on European theatre include Contemporary European Playwrights (Routledge) with Maria Delgado and Dan Rebellato and A History of Polish Theatre (Cambridge University Press) with Katarzyna Fazan and Michal Kobialka.  

Funded projects

In 2013-15, he was Primary Investigator (PI) on the AHRC-funded project, Sequins, Self & Struggle: Performing and Archiving Sex, Place and Class in Pageant Competitions in Cape Town. This project was a collaboration among the Departments of Drama at RHUL and QMUL (UK), The Centre for Curating the Archive and the Centre for African Studies at the University of Cape Town (South Africa), Africana Studies at Brown University (US) and the District Six Museum. The project received international media coverage and resulted in several exhibitions in Cape Town and London, two documentaries, a symposium and curated panel on gay rights for the South Bank Centre’s Mandela Weekend, and a digital archive hosted by the University of Cape Town. http://sequins-self-and-struggle.com/

From 2018-2021, Bryce was the PI on the AHRC-funded project ‘Staging Difficult Pasts: Of Narratives, Objects and Public Memory’ in collaboration with Maria Delgado, Michal Kobialka and Cecilia Sosa. This project examined how theatres and museums are currently shaping public memory of difficult pasts through their staging of narratives and objects. Through fieldwork, workshops, public talks, and symposia the project specifically analysed transnational case studies in Argentina, Poland, Spain and the UK. The project website and archive can be found here: http://stagingdifficultpasts.org/

From 2018-2020, he was Co-I on the project ‘Embodied Performance Practices in Processes of Reconciliation, Construction of Memory and Peace in Chocó and El Pacífico Medio, Colombia’, led by Melissa Blanco-Borelli and Anamaria Tamayo Duque. The project was jointly funded by the Newton Fund in the UK and Colcenicias in Colombia. Developing practices from ‘Sequins, Self and Struggle’ in the Western Cape (South Africa), he helped to develop modes of creating digital archives around local performance practices for marginalised communities. The project webiste and digital archive can be found here: http://perbodigital.com/corpografias/

From 2021-28, he will be a Collaborator on the project ‘Thinking Through the Museum: A Partnership Approach to Curating Difficult Knowledge in Public’, working specifically in the 'National Heritage and Traumatic Memory' research group. The project is led by Erica Lehrer (Concordia) and is funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada. TTTM brings together international scholars, students, museum professionals, and community representatives from 20 museums, universities, and NGOs in Canada, the Netherlands, Poland, South Africa, and the US. The team will work within museum settings to co-produce exhibitions and design tools to challenge elite institutional knowledge systems, and beyond their walls to explore alternative heritage mobilization in festivals, grassroots archives, and site-based curating, where communities can set their own agendas.

Bryce would welcome research students interested in any of the fields mentioned above.

ID: 17497988