We are currently contributing to research conversations in the following areas:
This research group has a particularly strong focus on Theatre in Health and Care, and particularly in the role of creativity in health and wellbeing. Current conversations include researching how the arts contribute to the social and cultural wellbeing of people with dementia, and how theatre can create empathy. This research conversation has strong implications for future heath care practices, as well as making an active contribution to public engagement in bioethical issues in partnership with The Wellcome Trust.
Amateur theatre and performance has been neglected by scholars and academics, who have traditionally focussed on community theatre and more mainstream practices. Research conversations in this area bring together the historical and the contemporary, spanning the private theatricals of grand houses in the 18th Century, to the amateur dramatics of contemporary local companies and voluntary organisations. This conversation has implications for both the museum and heritage industries and contemporary cultural policy.
The Applied and Social Theatre research group has a long interest in innovative forms of theatre, and in the ways in which spaces and places of performance challenged boundaries of what theatre might be. Applied Playwriting is a new conversation in this area is beginning to open up around the role of the playwright in shaping awareness of contemporary social problems and the concerns of under-represented communities. This research conversation links with the work of contemporary black playwrights and playwrights who work in educational settings.
Theatre and performance study has, historically, introduced many fruitful analytical paradigms from adjacent disciplines to illuminate our work. This is particularly evident in the conversation, Theatricality and Public Space, where we are interested in taking theatre and theatricality as frames to interpret aspects of the public sphere and political life. Our areas of interest are ‘theatricality’ in public space (mass participation in sports events, riots, demonstrations, the political speech, testimony, legal and parliamentary process); performance and identity at the international border; spectacle and pageantry; public utterance and rhetoric; rethinking the ‘political’ theatre; questions of ‘appearance’ and ‘representation’ in the public sphere.