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Contemporary Theatre


The Contemporary Theatre research group explores the diverse contexts, currents and practices of contemporary theatre and performance in Britain, Europe and around the world. Our research addresses plays and new writing, theatre events, live art, paratheatricality, cultural policy, theatre criticism, revivals, companies, buildings and theory. Our recent activities, conversations and publications have focused on:

  • black British playwriting and theatre production
  • theatre and globalisation
  • the Fringe and counter-culture of the 1960s and 1970s
  • theatre censorship
  • the musical and the Eurovision Song Contest
  • feminist theatre
  • documentary
  • tribunal and verbatim theatre
  • key playwrights
  • new historiographies of post-war British playwriting.

We’re particularly interested in ‘historicising the contemporary’ and tracing the political and ethical dimensions of theatre today. Group members include leading scholars on post-war British theatre and the department has an unrivalled reputation for scholarship in contemporary drama.

Members of the group play a leading role in the editing of peer-reviewed journals, including Contemporary Theatre Reviewand have made important contributions to key books such as Methuen’s Decades of Modern British Playwriting and Palgrave’s Performance Interventions.  

The influential Theatre& series is co-edited by a member of the group. 

We have a vibrant postgraduate community in the department working in the broad field of contemporary theatre and performance. We host the MA Playwriting programme, and recent PhD students have researched topics including the staging and reception of 1990s British playwriting in Greece, contemporary theatre and ‘hauntology’, the history and significance of the Natural Theatre Company, the playwriting of Martin Crimp and Phyllis Nagy, and contemporary verbatim theatre practices.

We have strong working links with a large range of theatres and related organisations including:

  • the Lyric, Hammersmith
  • the Barbican Centre
  • the Riverside Studios
  • the Soho Theatre
  • Unicorn
  • the Hackney Empire
  • the Orange Tree
  • the Royal Opera House
  • the National Maritime Museum
  • the Cameron Macintosh archive
  • the Royal Court Theatre
  • Love & Madness
  • the Tricycle Theatre
  • the National Theatre
  • Oval House
  • Graeae
  • BBC Radio
  • Plymouth Drum
  • Paines Plough
  • Tara Arts
  • Farnham Maltings
  • Black Arts Alliance
  • the Wrestling School
  • Third Angel
  • Scene and Heard.

Researchers in Contemporary Theatre make regular contributions to public events in London and elsewhere.  The group includes experienced professional playwrights and theatre critics in its membership.

Key researchers in Contemporary Theatre are: Professor Dan Rebellato, Dr Chris Megson, Dr Rachel Clements,Dr Lynette Goddard and include Dr Colette Conroy, Dr Karen Fricker and Dr Sophie Nield.


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