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More in this section Performance Practices

Performance Practices

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. Above all, there’s a focus on practice as a mode of research inquiry, as well as pf documentation and writing (after) the event.

As part of its brief, the group also cross-examines concepts of the body and of embodied perception. Interdisciplinary in its focus, the group meets twice a term throughout the academic term and hosts a series of guest speakers, practical seminars, performances and workshops both on and offsite.

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 strengths 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 Review, Performance Research, Theatre, Dance and Performance Training and Choreographic Practices. Key research areas of members of this 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.

We have 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, for example:

  • the agency of objects on theatre practices
  • vocal training practices internationally
  • kinaesthetic approaches to devising
  • directorial methods 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 
  • the making of intimate spaces in physical theatre pieces in France and the UK.

Key researchers in this group include Professor David Williams, Dr Libby Worth, Ali Hodge, Dr Dick McCaw, Dr Emma Brodzinski, Professor Matthew Cohen and Professor Helen Nicholson.


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