The Centre supports a wide range of research projects, performances and events. We provide a forum for artists to test and trial new work, for academics to share their research, and for students to develop their skills in writing and performance. Various publications emerge from these initiatives – from edited collections, journal editions, and reflective articles, to shorter form reviews and blogs. Interviews with students also reveal the impact that studying theatre and performance at Birkbeck has had in their lives. Read more below.
All the members of the Centre are active researchers in their fields. Our work ranges between internationally celebrated practice in playwriting, screenwriting and directing, pathbreaking practice-based scholarship in dramaturgy, producing, and translation, and world-class academic investigations of drama, theatre and performance in relation to a diversity of themes including identity, digital media, political economy and history. Read more about the research of individual Centre members here.
The selection of publications below emerged from Centre-supported projects combining practice and research.
- ‘Digital Experimentations and Technological Transformations: Interviews with (Post) Pandemic Theatre and Performance Artists’ (2023). This OSUN-funded interview-based research project explores how artists have experimented with digital technologies to adapt to the new realities produced by the Covid-19 pandemic, in order to sustain and innovate their practices
- Theatres of Contagion: Transmitting Early Modern to Contemporary Performance, edited by Fintan Walsh (London: Bloomsbury 2019):
- ‘On Proximity’, Performance Research, 22, 3 (2017): As part of their investigations of nearness and distance in cultural practice, Ben Cranfield and Louise Owen co-edited an issue of Performance Research journal, bringing together a range of international scholars and artists to examine proximity in art, theatre and performance. This interdisciplinary text approaches the topic from numerous historical, conceptual and practice-based standpoints, seeded by the Centre’s international symposium, Conventions of Proximity in Art, Theatre and Performance, curated by Ben and Louise. Read their editorial essay here.
- ‘World Factory: the politics of conversation’, Contemporary Theatre Review: Interventions, 25.4 (October 2015): Centre Fellow Zoë Svendsen and her company METIS Arts devised World Factory as a response to the global garment trade. Zoe trialled this interactive performance with Birkbeck students before it commenced its national tour. In this edition of Contemporary Theatre Review: Interventions, Birkbeck academics across the disciplines of international relations, marketing, geography, media studies, and theatre and performance to respond to the show and the issues it raises. Read more here.
- ‘Blake’s Dream: a Dramaturgical Experiment’, Exeunt, July 2015: Blake’s Dream was an audio theatre performance created by students on Birkbeck’s renowned MFA Theatre Directing. Presented in Birkbeck Arts Week 2015, it drew on and responded to the scholarly investigations of Luisa Calè, Reader in Romantic Studies, regarding William Blake’s complex poetic text Vala, or the Four Zoas. Calè and the creative team shared their dramaturgical process in Exeunt.
News and interviews
- ‘Theatre graduate wins prestigious award for emerging directors’ (May 2021): BA Theatre & Drama Studies and MFA Theatre Directing graduate Diane Page won the prestigious JMK Award 2021 for young directors. Read about her project here.
- ‘Birkbeck took me to a new stage in life…’ (May 2018): George Richmond-Scott, graduate of MFA Theatre Directing, discusses his directorial projects, including his work on the West End hit Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. Read his interview here.
- ‘Mother and daughter who faced homelessness, dyslexia and bereavement triumph as they graduate together’ (November 2016): BA Theatre and Drama Studies graduate Jessica Phillips reflects on her creation of a solo show exploring stereotypes of single motherhood. Read about Jessica’s work here.
- ‘Birkbeck student uses experience of cancer to develop show for Edinburgh Festival’ (July 2016): Karen Hobbs, who graduated from BA Theatre and Drama Studies with a First in 2016, created her one-woman show Tumour Has It during her studies. Read about Karen’s work here.
- ‘Islington 91-year-old resident graduates with theatre degree’ (April 2016): Read about Patricia Bishop’s experience of studying towards her MA here.
Reviews and blogs
- Louise Wilcox’s The Mendfulness Clinic (Arts Weeks 2020: Online): As part of the digital offerings of Arts Weeks 2020, artist and Centre Fellow Louise Wilcox created an online one-to-one performance inviting participants to repair a tattered garment with her. Read the review by Birkbeck’s Carolyn Burdett here.
- Theatre Scratch Night (Arts Week 2019): MA student Luke Buffini reviewed the annual sharing of works in progress from Birkbeck theatre and performance students. Read his blog here.
- Silencing the Virus (Arts Week 2019): In the second year of her project, artist-in-residence and Centre Fellow Lily Hunter Green staged an immersive sound work as part of Arts Week 2019. Read alumna Claire Frampton’s blog about the event here.
- Building a hive mind through immersive art (Arts Week 2018): Birkbeck artist-in-residence and Centre Fellow Lily Hunter Green presented on her project Bee Composed Live as part of Arts Week 2018. Read MA student Eva Menger’s blog about the event here.
- Andy Smith: dematerializing theatre (Arts Week 2017): Centre member Daragh Carville invited artist Andy Smith to speak about his experimental theatre practice at Arts Week 2017. Read Elinor Perry-Smith’s blog about the event here.
- Science as Spectacle (Arts Week 2017): Jonathan Parr (MA Text and Performance) discusses the nineteenth century phenomenon of the magic lantern, the subject of a lecture demonstration in Arts Week 2017. Read his blog about the event here.
- On Going On: Sustaining Life in Theatre (June 2015): Maria Patsou, PhD student in English and Humanities, reports on the Centre’s one-day symposium about artistic lives and livelihoods. Read her blog here.
- The Acts Between (Arts Week 2014): BA Theatre and Drama Studies students created a performance installation version of their collaborative performance work for Arts Week 2014. Read Éimear Doherty’s review of the piece here.
- ‘Composing Performance’ (Arts Week 2014): For Arts Week 2014, Centre Fellow Peader Kirk offered a workshop exploring compositional strategies in performance. Read Jeremy Mortimer’s blog about the workshop here.
- ‘Theatre Scratch Night—sharing of new student work’ (Arts Week 2013): The School of Arts’ theatre space was launched in Arts Week 2013 with a sharing of new student work, marking the first annual Theatre Scratch Night. Read Jennifer Wilson’s blogpost here.
- ‘Shakespeare and the Senses’ (Arts Week 2013): Gill Woods, Simon Smith and Derek Dunne explored the sensorial aspects of early modern theatre in this Arts Week discussion. Read Jessica Barrett’s report here.
- Handel’s Cross (Arts Week 2013): Theatre North presented a performance exploring fantasy and desire in relation to the figure of eighteenth century composer Handel. Read Fintan Walsh’s blog here.
- Freshwater (Arts Week 2012): A rehearsed reading of Virginia Woolf’s short 1923 play was staged for Arts Week 2012 in the Keynes Library. Read Roisin Lynch’s blog here.