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Socially engaged theatre and performance research

Wimbledon College of Arts research covers a wide range of performance practices. Our work includes theatre-making, directing, design, acting, costume, new technology, scenography and cultural politics.

Our research engages with the aesthetics and politics of performance. We are concerned with production and reception in both live and mediated environments.

As a College we encourage interdisciplinary experimentation and collaboration. Our aim is to challenge convention, promote sustainability, and work with diverse communities to effect social and political change.

Women and men sitting in a cafe with headphones on.
The Killers by Richard Allen - a live binaural sound work performed in The Regent seaside diner in Weston-super-Mare. Photograph: Paul Blakemore.

Our research staff

Wimbledon College of Arts researchers and their areas of performance related expertise.

Course Leader - BA Contemporary Theatre and Performance

  • Objects, environments and apparatus in post-dramatic performance.
  • Binaural sound and emergent performance technologies.
  • Making contemporary theatre.

Lecturer in Contemporary Acting

  • Acting, direction, playwriting, dramaturgy.
  • Theatre-making as an act of translation.

Programme Director - Performance Design and Technologies

  • Scenography and the presentation of national identity through design.
  • Immersive performance environments and emerging technologies.

Dr Katie Beswick

Programme Director - Acting and Performance

  • Class, politics and performance.
  • Representations of social housing in British theatre practices.
  • Women’s interventions into class, sex and desire in art and performance.
  • Community and applied theatre.

Professor of Theatre and Performance

  • Scenography, theatre and performance design.
  • Transnational performance and cultural identity.

Senior Lecturer in Theatre Design

  • Theatre and performance design.
  • Site-specific and immersive experiences incorporating new technologies.
  • Performance design and the visual arts.

Professor of Theatre and Performance

  • Post-dramatic theatre: acting, directing and dramaturgy.
  • Performance, politics and the public sphere.
  • Decolonising performance histories and contemporary practices.

Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Performance

  • Contemporary performance in a British and European context.
  • Gender, identity, translation and adaptation.

Course Leader - MA Performance: Theatre Making and MA Performance: Politics and Social Justice

  • Feminist performance practices.
  • Technology and digital performance.
  • Participatory performance, climate change and social justice.

Lecturer in Contemporary Theatre and Performance

  • Gig theatre and contemporary performance practice.
  • Collaborative performance practices.
  • Post-dramatic theatre and performance.
Actors dressed as angels behind keyboards, mixer, microphones and laptop.
Image from DoppelDänger by She Goat (the collaboration of Shamira Turner and Eugénie Pastor). Photograph: Adam Fung.

Research degree proposals

Wimbledon College of Arts is interested in PhD research proposals relating to the following areas:

Performance, politics and social change

  • Politics and performance and theatre-making as a form of critical social practice.
  • Decolonial performance practices and histories.
  • Class relations and class politics across a range of performance practices.
  • Critical theory and practice-based research methodologies which re-engage the ‘theatrical’ as a means of interrogating contemporary society.

Performance environments, technology and scenography

  • Post-dramatic theatre-making, including investigations of the agency and theatricality of objects, theatre and performance technologies, spatial dramaturgies and scenography.
  • Site-specific performance and scenography, and the development of regenerative performance practices.

You can read the title and thesis summary of completed PhD or MPhil degrees on UAL Research Online.

Research degrees

The benefits of studying a PhD or MPhil at Wimbledon College of Arts are:

Research supervision

Through the work and subject expertise of our staff, we offer an exciting and rigorous experience for your research degree.

Graduate teaching assistant

The scheme offers you the opportunity to teach on selected undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Post-doctoral research fellowships

These offer you the opportunity to progress your career and acquire new skills, such as working as a co-investigator.

Research student programme

A programme of seminars where we discuss all aspects of the PhD / MPhil. The emphasis is on the integration of practice within that process.

Student exhibition

In the first year, research degree students at Wimbledon College of Arts can lead and take part in an annual exhibition.

British School at Athens residency

An annual arts residency in Greece offered to practice-based PhD students at UAL. Supported by a bursary with studio and accommodation provided.

  • Girl in cafe with headphones on smiling.
    The Killers by Richard Allen - a live binaural sound work performed in The Regent seaside diner in Weston-super-Mare. Photograph: Paul Blakemore.

    Research degree funding

    Find out about funding opportunities for PhD and MPhil students.

  • Two hands holding small model people one female and one male on top of a black tall rectangular box as part of a workshop by ZU-UK.
    Photo from workshop run by interactive performance company ZU-UK.

    Research degree applications

    A step by step guide on how to apply for a PhD or MPhil degree.

Research partners and networks

  • Exterior photo of the National Theatre in London.
    National Theatre, London. Photograph: Philip Vile.

    National Theatre  

    Wimbledon College of Arts has a unique relationship with the National Theatre. It centres around the archive of pioneering theatre designer Jocelyn Herbert. The archive includes over 6,000 of Herbert's drawings and set designs as well as other performance related material.

  • Scene from the opera Happy Happy with Karen Vourc'h. There is a woman sitting on stage in a white armchair with a table. Behind here is red smoke.
    Cover image from Theatre and Performance Design journal, Vol. 4 issues 3 and 4. Scene from HAPPY HAPPY with Karen Vourc’h. Photograph: Ingolf Hatz and Julia Hildebrande.

    Theatre and Performance Design journal  

    International peer-reviewed journal of scenography publishing innovative artistic practice alongside theoretical research. The journal evaluates the effect of scenography on the aesthetics and politics of performance. Edited by Jane Collins from Wimbledon College of Arts and Thea Brejzek from the University of Technology, Sydney.

Research stories