2018 Symposium: Practising Research; Researching Practice

The Society for Theatre Research
New Researchers’ Network
Fifth Annual Symposium

Practising Research; Researching Practice

Sunday 8th July, 2018

10.00am – 5.00pm
King’s College London – Strand Campus, King’s Building

Collated abstracts can be found here: Schedule and Abstracts

The Society for Theatre Research’s (STR) New Researchers’ Network (NRN) are delighted to announce our Fifth Annual Symposium: Practising Research; Researching Practice. The symposium will explore the various ways in which scholars, artists, and theatre practitioners undertake the process of research, as well as the opportunities and issues that arise when researching ephemeral, performance-based events.

Research takes many forms. Archival sources, empirical data, personal interviews, surveys, and practical investigations all contribute to the advancement of scholarship and the development of artistic practice in the field of theatre and performance. Each approach to research provides opportunities for innovation and creativity, but also brings its own limitations: the results of any research are inevitably shaped by the chosen methodological approach. The relatively recent introduction of practice-based and collaborative PhD programmes demonstrates a growing recognition that research can also be conducted through and alongside practice. To what extent do these approaches to research differ from ‘traditional’ PhD processes, and how might the increasing diversity of performance research impact upon the future of the field? Similarly, how might research methods from other fields usefully inform and expand approaches to theatre and performance studies?

Designed for postgraduate students, early career academics, artists, and members of cultural organisations and research institutions, this symposium offers a platform for sharing research techniques and discussing challenges experienced when research is put into practice. We hope to critique the value and impact of practicing research, and to ask what more can be done to disseminate the findings of underrepresented voices, modalities, and locales of research.

10:00-10:15 Registration  K2.40


10:15-11:15 Keynote Address – Dr Naomi Paxton  ‘Reaching out in both directions: suffrage theatre, research, and performance’  K2.40


11:20-12:35 Panel 1 – Embodying Archival Evidence  K2.40

▪    Anna Loren, ‘Staging Silence: A discussion of the creative process surrounding the use of archival material to retrieve a submerged history’

▪    Katie Noble, ‘A Treatise on Theatre as Visual Culture; or, a Methodology for Medea in 18th-Century Drama and Art’

▪    Ella Hawkins, ‘“Authentic” underwear at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre:
practice as experiment, re-enactment, and research’


12:35-13:35 Lunch (not provided)




Panel 2 – Embodied Identities  K2.40

▪    Francesco Bentivegna, ‘Who Is Voicing? The Production and Re-production of Posthuman Voices’

▪    Giorgia Campi, ‘Fragmentation, identity and character in performer training’


14:55-16:10 Panel 3 – Positioning the Researcher  K2.40
▪     Karian Schuitema, ‘“Just like clowns!” Subverting rules and structures at special school by applying comedy performance to practical and collaborative research’

▪    Corinne Furness, ‘“Me? I’m just the researcher”: A field guide to researching (with) the Royal Shakespeare Company’

▪    Heath Pennington, ‘Tied Up In Research: Breaking the Scholar-Practitioner Binary’


16:15-17:00 Provocations and Discussion  K2.40


  • Hailey Bachrach, ‘Bad Acting: Querying the Limits of Practice as Research’
  • Hannah Greenstreet, ‘Historicising the contemporary: practising contemporary theatre research’
  • Rachael Nicholas, ‘Talking to Audiences: Reception as Practice?’