School of Media and Performing Arts


Photo of Dr Ben Macpherson

Dr Ben Macpherson

  • Qualifications: FHEA, PhD, PGCert, BA (Hons)
  • Role Title: Principal Lecturer (Musical Theatre); acting Section Leader, Drama and Musical Theatre; Course Leader (Musical Theatre); Level 4 Tutor (Drama and Musical Theatre)
  • Address: Eldon Building, Winston Churchill Avenue, Portsmouth PO1 2DJ
  • Telephone: 023 9284 5131
  • Email:
  • Department: School of Media and Performing Arts
  • Faculty: Creative and Cultural Industries


I am Senior Lecturer and Course Leader for Musical Theatre and an active composer/lyricist. My interests include approaches to voice in performance, the British musical and national identity (1890 – Present), embodiment and reception theory, and how maps and diagrams can be used to understand and analyse performance. From 2007–2013, I worked as a freelance lecturer at various institutions, including the University of Winchester where, in 2011, I gained my PhD in musical theatre and reception theory. During this time, I also taught at University of Portsmouth, the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, acted as a visiting voice and performance coach at several FE colleges, and worked as creative consultant for Phoenix Theatre Company in Toronto, Canada, and students at the University of Hull.

I am joint founder and convenor of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Voice Studies. I co-edit the Journal for Interdisciplinary Voice Studies and co-edited the book Voice Studies: Critical Approaches to Process, Performance and Experience (Routledge, 2015). I am also a member for the British Musical Theatre Research Institute, which was established in 2012.

With two chapters included in The Oxford Handbook of the British Musical (2017), my current academic projects include a book for Palgrave Macmillan examining the cultural significance of British musical theatre on English national identity in the years 1890 - 1939, and another project that explores voice in musical theatre performance. As a composer/lyricist, recent projects include Love and Kisses from Omaha (2016, Minghella Studio Portsmouth),and All That’s Left (now Fools and Idols) which was workshopped in May 2014 as a commission by the New Theatre Royal Portsmouth, as part of the University’s drama festival UniFest2. Previous commissions include writing for a flash-mob at St. Pancras Station (London, 2011) and compositions for Wet Picnic Theatre Company’s installation Depth Charge (Portsmouth, 2012).

Teaching Responsibilities

I currently teach on BA (Hons) Musical Theatre and BA (Hons) Drama and Performance, delivering the following units:

  • Text and Practice
  • Practical Skills
  • Milestones
  • British Musical Theatre: Unsung Legacies
  • Postdramatic Performance
  • Musical Theatre and Drama Dissertation

I also supervise students on the MRes Creative Industries programme.

I am on the supervisory team for a Creative Writing doctoral student.

I am Year Tutor for Level 4 student in Musical Theatre and Drama, and take an active role in departmental admissions activities, including the practical workshop in musical theatre.


Current research projects

  • British Musical Theatre: Imperialism, Identity and Ideology 1890-1939 (Palgrave)
  • Voice in Musical Theatre (Project in development)

Areas of research

Musical Theatre:

  • Musical theatre, 1890- Present 
  • British musical theatre and national identity
  • The work of Stephen Sondheim, Adam Guettel and Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • Writing and composing musical theatre 

Voice Studies:

  • Voice and the popular musical
  • Voice, identity and authenticity
  • Voice as a critical methodology
  • Theories and philosophies of voice in performance

Key theoretical interests:

  • Concepts and discourses of 'authenticity' and culture
  • Tim Ingold and lineology as performance analysis
  • Somatics, neurobiology, embodiment and reception theory

Research profile

Explore my research profile, publications and activities on the Portsmouth Research Portal

View profile