Person marking sheet music with light blue pencil

Performance practices research

Explore our research in performance practices, one of our 4 areas of expertise in Performance, Theatre and Music

In our performance practices research, we're looking for solutions to philosophical and political problems. The practical and theoretical work in this area makes no policy or explicit political suggestions, but extends to experiential, knowledge-based and affective alternatives to current issues.

Through our research, we're exploring approaches to contemporary performance, and the meanings it produces. Our work is interdisciplinary, with expertise across international theatre, dance and live art, as well as contextualising practice in history, philosophy and politics.

Our research covers the following topics

  • Practice Research
  • Philosophy of Time
  • Ecological Theory

We take an interdisciplinary and practice-research approach to the study of performance, drawing on continental philosophy to analyse performances and the making processes that produce them. New performances are developed in order to make experiential contributions to knowledge.

Collaborations and partnerships

We're working with festivals and art institutions on curating performance practice. After founding the first gallery of practice research and curating a group show at the 2014 conference of Theatre and Performance Research Association, every annual conference has included a Practice Gallery.

We're members of Performance Philosophy, a network of researchers with an annual conference, book series and journal. Nik Wakefield is a co-convener of the working group on Theatre, Performance and Philosophy in the Theatre and Performance Research Association.

Current projects

Our work is regularly presented at conferences such as Performance Studies International, Performance Philosophy, Theatre and Performance Research Association (TAPRA). We're also published in journals, including Theatre Journal, TDR, Performance Research, Choreographic Practices, Performance Philosophy, and Journal of Arts Writing by Students.

Project highlights

  • An exploration of ecological images, researching the ways in which ecological awareness is increased in particular examples from theatre, dance, photography and sculpture. The project includes a trio of practice research performances, research trips, conference papers and a journal article.
  • A monograph to be submitted to the Performance Philosophy book series at Palgrave Macmillan in 2020-2021 on Time and Ecology in Performance emerging out of ongoing practice research and a number of conference papers.

Our Members

Nikolas Hunter Wakefield Portrait

Dr Nik Wakefield

Senior Lecturer

PhD Supervisor

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George Edward Thomas Burrows Portrait

Professor George Burrows

Associate Dean (Research and Innovation)

School of Art, Design, and Performance

Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries

PhD Supervisor

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Discover our areas of expertise

Performance practices is one of our 4 areas of expertise in Performance, Theatre and Music research – explore the other areas below.

Applied Theatre

Our research in this area explores how theatre and performance can be used in an educational, community or therapeutic context.

Man reading a play in dimly-lit theatre space
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Music: Composition, Practices and Technology

We're investigating music and sound and creating new tools to enhance performance and creativity.

Garageband being used on MacBook
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Musical theatre

Our work engages with forms that articulate music with theatre, and explores the historical, social, economic and educational contexts underpinning shows on Broadway and the West End.

Close-up of tap dancer's shoes
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Interested in a PhD in Theatre, Music and Performance?

Browse our postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils – at our Theatre, Music and Performance postgraduate research degrees page.