Dr Rebecca Hillman



Extension: 5307

Telephone: 01392 725307

I began working at the University of Exeter as a Lecturer in Drama in 2015. Before that I taught at the University of Reading, where I also completed my practice-based MA and PhD with funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. My PhD focused on political performance from the 1960s – present, with a view to reclaiming the value in dramatic art for political change, and identifying effective practice for contemporary theatre-makers and activists. I am interested in the role of performance in social/political movements and workplace/community organising, and my research, teaching and theatre-making are informed by my work with grassroots political initiatives. Last year I wrote a module called Activism and Performance, which explores histories and current practices of art and performance in political struggle.

I write and direct experimental performances in conventional and found spaces, and formed theatre collective In Good Company in 2011 to devise a performance that analysed impacts of privatisation and ‘austerity measures’ on our local community. We made many of our rehearsals open to the public to encourage their involvement. Last year women from the GMB and UCU unions performed my script commemorating the centenary of the Huntley & Palmers' 1916 Women's Strike in Reading. Scripts from both performances will be published later this year in a GFTU/New Internationalist anthology of trade union plays. My research publications have examined the history and revision of agitprop theatre, and collective action and rioting. I am currently writing about political performance that is emotionally charged, and, separately, about a recurrence of socialist and communist imagery in contemporary political movements. I am working with Banner Theatre, Reel News, Townsend Productions and the General Federation of Trade Unions on a series of events to build links between political artists and the trade union movement – see: http://www.gftu-liberatingarts.org.uk/.

I am a trustee for the Future’s Venture Foundation, supporting the work of radical artists making ethical work http://www.futuresventure.org/, and an adjunct faculty member of the National Institute of Advanced Studies in Bangalore, India, as part of the Exeter/NIAS split-site PhD programme. I am an active member of the Centres for Performance Histories and Cultures at the University of Exeter, and a member of the IFTR’s Political Performances Working Group.