Postgraduate research in Drama
We are an internationally recognised centre for research and we have a strong culture of excellence in learning and teaching provision.
Thesis title: Space to Imagine: the effect of using unconventional theatre space on a young audiences imaginative engagement?
Supervisors: Dr Katie Beswick, Professor Jane Milling
Start year: 2017
Expected year of completion: 2022
Theatre for Young audiences is a key access point for young people to encounter theatre. David Wood stated the key to any production for young audiences is to ignite their imaginations (Wood & Grant, 1997). However without for many communities and young people, Theatre buildings are not inviting and inclusive environments, many seeing them as too expensive, to ‘snobby’ and to stuck in old ‘social etiquette’. Due to this many young people first encounter live theatrical experiences in school, community halls, library and other performance settings. My thesis researches at TYA practitioners use of unconventional theatre space and analysis the effect on a young spectator imaginative engagement with the performance. My other research interests are looking at puppetry, Borg theory and performance practice within The field of Theatre For Young Audiences
Thesis title: Voicing Thelxis: Kulning, Lulling, and Siren Song as Practices of Vocal Attraction
Supervisors: Dr Konstantinos Thomaidis and Dr Adrian Curtin
Start Year: 2018
Expected year of completion: 2022
The engine of my thesis is ‘thelxis’, which is an ancient Greek concept to describe the act of enchanting an audience. My voice-based Practice-as-Research (PaR) investigates the notion of voicing ‘thelxis’ as a process and a practice to understand more about how and why we come to be pulled towards specific sounds in voice. My PaR is inspired by interspecies communication in herding calls, the act of lulling infants to sleep, and contemporary approaches to the mythological Siren Song.
Thesis title: Representing East Asian identities in 21st Century British Theatre
Supervisors: Professor Rebecca Loukes and Dr Michael Pearce
Funding: China Scholarship Council
The Drama Department has a strong history of research on representation of different cultures and identities. My research looks at the performance practice and events related to representations of East Asian identities in the 2010s (that has just passed us by!), from high-profile productions to independent solo performances including my own practice. My position as an East Asian theatre practitioner informs my research in a range of ways.
Thesis title: ‘May we entertain you?’ Ageing Female Vocality in Musical Theatre
Supervisors: Dr Konstantinos Thomaidis, Professor Jerri Daboo
Start Year: 2018
Expected Year for Completion: 2022
The canonical roles that derive from the expectations of (strenuous) physiovocal performances necessitated by (and permeating) late 20th- and early 21st-century musical theatre entangle performers and audience in a fine audio-visual experience. However, it is likely that the same constituents and expectations of these roles constrain the ageing female performer to implicate in an antagonistic ‘strife’ with what it appears as a preference to youth. What is perceived as ‘a suitable part’ for ageing female musical theatre performers? Is musical theatre rigid towards intergenerational approaches? And what happens to the ageing female vocality when that corporeal voice no longer fulfils the expectations of that musical theatre? My research looks into the artistic and creative vocal presence of ageing female musical theatre performers and the context within which identities of ageing musical theatre characters are constructed, staged, and articulated.
Thesis title: Practicing affectivity: a phenomenological study of the contemporary actor’s affective expression
Supervisors: Professor Rebecca Loukes, Professor Giovanna Colombetti, Dr Thomas Kampe (Bath Spa)
My research explores the relationship between the actor's affective experience and expression across traditional and contemporary theatre practices, employing a philosophical phenomenological and enactive approach. Drawing in particular from my long-term practice in the traditional forms of Kutiyattam Theatre (Kerala, India) and Noh Theatre (Kanze School, Japan), my aim is to problematise received assumptions on emotions as universal, innate and pre-wired subconscious processes independent from cognition and transcending socio-cultural structures. I propose that the study of selected under-represented cultural theatrical approaches will enrich the philosophical understanding of affective processes as well as inspire more affectively granular contemporary performer training practices.
Thesis title: The human-cyborg dialogue
Supervisors: Dr Konstantinos Thomaidis, Dr Bryan Brown
Start year: 2016
Expected year of completion: 2022
I am a musician, a comedian, and a singer. Before starting my PhD in 2016, I have finished my studies in cinema, theatre, and music at the University of Bologna, obtaining a BA and an MA in Drama Disciplines, with a focus on Voice Studies. I have been artistic director for Poverarte Festival in Bologna, where I curated the Electronic Music Section, and resident DJ in clubs around Italy and the UK. I am interested in Voice Studies, Experimental Theatre and Music, Artificial Intelligence, Xeno- and Techno-feminism, and Posthumanism. With my PhD and my practice – I am the lead singer of the Avant-pop electronic project Mr Everett – I explore the figure of the cyborg and technology at large, its influence in vocal kinships and contemporary practices of relationality. My research focus on artificial voices, digitally augmented voices, queer voices, and their position in contemporary performance, analysing it from a techno-feminist perspective.
Thesis title: Cultural Authority of Theatre Critics in Late 19th Century London
Supervisors: Professor Kate Newey, Dr Adrian Curtin
Start Year: 2019
Expected year of completion: 2022
Late 19th century was a period of significant change. London society chose to claim the word modernity and the concept of 'new': New Journalism, new drama, 'new woman'. Theatre critics operated between these terms and started to shift their reviews accordingly. My research looks at the role of social power and authority within these reviews as documents of historical evidence. Interconnected personal and public relationships created bias and had an effect on the cultural capital, as did the reviewer's gender, sexuality and class. Suppressed voices in theatre criticism haven't been given scholarly attention, and my research aims to rectify this.
We are one of the largest and best equipped Drama departments in the UK and offer a supportive and stimulating environment for postgraduate research and practice, welcoming students from all around the world. Our impressive reputation is backed up by consistently high scores for student satisfaction. Whatever your field of study – theatre, performing, directing, theory, writing for performance, dramaturgy, criticism, new media, analysis or historiography – you will have access to expert supervision, excellent practical resources and creative association with fellow students.
The department has a lively tradition of research and creative activity and many members of staff are writers and performers. We work with external artists and theatre companies to produce research-based theatre and performance.
Our research in the area of Art History and Visual Culture is interdisciplinary in scope, reaching across and beyond the Humanities disciplines.
Art History and Visual Culture staff publish on the history of art, curate exhibitions, work with a variety of arts institutions and lead major externally funded research projects on curatorial engagements with performance archives; the history of French art institutions; the history of Spanish cinema; Victorian medievalism; histories of sacred spaces; and the culture of the suburbs.
Visit our staff pages for details on individual staff research interests and publications.
Our current PhD students
We're proud of the research carried out by our PhD students. Follow the links below to find out more about our PhD students and their research projects.
|Student||Research title||First supervisor||Second supervisor|
|Qaisar Abbas||From protest to entertainment and streets to halls: Decline of Political Theatre in Punjab||Professor Jerri Daboo||Professor Jane Milling|
|Ohood s. Alaqeel||The Female Playwrights in Saudi Arabia||Professor Jane Milling||Dr Adrian Curtin|
|Manal Saleh A Alghamdi||Live and Mediated Acts of Reading Aloud to Children||Professor Heike Roms||Dr Katie Beswick|
|Helen Ayres||(MA by Research) The cognitive and psychological effects of dance on the Practitioner||Dr Sarah Goldingay||Dr. Rebecca Hillman|
|Francesco Bentivegna||The human-cyborg dialogue||Dr Konstantinos Thomaidis||Dr Bryan Brown|
|Chloe Bradwell||An exploration of the cultural value of performing arts for people living with dementia||Professor Kerrie Schaefer||Margaret Ames (Aberystwyth)|
|Lin Chen||Comparative analysis of framing in theatre/performance studies||Dr. Michael Pearce||
Professor Jane Milling
|Narbort (Malavika) Chnige||Protest performances: Aesthetics and politics of visibility in public space||Dr. Rebecca Hillman||Carol Upadhya (NIAS, India)|
|Yingnan Chu||Comedy, ethnicity and gender: what happens when Chinese perform stand-up comedy in Britain?||Professor Kate Newey||Dr. Rebecca Hillman|
|Giorgia Ciampi||Practicing affectivity: a phenomenological study of the contemporary actor’s affective expression||Professor Rebecca Loukes||
Professor Giovanna Colombetti
|Bojana Daw Srdanovic||How does the production of professional theatre affect the wellbeing and community participation of artists living with learning disabilities?||Professor Kerrie Schaefer||Professor Manuela Barreto, Professor Martin Levinson|
|Sophia Edlund||Voicing Thelxis||Dr Konstantinos Thomaidis
Dr Adrian Curtin
|Roger Farrell||Rules, roles, relationships: exploring creative pathways between imaginary play and structured drama in late childhood and the implications for creativity in education and society.||Professor Kerrie Schaefer||Dr Rebecca Hillman|
|Elaine Faull||Theatre Alibi project||Professor Cathy Turner|
|Giselle Garcia||Translation, Adaptation and Flanerie: the Fate of Shakespearean Performance in Manila's Urban Forms||Dr Kara Reilly||Professor Cathy Turner|
|Aldith Gauci||A Living Masquerade: A study of Jola’s Kumpo in Senegambia (Working Title)||Professor Heike Roms||Prof Jerri Daboo|
|Howard Gayton||The Esoteric Art of the Fool: mapping Antoine Faivre's core principles of the esoteric onto the modern theatrical Fool||Dr Bryan Brown|
|Sarah Holden Boyd||Ripped and Resonant: Tensions within Resistance Training and Voice Training for Actors||Dr Konstantinos Thomaidis||Dr Evelyn O'Malley|
|Susan Hope (Hoffman)||
What Makes Magic? Audience-Performer Creative Process
|Dr Adrian Curtin||Dr Evelyn O'Malley|
Representing East Asian identities in 21st Century British Theatre
|Dr Rebecca Loukes||Dr Michael Pearce|
|Helen Keen||On Adult Autism, Social Isolation and Performance||Professor Kerrie Schaefer||Manuela Barreto (Psychology)|
|Alexandra MacKenzie||When you're here, we are here also. An examination of how contemporary sacred re-enactments reveal Mormon faith and strengthen Mormon Identity in the 21st century.||Dr Sarah Goldingay||Dr Rebecca Loukes|
|Aparna Mahiyaria||Understanding Politics, Aesthetics and Performance: A Study of the Development of Street Theatre in Delhi, India||Professor Cathy Turner||Shivali Tukdeo|
Cultural Authority of Theatre Critics in Late 19th Century London
|Professor Kate Newey||Dr. Adrian Curtin|
|Kate Massey-Chase||How can my Applied Drama practice support young people in the transition between Child and Adolescent and Adult Mental Health Services?||Professor Jane Milling|
|Sophia New Belasco||Examining the everyday through plan b's works created with endotic data||Professor Heike Roms||Professor Cathy Turner|
|Tom Nicholas||Representations of regional English cities in contemporary drama||Professor Cathy Turner||Dr Katie Beswick|
|Elizabeth Philps||Parents Performing Walking: how can understandings of walking performance be enhanced through participatory live art works which include children?||Professor Cathy Turner||Dr Rebecca Loukes|
|Effrosyni Rigopoulou||'May we entertain you?': Ageing Female Vocality in Musical Theatre||Dr Konstantinos Thomaidis||Professor Jerri Daboo|
|Alison Rockbrand||Rite of Performance: Identity Construction in Contemporary Esoteric Performances.||Dr Sarah Goldingay|
|Navadee (Dif) Sethamateekul||Devising and Directing theatre for blind and visually impaired children||Professor Jane Milling||Professor Kerrie Schaefer|
|James Woodhams||Dr Katie Beswick|
|Cheng-Po (Howl) Yuan||The transformation of ‘dweller’ to tourist in one’s own locale||Professor Stephen Hodge||Dr Konstantinos Thomaidis|
Supervisors - all students have a primary and a secondary supervisor who provide regular, high quality advice, support and direction in their academic endeavours. You will work closely with your supervisors over three to four years (full time PhD) or six to seven (part-time PhD) to develop, investigate and write-up a project at the cutting edge of theological research.
Visit our staff profiles for more information about individual research interests or use the search box on the right of this page to find a supervisor.
Mentor - each student will also be assigned a mentor who will take on a pastoral role and mediate on any problems that arise during the period of study. Your mentor will keep in regular contact and will provide background stability and support.
Graduate School Office - the College of Humanities has a dedicated Graduate School Office that supports our postgraduate research students during their study with us. The Office promotes intellectual and social contact between research students in all our disciplines to foster a vibrant research community within the College.
Funding opportunities available to students on our research degree programmes in Drama:*
|2021/22 PhD Global Excellence Studentship - College of Humanities||International tuition fees and an annual maintenance allowance at current Research Council rate of £15,009 per year (2019/20 rate)||Wed 3rd Mar 2021||Exeter’s College of Humanities is offering one fully-funded PhD Global Excellence Studentship (open to International candidates only) for study commencing in September 2021, across any of its areas of research expertise.|
|University of Exeter Global Commitment Scholarship 2020/21||£2,000 reduction in the first year tuition fee||There is no application for this award. You will be automatically considered.||A tuition fee discount for students starting a postgraduate taught Masters or research degree with us in 2020/21|
|Sanctuary Scholarship||Full tuition fee waiver plus annual living cost grant||Fri 21st May 2021||The Sanctuary Scholarship scheme enables individuals seeking asylum and refugees who are not able access student finance to study at the University of Exeter.|
|Sports Scholarship Scheme||up to £3,000 plus additional support services worth £3,500||Mon 31st May 2021||Sports scholarships are awarded to students of outstanding sporting ability who show evidence of achievement at international level in their chosen sport.|
|University of Exeter Alumni Scholarship 2021/22||10% reduction in the first year tuition fee||There is no application for this award. You will be automatically considered.||A tuition fee discount for University of Exeter alumni who start a postgraduate degree with us in 2021/22|
|University of Exeter Class of 2021 Progression Scholarship||10% reduction in the first year tuition fee||There is no application for this award. You will be automatically considered.||A tuition fee discount for current University of Exeter students completing a degree in 2021 and progressing directly to a standalone postgraduate programme with us in 2021/22|
|Fulbright Scholarships: Postgraduate Student Awards - 2021/22 competition||Full tuition fee waiver for one year of Masters / PhD & living stipend||Deadline passed
(Tue 13th Oct 2020)
|Our UK Partnership award with Fulbright is available for Masters or Doctoral students who are USA or dual USA:UK citizens wishing to study at the University. The award takes the form of a tuition fee waiver for the first year of graduate study (either Masters or PhD) and a living stipend. We also accept scholars in receipt of Fulbright 'Open Awards' (also referred to as the All Disciplines Award).|
|University of Exeter Alumni Scholarship with the Global Commitment uplift 2020/21||20% reduction in the first year tuition fee||There is no application for this award. You will be automatically considered.||A tuition fee discount for all University of Exeter alumni who start a postgraduate degree with us in 2020/21|
|University of Exeter Class of 2020 Progression Award with the Global Commitment uplift||20% reduction in the first year tuition fee||There is no application for this award. You will be automatically considered.||A tuition fee discount for current University of Exeter students completing a full degree in 2020 and progressing directly to a standalone postgraduate programme with us in 2020/21|
|South West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership AHRC PhD Studentship||UK tuition fees for eligible students and a maintenance grant of £15,285 (2020/21)||Deadline passed
(Mon 25th Jan 2021)
|UK tuition fees for eligible students and a maintenance grant of £15,285 (2020/21)|
We are committed to ensuring you receive high quality research supervision to maximise your potential and prepare you for a rewarding career.
Postgraduate students have access to the wide range of support offered by our Career Zone. In addition, postgraduate research students can access our Postgraduate Researchers' Programme, which covers a range of topics to help you to succeed during your research degree and to act as a springboard for your research career.
EmployersMillennium Forum Theatre
Municipal and Regional Theatre of Veria
University of Exeter
University of Portsmouth
Associate Lecturer in Drama
Freelance Arts Practitioner
Freelance Trainer and Applied Dramatist
Social Activities Co-Ordinator