Dr Simon Murray
- Honorary Senior Research Fellow (School of Culture & Creative Arts)
On retirement as Senior Lecturer in Theatre Studies on 1st October 2023 I was awarded the role of Honorary Senior Research Fellow. I joined Theatre Studies at the University of Glasgow in September 2008 having moved from Dartington College of Arts in Devon where I was Director of Theatre. I graduated from Newcastle Polytechnic with a (London University) Honours degree in Sociology in 1971 and spent 15 years working in further, higher, adult and trade union education in the north east of England, the west of Scotland and in Seychelles. In my late thirties I spent a year (1986-87) in Paris training in movement, acting and theatre-making with Philippe Gaulier and Monika Pagneux. After 12 years as a professional theatre maker and performer I returned to higher education to teach theatre and performance. In 2008 I co- founded the Routledge journal, Theatre, Dance and Performance Training with Professor Jonathan Pitches (University of Leeds). I was co-editor of this journal until the autumn of 2016 but remain a consultant editor. My daughter, Isla, has recently graduated with a 1st class Honours degree in Sociology from the University of Edinburgh, and I am married to Glasgow based artist and filmmaker, Wendy Kirkup. We have a much-adored Labrador called Tally. I take great pleasure in exploring and walking the landscapes of North Cornwall, Northumberland, the Lake Disrict and the Coigach region of North West Scotland. I am a Hellenist and enjoy spending as much of my time as possible in Athens, the Mani peninsular of the Peloponnese and on the island of Zakynthos. Retirement notwithstanding, I am still open to short-term consultancies, lecture-presentations and PhD examining roles.
My research interests remain interdisciplinary and constantly engage with a sociological and cultural studies past and a theatre/performance practices present. A preoccupation with political and social contexts frames and drives all my interests, regardless of the particular nature of the project in question. My research and writing have attempted to combine close readings of theatre forms – particularly physical and movement theatres - and locating these practices as cultural production. Over the last 20 years my research interests have coalesced around two inter-related and overlapping pathways of thought and interest. One of these continues to include physical theatres and the politics and regimes of actor and performer training, the pedagogies of Jacques Lecoq and Philippe Gaulier and contemporary performance practices and dramaturgies. The other embraces a wider cultural sweep and finds focus on WG (Max) Sebald, John Berger, Raymond Williams, the quality of lightness in performance, the politics of collaboration, progressive modes of education and the relationship between ruins/ruination and theatre. In relation to the latter, I completed a five-year research project which concluded in a monograph entitled Performing Ruins, published by Palgrave in August 2020. This was a title within the Performing Landscapes series edited by Professor Dee Heddon (James Arnott Chair in Drama, Glasgow) and Sally Mackay (Professor Emerita at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama). I remain a member of both the Dramaturgy as Critical Practice and the Performance, Ecology and Heritage research hubs within Theatre Studies at the University of Glasgow. In May 2023 I published Mime into Physical Theatre: a UK Cultural History 1970 – 2000 (Routledge), jointly authored with Professor Mark Evans of Coventry University. In retirement I anticipate experimenting with different registers of writing and undertaking selected essays and articles.
Since retiring I am no longer taking on any new PhD supervisions but am continuing supervision of my doctoral students until their completion.
Examples of recent successful PhD supervisions:
- Elucidating the compositional praxis of a living composer, Thea Musgrave, through archival papers. (Collaborative Doctoral Award with British Library London. With Music, 2018)
- ‘In Dance It’s Accepted’: Undoing Gender, Challenging Heterosexual Hegemony and the Limits of Transgression (with Sociology, 2015)
- Crossing the Clyde to the Riverside: Developing co-creational strategies for engaging local publics with and within the Riverside Museum – A practice-led approach. (Collaborative Doctoral Award with Riverside Museum, Glasgow, 2015)
- ‘The work of a clown is to make the audience burst out laughing’. Learning Clown at École Philippe Gaulier (2014).
Since retiring I no longer undertake regular teaching but will contribute at least two lectures or workshops in each academic year.
Before retirement my main teaching commitments included the following:
Beckett in Performance (Undergraduate honours option)
Performing Memory (Undergraduate honours option)
Contemporary Devising Practices (MLitt Theatre and Performance Practices)
Practice as Research Project (MLitt Theatre and Performance Practices)
Dissertations (Undergraduate and taught postgraduate)
Contemporary devised theatre and performance practices (Undergraduate and taught postgraduate)