Our research

women at watermeets eventWe are the highest-rated Theatre Studies department in Scotland with many of our staff producing world-leading research in a wide range of areas, including: autobiography, live art, queer performance, ecology and environment, European and British theatre, actor-training, post-colonialism, ruins and ruination, digital practices, theatre history and historiography, politics and playwriting. We are committed to fusing theory and practice, and researchers using practice-based or more traditional scholarly methods work together to create a vibrant and innovative research environment. Our individual Research Profiles provide full details.

Theatre Studies has established key areas of research excellence in such areas as: critical dramaturgies; ecology, environment and heritage in theatrical performance. As a way of focusing, sharing and intensifying the excellence of our research in these areas, we have two main research hubs: Performance, Ecology and Heritage and Dramaturgy as Critical Practice. The Performance, Ecology and Heritage Hub embraces and facilitates critical conversation between projects exploring walking as an arts practice; performances of/and forests; theatre, ecology, weathering and ruination; performances of/and water and watercourses; more-than and post-human performance. The Dramaturgy Hub enables dialogue and exchange between projects exploring institutional dramaturgies; dramaturgy as creative professional practice; political analysis of historical and contemporary dramaturgical practices, cross-media/digital dramaturgies and the site-specific dramaturgy of ruins.

woman reading at eventOur research is extremely outward-facing, and often involves partnerships with organisations beyond the University. A major part of our research ethos is to extend the research community to include diverse publics and institutions in Glasgow and Scotland. Collaborators include: National Theatre Scotland, Buzzcut Festival, The Citizens Theatre, Playwrights Studio Scotland, The Common Guild, The Centre for Contemporary Art, The Stove Network, Take Me Somewhere Festival, Goethe Institute, Glasgow City Council and Deveron Arts. Staff who work as practice-based researchers are leading practitioners in their field and have been commissioned to make work in prestigious festivals , such as Edinburgh and Manchester International Festivals, Glasgow International Festival of Visual Arts, Triennale Milano Teatro, ANTI Contemporary Art, Environmental Arts Festival Scotland, Glasgow 2018 European Championships, Somerset House & Forest Fringe, Being Human, Cyprus and Calcutta International Film Festivals, Kansk International Festival and El Festival Internacional de Cine Austral, and to participate in international residencies, including Scottish Sculpture Workshop, The Museum of Loss and Renewal, Outlandia, Sweeney’s Bothy. Our purposeful building at Gilmorehill Halls including James Arnott Theatre along with our studios and dedicated facilities host such collaborations.

We run a series of successful research talks – the Glasgow Theatre Seminars - that include speakers from interdisciplinary and diverse backgrounds. We have also been active in curating high profile interdisciplinary symposia. Recent examples are ‘On Drifting’, a funded project examining the legacy of the Situationist International; ‘The Theatrical Turn’, a collaboration with The Common Guild that investigated points of convergence between contemporary visual art and theatre practices; ‘The Art of Careful Practices’, an exploration of how to take care of others and self in participatory performances; THEN/NOW, an interdisciplinary enquiry into public art, heritage and ecology; Dramaturgies of War, a colloquium reflecting on how theatre has pre-empted, reflected upon and critiqued war and conflict; and 'Incubate Propagate’, a series of symposia that drew together academics, theatre producers and arts policy makers from across the UK to discuss how best to facilitate greater socio-economic diversity within artist development structures.

We have published widely with leading publishers and in major journals. We serve on editorial boards, run book series, have received grants for international collaboration, and produced numerous instances of practice-led performance. As a team we are invested in widening access to knowledge by giving national and international keynote lectures, and acting as consultants and board members for publishers, arts venues and individual artists. We have extensive experience in developing successful funding proposals for doctoral projects, including for both disciplinary and interdisciplinary and practical research. Between 2014 and 2020, twenty-three students were awarded full scholarships by AHRC, College of Arts & Humanties and the Lord Kelvin Adam Smith fund. More details about the ongoing projects of our energetic and international doctoral community.

Theatre Studies has strong historical links with Film and Television Studies and the Centre for Cultural Policy Research. We share areas of collaborative interest in: the curation of culture; digitality; cultural policy; television in its industrial, social and aesthetic dimensions; performance on stage and screen; aesthetics and ecology. These shared interests inform a range of activities, from reading groups to PhD projects to performance works. More broadly, together we are committed to driving forward research in three key areas, constitutive of our collective contribution to knowledge:

  • Critical Study of Cultural Forms and Policies.
  • Cultural History and Heritage.
  • Critical and Creative Practices.

The multidisciplinary milieu which we create together was scored at 100% World Leading – the highest possible score – in the UK’s nationwide Research Excellence Framework 2014.