Music, Dance, Theatre and Performance Research Group: Seminar Series

On the 3rd of October, a series of Research Seminars will start being hosted by the University of Portsmouth in Studio One, White Swan Building. These are organised by the Theatre, Music and Performance Research Group in the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries, and they form a key part in the institution’s research culture.


The series started running last academic year, but the Faculty has now embraced more visiting scholars, who will come to Portsmouth to share their knowledge and expertise. The seminars are very important for both staff and students (particularly research postgraduates) working in the fields of theatre, music and performance. On the 18th of October, the Research Group invites everyone to join Dr George Burrows for his book launch at the Guildhall Village pub.


The inaugural event will be “Toward a Haunted Theatre” by University of Portsmouth’s Kit Danowski and it will take place on 3rd October from 6pm to 7pm, and the rest of the seminars will follow the same structure. They take the form of a presentation on a specified topic followed by questions from the audience that raise discussion from those attending. The topics are deliberately open and provocative and they are most often interdisciplinary and reach beyond performing arts disciplines to others. In fact, the seminars usually focus on the methods used for analysis, rather than the subjects themselves.

“Last year, for example, one seminar (…) featured a performance-research presentation by Prof Will Kaufman (UCLAN) about Woody Guthrie’s reactions to the Trump family and a lively discussion afterwards (…) about the connections between contemporary performance and politics.” – Dr George Burrows


Check out full programme of the Seminar Series below:


Thurs 3 Oct 2019: Kit Danowski (University of Portsmouth): “Toward a Haunted Theatre”

This performative paper inquires into and demonstrates the visceral transmission of knowledge in Palo and Lukumí ritual practises in contemporary urban experience while addressing some potential applications to theatre-making.


Fri 18 Oct 2019, 4.30pm: Book Launch: Guildhall Village Pub, Guildhall Walk, Portsmouth

George Burrows’ “The Recordings of Andy Kirk and His Clouds of Joy” and Anna Bull’s “Class, Control, & Classical Music” Book tickets here


Thurs 7 Nov 2019: Konstantinos Thomaidis (University of Exeter): “Performance Lecture: A Voice Is. A Voice Has. A Voice Does.”

This performative lecture takes cue from the observation that much of the discourse in the emergent field of interdisciplinary voice studies is premised on methodologies that do little to disclose how voice is experienced by the voicer.


Thurs 5 Dec 2019: Lisa Woynarski (University of Reading): “Climate Change and a Decolonised Future in Theatre and Performance”

This paper focused on the consideration of what theatre and performance can be and do in a climate-changed future and what it might mean to decolonise that future. The extinction narrative, especially as something ‘of our own making’ or something that is 12 years in the future, can perpetuate the erasure of Indigenous peoples’ experiences.


Thurs 6 Feb 2020: James Lovelock (University of Wolverhampton): “’Fantasies Come True’: Queer representations in contemporary musical theatre”

The 21st century has seen an increase in the visibility of LGBTQ* identities and a varied discussion on gender identity. This paper will explore how contemporary musical theatre has responded to these identities in shows such as “Fun Home”, “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” and “The Color Purple”, and how musical theatre students can work to diversify their work in this area.


Thurs 5 Mar 2020: Helen Nicholson (Royal Holloway, University of London), “Theatre and the Amateur Turn: Researching the Amateur Sector”

This talk questions why the amateur sector has been largely ignored in theatre studies, and what this means for the academy and for the wider theatre landscape. Drawing on the book she co-authored with Jane Milling and Nadine Holdsworth, “The Ecologies of Amateur Theatre” (Palgrave, 2018) Helen Nicholson will consider the relationship between amateur theatre and new patterns of labour in the twenty-first century.


Thurs 7 May 2020: Postgraduate Research Seminar