The Department of Theatre incubates world-leading research and practice. Our research-led teaching explores both performance histories and contemporary performance practices.

We cover a wide range of specialisms, including: early modern theatre; devising; eighteenth-century culture; contemporary British theatre; site specific theatre; dance and physical theatre; melodrama; verbatim and documentary theatre; applied theatre; adaptation and translation; and production and design.

We disseminate our research through publications, performances, and papers delivered at national and international conferences, and we also engage the general public in many of our activities.


Individual strengths are enhanced by specialist knowledge shared between members of the department in areas such as:

Performance practice

As artistic directors of their own theatre companies, Simon Jones of Bodies in Flight and Paul Clarke of Uninvited Guests bring practical, industry-based knowledge to bear on their scholarship. Other members of the department use their experience as dancers, dramaturgs, writers and directors to conduct their research. The department is a leader in practice-based research and creative-critical practices. 


Performance historians Catherine Hindson, Katja Krebs, Elaine McGirr and Eleanor Rycroft research the field from the medieval period through to the present, investigating the politics of dance, opera and musicals, the social histories of theatre, gender and the performing body, intercultural and cross-cultural theatrical exchanges, and theatre’s role in defining and creating community.


All members of the department trace the remains of the drama through archival research, work that is enriched by the University of Bristol Theatre Collection and its extensive archive of letters, photographs, designs and artworks, alongside multimedia and digital material, and costumes and objects.

Adaptation and Translation

Katja Krebs is the co-founder of the first academic journal, the "Journal of Adaptation in Film and Performance"We also collaborate with colleagues in Modern Languages, Classics, Music, Film, and Religion and Theology.


Here is a selection of current and recent funded projects led by our academics:

Collaborations and activities

We collaborate on projects with practitioners, venues, heritage organisations and film-makers, as well as other academics, and have relationships with organisations including Bristol Old Vic, ArnolfiniInBetween Time Festival, and Mayfest. 

We also actively participate in research clusters and centres across the University including Renaissance and Early Modern StudiesThe Centre for Material Culture, Tragedy, and Political Cultures.

Research in the Faculty

Our research forms part of the overall research activities and strategies of the Faculty of Arts.

Research events

We are frequently involved with one-off research events, and host an annual lecture at the Wickham Theatre.

Our postgraduate community runs an additional colloquium alongside, including reading groups, talks, and a biennial conference.

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