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Performance. Experience. Presence.


Performance. Experience. Presence.

The Performance. Experience. Presence (P.E.P) Research Group at Plymouth University

focuses on embodiment, representation, culture and identity through the making and analysis of performance. It encompasses researchers of theatre, dance, popular performance, live art and interdisciplinary performance practices. All members engage in practice-led research, and the group champions the value of rigorous reflexive practice and embodied knowledges at all levels of a research career, especially in interdisciplinary areas that stretch our understandings and expectations of performance and discrete genres. Half of the research we submitted to REF2014 was graded as either world-leading or internationally excellent.Our specific areas of expertise include the body in performance; performance sites, spaces and environments; and performer training.

The group runs a lively regular seminar series. To facilitate postgraduate practice-as-research, we offer a series of training events focusing on performance documentation and situated cognition; we remain flexible and open-minded about supervisory requirements as well as the presentation of theses in 'non-traditional' forms; students are encouraged to participate in regular 'scratch' nights; they have technical and resourcing support. 

The University's new purpose-designed performing arts centre, The House (completed in 2014) features

a 220-seat theatre with box office facilities and excellent access for disabled artists and technicians, rehearsal and studio spaces. This complements the dedicated resources (including 3 studio spaces) that the research group currently enjoys in the iconic Roland Levinsky Building.

We host innovative, friendly conferences which aim to engender research dialogue, not just between scholars but also with people who operate outside the academy, including therapists and teachers, performance artists and storytellers, curators and tour guides. These events have included the annual TaPRA conference (2009); the Live Laboratory Symposium (2010), with Plymouth Arts Centre and the Marina Abramovic Institute; an International Research Forum on Guided Tours, co-organised with Halmstad and Gothenburg Universities (2011); and symposia on the Hidden City and site specific practices (2008), Mela and cultural identity in performance (2012), and Zombies and Performance (2013).

Our many national and international collaborations and partnerships work to celebrate diversity and increase access to performance. The non-academic beneficiaries and audiences for our research include artists and performers (especially in sited performance, dance, theatre and live art), for whom opportunities are created for developing and sharing their work; emergent practitioners and companies to whom we offer resources and consultancy; performer trainers, with and for whom we run workshops (e.g. Plymouth Theatre Royal's Practitioner Development Scheme); cultural agencies, companies and institutions (e.g. Plymouth Arts Centre, ArtsMatrix, Plymouth Art Gallery and Museum, Dance in Devon, National Trust properties) with whom we co-organise events and share expertise and resources (e.g. by sitting on advisory boards); and specific ethnic, cultural or political community groups (including Plymouth's Asian and LGBTQ communities, and Jewish communities in Canada and the UK), with whom we create oral history archives and facilitate cultural exchange.

We also work with Peninsula Arts, the University's cultural organisation, to curate and programme theatre and dance seasons; film screenings and performance events that include Q&As and staged interviews; and lectures and performative presentations to the general public (not only by group members, but also the recipients of our Honorary Doctorates such as Marina Abramovic, Eugenio Barba, Russell Maliphant, and Yukio Ninagawa).

We welcome applications for both practice-led and more 'traditional' forms of postgraduate research in live art, dance-theatre, site-specific performance, experimental theatre, interdisciplinary practices, improvisation, intercultural performance, somatic practice, popular performance and physical theatre. Please visit our webpage which lists current and recently completed postgraduate researchers here. There are a number of postgraduate research routes available for high quality candidates, including MRes (Master of Research), ResM (Research Masters) and MPhil/PhD. Competitive studentships are available for MRes and MPhil/PhD applicants from the UK or EU who wish to undertake practice-as-research in the fields of digital theatre, dance or performance. For further information please visit the 3D3 Centre for Doctoral Training website.

Further Information:

Please contact Professor Roberta Mock
or for business enquiries visit Enterprise Solutions

Research opportunities in this area:

Most groups provide research opportunities (including MPhil/PhD where available). Please get in touch with the contacts named above for further information.