The Department of Theatre and Performance's research embraces a range of global theory and practice in theatre and performance including play-texts, physical practices and critical/cultural theory on which students can draw in their research.
As a research student, you may register either for research based on practice with a written element, or for research by written thesis.
If your topic is practice-led you should be concerned to contextualise your practice in relation to other cultural production and critical theory in your contribution to new knowledge.
Empirical research is essential to innovative practice and you will be required to propose how you intend to conduct this during the course of your studies, as well as present and document this as part of your final submission.
At research level, the Department’s aim is to encourage and support innovative thinking and approaches to praxis, both historical and contemporary and within a broad cultural frame of reference, and for this to be conducted within the context of live as well as academic sources.
Goldsmiths celebrates interdisciplinarity and supervision may be conducted within the department as well as through inter-departmental co-supervision.
Find out more about research degrees at Goldsmiths.
Contact the department
If you have specific questions about the degree, contact the Department Secretary
All students initially enrol on the MPhil programme and subsequently upgrade to PhD status if their work is considered to be at the appropriate level. You can study full-time or part-time and can apply to upgrade to PhD registration usually after 18 months (full-time) or 24 months (part-time).
All students are supervised by a full-time member of staff, generally agreed during the preliminary discussion regarding your research with the Department’s Director of Postgraduate Studies.
Research methodology seminar
All students enrolled on the MPhil/PhD programme are required to attend a weekly seminar in research methodology. This seminar is designed to bring together research students with diverse interests in a co-operative and stimulating environment.
Its objectives include training students for the Spring Review Week, written and oral presentations, preparation for upgrading procedures, and publication of articles.
Through thesis and viva voce. If you are studying for a practice-based degree, you present a thesis in the form of a practical presentation and written dissertation, and have a viva voce.
The Department of Theatre and Performance offers a vibrant interdisciplinary learning environment, supported by distinguished staff and outstanding facilities
Theatre and Performance
Study in a department that fuses theory and practice, where you can study diverse subjects, and benefit from our industry links. We're ranked 22nd in the world for performing arts.**
Theory and practice
We balance academic study with creative and technical practice, so you’ll explore hands-on theatre making while developing your knowledge of theatre history and culture.
We cover diverse subjects from classical texts and new writing to contemporary writing and performance, and from physical and applied theatres to multimedia/live art.
Teaching staff include distinguished researchers and professional theatre-makers.
We have international networks in the industry, with regular visits from professionals, and links with associate organisations in London including:
Our excellent facilities include a 160-seat theatre, four performance studios, new scenic workshops, sound studio, and open-access media lab. All supported by an outstanding team of technicians and scenic designers.
Find out more about the Department of Theatre and Performance.
*QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017
Staff research interests (Theatre and Performance)
Cultural policy and theory, particularly the relationship between social and cultural inclusion/exclusion, the instrumental use of the arts and how cultural value is determined. Besides community arts forms and practices, his interests also cover popular culture and its articulation with ‘high’ culture. This includes a more general analysis of leisure space and the global impact of mass culture.
Dr Paul Clements BA MA PhD
Space dramaturgy; object dramaturgy; devised theatre and performance; compositional strategies.
Dr Andrea Cusumano BA PhD
Contemporary and historical physicalised performer-training and directorial practices (including embodied experiences in process and performance); directorial practices; devised performance; cross-arts performance; multi-media practice; radical use of text in performance.
Cass Fleming BA MA
Performance training/physical theatre (Grotowski, Artaud, Brook); new theatre/new writing; interdisciplinary performance; dance theatre/new dance; martial arts and performance; the body and scenography; issues of the body; hysteria; women’s theatre/performance.
Dr Anna Furse BA PGTC PhD
Methodologies of rehearsal; new performance writing; innovation in text-based performance practice; children’s theatre; Shakespeare; opera and music theatre.
John Ginman BA
Performance praxis (theories of acting, history of acting and directing, systems of actor training); Restoration and modern English comedy; post-war British theatre; South African theatre; the British and American musical.
Professor Robert Gordon BA MA LTCL FRSA
Irish theatre; the work of J M Synge, W B Yeats and Sean O’Casey; theatre history; theatre and cultural history; politics and nationalism; Irish political history; modernism.
Dr Ben Levitas BA MA DPhil
Theatre and fascism; sport theatre; public spectacle and fascism; 20th-century Catalan, Spanish, French, German and Italian theatre.
Dr John London BA MA PhD
African theatre; Caribbean theatre; postcolonial theatre; theatre-fordevelopment; intercultural/cross-cultural issues in performance.
Dr Osita Okagbue BA MA PhD
Contemporary Black British writing; prison theatre and drama; motherhood and colonial ideology; New Women writers; Australian indigenous writing and performance; women secret agents and war.
Dr Deirdre Osborne PhD
Archetype and archetypal psychology, especially dreams; physical theatre practice and training; Grotowski, Barba, Lecoq: commedia dell’arte, ancient pantomime.
Göze Saner BA
20th-century directors and mise-en-scène, including Ariane Mnouchkine, Peter Brook, Giorgio Strehler and Robert Wilson; French and Russian theatre including Lev Dodin and the Maly; sociology of the theatre; interdisciplinary methodologies; theatre theory, performance and cultural theory; performance analysis; audience analysis; dance; opera.
Professor Maria Shevtsova BA M-ès-L DipEd PhD
The Department of Theatre and Performance at Goldsmiths is distinguished by a strong emphasis – across its diverse range of practical and scholarly work – on the social roles, impact and influence of theatre/performance.
Building on its well established reputation in the key areas of practice-as-research, the cultural and creative industries and the sociocultural study of the theatre, the Department has since 2001 appointed outstanding new staff to develop distinctive groupings of individual and collaborative research as well as the cross-fertilisation between them. It has consolidated its practice-as-research portfolio and promoted African, Black British and diasporic theatres as well as European theatres, adding Irish and Romanian, Spanish, Catalan and German to our existing expertise in British , Russian, French and Italian.
There are four main research clusters:
Theoretically-informed practice as research is a key feature of the Department, moving beyond established theatre practice to embrace performance in medicine, dance and schools; the public services sector; and the cultural industries more generally.
Cross Disciplinary Performance and Interdisciplinary Writing
The Department’s commitment to cross-generic and cross-disciplinary synergies across the breadth of its activities generates a distinctive research cluster that includes history, translation studies , African studies , English studies and sociology.
History and theory of the theatre
History, sociology and theory of the theatre/performance, playwriting and dramaturgy constitutes the Department’s third main research group. This incorporates drama, productions and performance in national/regional focus; sociology of theatre/performance including cultural theory and ethnography; national and international playwriting and dramaturgy; the study of acting, directors and companies.
Cross-culturalism, multiculturalism and hybrids
The potential of cross-cultural, multicultural and hybriddrama/performance and their exploration as social processes forms the fourth cluster. Our strategy has involved enhancing and interweaving the theoretical underpinnings and empirical investigation of cross-cultural performance, exploring issues specific to multicultural Britain in the contexts of immigration and globalisation and the hybrid practices characteristic of our practice-as-research which merge live performance with video, interactive technology and the web.
Find out more about research in the Department of Theatre and Performance.
You should normally have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least upper second class standard in a related area.
You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.
We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.
English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us.
For this programme we require:
IELTS 7.0 with a 7.0 in writing
If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.
How to apply
You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system.
Before submitting your application you'll need to have:
- Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments
- The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference
- Contact details of a second referee
- A personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online
- If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory)
- Details of your research proposal
You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.
Before you apply for a research programme, we advise you to get in touch with the programme contact, listed above. It may also be possible to arrange an advisory meeting.
Before you start at Goldsmiths, the actual topic of your research has to be agreed with your proposed supervisor, who will be a member of staff active in your general field of research. The choice of topic may be influenced by the current research in the department or the requirements of an external funding body.
If you wish to study on a part-time basis, you should also indicate how many hours a week you intend to devote to research, whether this will be at evenings or weekends, and for how many hours each day.
Along with your application and academic reference, you should also upload a research proposal at the point of application.
This should be in the form of a statement of the proposed area of research and should include:
- delineation of the research topic
- why it has been chosen
- an initial hypothesis (if applicable)
- a brief list of major secondary sources
When to apply
We accept applications from 1 October to 30 June for students wanting to start the following September.
We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place conditional on you achieving a particular qualification.
If you're applying for external funding from one of the Research Councils, make sure you submit your application by the deadline they've specified.
Admission to many programmes is by interview, unless you live outside the UK. Occasionally we'll make candidates an offer of a place on the basis of their application and qualifications alone.
Find out more about applying.