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Royal Holloway, University of London
Thursday, November 24 2011, 10:56 AM
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Dramatic launch for new Drama and Theatre research centre :22/09/2009
Dramatic launch for new Drama and Theatre researchcentreA new international research centre has been launchedby the Department of Drama and Theatre at RoyalHolloway, University of London, which will provideintellectual and structural support for research projects.The Centre for International Theatre and PerformanceResearch was launched on 18 September with a sell-outguest lecture by Professor Joseph Roach, from YaleUniversity, followed by theatrical demonstrations andperformance poetry in the College’s unique BoilerhouseTheatre.
The Centre will help both staff and PhD students developcritical thinking around topics focused on theatre andperformance with an international slant. It will alsoprovide domestic and international collaboration withresearch centres, projects, local performing arts bodiesand their interpretive communities.
Professor Helen Gilbert will lead the new Centre’s flagshipproject, ‘Indigeneity in the Contemporary World:Performance, Politics, Belonging’, which has received
2.36 million in funding from the European ResearchCouncil (ERC) for the next five years. The project’sresearch team will explore the various meanings of ‘indigeneity’, focusing on Australia, the Pacific Islands,the Americas and South Africa. Researchers will examinecultural representations and social practices in modes of performance across a broad range of media, from film and theatre to political protests and festivals. They willalso host yearly symposia and conference events and develop an educational DVD and an internationalexhibition.
Professor Roach’s public lecture, ‘The Return of the Last of the Pequots: Disappearance as Heritage’, was amajor success. Attended by a diverse local audience as well as leading scholars from around the world whowere gathered for a symposium on Indigeneity the following day, it sparked engaging discussions on subjectsas diverse as mythology, philosophy and sociology. Professor Roach is Sterling Professor of Theatre andEnglish, as well as Director of the World Performance Project at Yale University. The lecture was chaired byProfessor Helen Gilbert and recorded on podcast.
Professor Katie Normington, Royal Holloway’s Dean of Arts, comments, ‘The Centre is an important strategicinnovation for the College. It brings together strands of work at Royal Holloway, such as performance,ethnomusicology and post-colonial studies, and has the potential to bring together scholars and practitionersfrom around the world’.
The Centre’s launch was concluded with a selection of performances, which featured a demonstration of ‘CoreTraining’ techniques; the chanting and dancing of Noh Theatre by Royal Holloway PhD student DiegoPellecchia and performance poetry from award-winning Aboriginal writer Dr Romaine Moreton. Alison Hodge’spractice-based research into Eastern European-influenced ‘Core Training’ techniques helps actors to developphysical processes. Alison, who is a Reader in Theatre Practice, has been successfully running her researchgroup at Royal Holloway since 2005.