The Centre for Practice and Research in Performing Arts

The Centre for Practice and Research in Performing Arts (formerly the Centre for Creativity, History and Identity in Performance) pursues creative inquiry and critical analysis at the intersection of theory and performance practice.

The group comprises Theatre and Choreography, Music and Sound, and Musical Theatre; specific research specialisms across these disciplines are:

  • New Musical Theatre Studies
  • Theatre Science and Philosophy
  • Identity in performance
  • Collaboration and group identity in Experimental music
  • Participatory performance
  • Sound and Music Computing

Explore PResPA

Research in PResPA focuses on developing the work of practice-based researchers alongside theoretical scholarship on contemporary and historical performance. We host internal and external symposia, develop research networks with external organisations and partners, and support our staff to present their work at international conferences and as invited speakers.

PResPA aims to promote inclusivity, accessibility and participation in performing arts, across theatre and music industries, and their associated cultures and histories. We aim for an active, dynamic research centre producing high-quality research which engages with both community and subject-specific research needs. We support an interdisciplinary research culture, both throughout the arts and outwards towards further intersections with the sciences and humanities.

An important objective of our research is to promote inclusivity in the theatre and music industries, and their associated audiences, cultures and histories.  In ‘Empowering Marginalised Communities through Music and Musical Theatre’ (REF ICS) we worked to identify gaps in inclusivity in relation to women’s/schoolgirls’ participation in music events, and recovering and reframing the work of minoritised groups in musical theatre. The research addressed these gaps by involvement with the ‘Hear her Song’ project and the ongoing research into recovered minoritised histories which has led to several outputs and the ongoing development of a digitised dataset.

We measure the effectiveness of dissemination via audience attendance at our public discussions and academic conferences, and website visits. Resulting impact is monitored via written feedback at conferences and public discussions, reviews of publications, performances and artefacts. In the context of our case-studies, this feedback has been used to evidence how our research has changed views, understanding and perceptions of performers.

Our staff have worked with and written for a range of industry and professional organisations, including the Royal Northern College of Music, the New York Public Library, and the Library of Congress (Washington, D.C.).