study with us

Research Degrees at East 15

PhD Study

What we do...

We celebrate and interrogate contemporary theatre practice and its cultural, political and social relevance.

Our research takes many forms including practice as research and text-based enquiry, and champions a spirit of radical curiosity and experimentation.

Why choose us?
  • As a highly competitive acting conservatoire we are well equipped to cater for a range of activities and practices.
  • We have extensive links with all sectors of the theatre industry and as one of the most international drama schools in the UK, we also have a range of established international connections. 
  • Our staff undertake many forms of research including practice as research and text-based enquiry and are experts in drawing connections between exploratory practice and advanced conceptualising, process and product, making and articulating.
MA/MFA Theatre Directing
MA/MFA Theatre Directing
BA Acting - Twelve Angry (Men) People
BA Acting - Twelve Angry (Men) People

Our Research Degrees

Undertaking PhD study gives you the opportunity to engage with an area of drama, theatre, or performance in depth and at an advanced level.

East 15 Acting School, with its growing research profile and internationally recognised research quality is an obvious home for such research.

Find out more

About

East 15 research addresses different methods of making theatre, including performer-training and strategies for creative collaboration, as well as examining the institutional and industrial mechanisms within which theatre operates.

Informed by theoretical and historical perspectives, our aim is to illuminate the key processes by which innovative theatre is formed, performed, produced, valued and increasingly engaged in contemporary society. This aim extends East 15’s long-recognised excellence in, and emphasis on, industry and practice into the domain of research. 

Our Expert Staff

Our staff undertake many forms of research including practice as research and text-based enquiry, and are experts in drawing connections between exploratory practice and advanced conceptualising, process and product, making and articulating.

We have extensive links with all sectors of the theatre industry and as one of the most international drama schools in the UK, we also have a range of established international connections. 

Staff research specialisms include world performance, actor-training and audience reception. Our staff are undertaking research in areas such as movement and somatics in actor training, voice, immersive and participatory performance, intermedial performance, performance art, twentieth century avant-garde practice, intercultural training and practice, Balinese theatre, Brazilian theatre, Shakespeare and theatre directing.

Fields of Study

Staff research specialisms include world performance, actor-training and audience reception.

Our staff are currently undertaking research in areas such as movement and somatics in actor training, voice, immersive and participatory performance, intermedial performance, performance art, twentieth century avant-garde practice, intercultural training and practice, Balinese theatre, Brazilian theatre, Shakespeare and theatre directing.

Specialist Facilities

As a highly competitive acting conservatoire we are well equipped to cater for a range of activities and practices.

Our cutting-edge facilities, resources and support for research, offered across three campuses (Southend, Loughton, Colchester) are world class.

We are well placed to facilitate practice as research by virtue of our high-specification performance and rehearsal spaces, design studios, and infrastructure.  

PhD students will be based at Southend or Loughton depending on the location of their supervisor. However, all PhD students will be able to access the available facilities at both Loughton and Southend. 

In Southend, East 15 PhD candidates have access to a designated University of Essex PhD room in the Gateway Building. In both Southend and Loughton, PhD students will have access to hot desks, computers, on-campus libraries and printing facilities. In addition to this, PhD students will have access to:

  • Performance studios to support practice as research.
  • Access to book rehearsal spaces in the evening and weekends, when the spaces are not in use for undergraduate classes.
  • PhD students will also be able to book spaces outside the usual undergraduate term dates, approximately 20 weeks a year.

In Loughton, facilities include over 20 rehearsal studios of various sizes and a radio and recording studio. In Southend, East 15 facilities include 16 large rehearsal studios, seminar rooms and an Apple Mac editing suite. Both campuses also have a working theatre and dance studio. 

As well as the physical resources, PhD students will have the opportunity to create connections with the acting, technical, and producing students on each campus – inviting them to take part in research activities outside of their timetabled classes and rehearsals.

Our PhD courses

PhD Drama and Performance (Practice as Research)

Our PhD Drama and Performance (Practice as Research) course sees candidates assessed via practice as research, a thesis that contextualises and analyses the performance practice in relation to the research topic, and a viva voce examination.

For guidance, areas of expected practice include: theatre directing, dramaturgy, actor training, design (scenery, sound, lighting, costume), and performance art.

Learn more about our PhD Drama and Performance (Practice as Research) course.

PhD Drama and Performance

The PhD in Drama and Performance is a conventional PhD whereby candidates are assessed via thesis and viva voce examination.

Learn more about our PhD Drama and Performance course. 

How to Apply

There's a lot to think about before starting to make an application for a research degree. For example, you must first be sure you know what you want to study and who with.

Our Postgraduate Research application information page will take you through all the necessary steps required for your application as well as the documents you’ll need along the way.

Apply online

Applying for a PhD Course at East 15 Acting School is simple and straightforward. We’ll give you all the important information you need to make your application. Our online application takes about 20 minutes to complete via the University of Essex portal.

Apply now
Get in touch
Professor Rosemary Klich Director of Research
East 15 Acting School, University of Essex