Drama and Theatre Studies
Performing Arts research in the School of Communication and Arts is committed to critical engagement with theatre studies and live performance through time and across cultures. Researchers’ work covers a wide range of theatre forms, genres and cultures (from Restoration theatre to Contemporary site-based performance and Prison Theatre; from theatre of the Pacific to Gothic theatre in Australia and beyond) and critical fields of inquiry (including cultural geography, spatial inquiry, intercultural theatre, digital mapping and virtual modelling of cultural heritage venues).
Expert staff publish their research nationally and internationally, and build upon the School’s reputation as a leading Australian literary and performing arts research centre.
Industry & Research Partnerships
Fostering industry partnerships with theatre companies and communities and research partnerships with other universities in Australia and internationally is a significant research priority. The Drama Research Area maintains close connections with the:
- Queensland Theatre Company (Emeritus Professor Richard Fotheringham was until 2016 Chair of the QTC Board, Professor Joanne Tompkins has developed a virtual model of the Bille Brown Studio).
- Stephen Carleton has close links with Playlab, the peak agency for playwriting in Queensland (he is a Board member, and member of their Publication Committee).
- The Queensland Shakespeare ensemble is UQ’s resident theatre company, housed in the Geoffrey Rush Drama Studio, with links to Queensland Corrections for the Shakespeare in Prison Project.
- Drama also maintains close research ties with major Australian theatre databases, including the Popular Theatre Subset of AustLit, AusStage (housed at Flinders University), and the theatre subset of the UQ-based Cultural Atlas of Australia.
- The Drama Area also notably continues the tradition of documenting Australia's dramatic heritage with its staff closely involved in the Fryer Library maintaining a tradition begun by the Fryer initiative and continued by Eunice Hanger and others into the present.
As part of a Creative Partnership with Arts Queensland, we commissioned new works by some of the Australasian region's most renowned playwrights, for example:
- 2012 Noëlle Janaczewska completed the play 'Scratchlands'
- 2013-14 Singaporean playwright Alfian bin Sa-at completed the play, '1987'.
The Geoffrey Rush Drama Studio is home to two resident theatre companies and programs:
- The Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble (QSE) - overseen by Dr Rob Pensalfini, including its dynamic Shakespeare in Prisons program.
- The New Theatre Writing Laboratory - overseen by Dr Stephen Carleton, the Lab places postgraduate writing students in conversation with leading local, national and international practitioners in the development of new work for the stage.
- UQ Drama Creative Fellowship - in 2015, we inaugurated the UQ Drama Creative Fellowship, which allows us to bring a leading Australian playwright to the School to run masterclasses in our playwriting program, a guest lecture for staff and students in the Scool, and to present a new play they're working on to an invited industry audience. The Creative Fellows we've brought to the New Writing Theatre Laboratory so far include Angela Betzien and Tommy Murphy.