Bridging the creative industries and the academy.
Central is a unique hybrid institution, where all the elements of creating performance and academic study bump against each other in fascinating ways. I enjoy the dissonance and find it a vibrant and stimulating environment to make work and pursue research.
PhD graduate, research practitioner and lecturer. Jo’s PhD involves an investigation of live intermediality in performance.
Central’s PhD course provides a collaborative and supportive process that guides candidates through research whilst cultivating a space for the independent study required to produce cutting edge work; the support of research into queer studies and queer performance has been extremely valuable.
PhD Candidate and teacher with a research interest in drag performance and the ways in which queer communities emerge in contemporary London.
In Central I found myself in an environment that believes in me (sometimes more than I believed in myself) and encourages me to put myself up for opportunities that scare me. I think I'm very lucky to be surrounded by good people.
Exploring the placemaking possibilities offered through urban-art inspired applied performances devised with young people in Singapore, Adelina is also a teacher and TaPRA postgraduate representative.
Central also presents opportunities for candidates to make early steps towards an academic career, whether that be teaching, publishing written work, presenting papers or promoting practice as a theatre maker. It's an exciting atmosphere that just gets better and better.
Amelia is a blind theatre practitioner, teacher and consultant with experience in various styles of performance including but not limited to: acting, music, burlesque and aerial circus.
3 years F/T min. registration period; 4 years, normal max. (exc. agreed interruptions)/6 years P/T min. registration period, 8 years as normal max. To transfer from another institution min. length of study is 1 year F/T or 2 years P/T.
Doctor of Philosophy
"a community not a programme" - Joe Parslow, PhD candidate
As a doctoral student at Central, you will be fully immersed in our research culture, which is one of enquiry, innovation and experimentation. You will be engaged in exploring new and pioneering ideas and practices under the supervision of research active staff, many of whom are the leading scholars and practitioners in their fields.
We believe that research into our disciplines often involves exploration in, and through, the media with which we are concerned. Central’s academic staff are expert in drawing connections between exploratory practice, process and product, making and articulating. We have a strong tradition of text-based academic scholarship in drama, theatre, dance, and performance, and we are also ‘world-leading’ in researching through practice. At the last Research Excellence Framework (2014), over two-thirds of the research submitted by Central was judged to be ‘internationally excellent’ or ‘world-leading’. The School has been described as an example of ‘the emergence of a new kind of research institution in the performing arts, bridging the creative industries and the academy.’
Central is committed to enhancing the professional development of its PhD researchers as future academics, researchers and practitioners in the field. In addition to seminars on research skills and methods, we offer a professional development sessions for careers in and out of HE. Our industry-specific facilities, which support practice research, are at the forefront of what is available in the university sector. In addition to providing opportunities for teaching on Central's 35 MA and BA courses, we also offer professionalization through paid editorial work (Theatre Times; Contemporary Theater Review; and the Theatre Matters blog); administrative work (Ethics Committee; Institutional Repository); social media engagement; and event production. As a member of the AHRC-funded London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP), our PhD candidates are able to take part in training opportunities across the consortium.
We have extensive connections with all sectors of the theatre industry, as well as expanding international links. Some of our candidates are also funded by Collaborative Doctoral Agreements, including with the Association of British Theatre Technicians, the National Theatre, and the State Archive/Musalab (Italy). Beyond Central, our PhD students contribute to the discipline through their participation in conferences – both in the UK and internationally. Students have presented regularly at conferences such as IFTR, TaPRA and PSi, all supported by Central’s research office. Our students have published in peer-reviewed journals, and also performed work in international venues.
To find out more about what we offer and what it means to be part of our community of postgraduate researchers at Central, as well as how to apply please click on the following links or contact us directly.
As a PhD student at Central you will be welcomed into our community of researchers – comprising both staff, post-doctoral investigators and postgraduates – who contribute to the vibrant intellectual life of Europe’s most pre-eminent theatre-research conservatoire. You will benefit from the comprehensive support package that we offer all our postgraduate researchers: students are supported through close individual collaborations with their supervisors – drawn from Central’s large pool of specialist staff, which includes some of the UK’s leading researchers in theatre, drama and performance. With professional expertise in all aspects of theatre-making and world-class facilities, Central is also uniquely equipped to support researching practitioners. Our library boasts an extensive range of theatre publications and electronic resources as well as specialist collections.
You will participate in our systematic research training and methodologies programme led by Central’s research active staff as well as guest-speakers – many of whom are internationally recognised scholars and artists. Students also benefit from Central’s public engagement and external partnership activity (both within and beyond the creative and cultural sector), as well as with industry partners. As an integral part of the institution, postgraduate researchers enjoy many teaching opportunities across our undergraduate and postgraduate taught courses, supported by an accredited pedagogies unit. You will contribute to the intellectual life of the school further by organising an annual post-graduate conference, Intersections, and our festival of practice-based work, Collisions.
Those thinking about a research degree, but who are unsure if they are ready, should consider undertaking an MA or MFA course first, if you do not already have that level of qualification.
Please click below to find out more about the staff supervisors at Central.
There are many resources that postgraduate students can count on at Central. These include our staff base, our events, our facilities and location, and our industry connections.
PhD students can all draw on Central’s industry-standard physical resources. These include:
As well as these in-house resources, we access a number of external venues and festivals for specific projects (as with the The Pleasance; Theatre Peckham; Curve, Leicester; Queens Theatre, Hornchurch). Our Technical & Production department comprises 15 staff to support these facilities and to train students in their use.
Central is minutes away from the theatres, museums, libraries, galleries and clubs of London, one of the unequalled resources in the world for theatre-related study.
View profiles of the students on this course. Click on each student to find out more about them.
Central offers the opportunity for suitably qualified students registered for doctoral study at a university or conservatoire outside the UK to spend a period of up to six months with us. Visiting doctoral researchers can benefit participate in graduate events, attend the training sessions, and gain from the wider opportunities that come with being part of the University of London and the London Arts and Humanities Partnership.
In 2015-16 we hosted a visiting doctoral researcher from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile; in 2017-18 visiting doctoral researchers from the Universities of Brasilia, Valencia and the Complutense Madrid; in 2018-19 visiting doctoral researchers from VSMU (Academy of Performing Arts) Bratislava, and University of Valencia; and in 2019-20, Monash University, Central Academy of China, and Jawaharlal Nehru University.
We also offer the possibility of exchanges with and residencies at other international universities, where Central students can spend a discrete period consulting a particular archive, collection or body of work.
For further details on both these options, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.