Performing Care

The Performing Care research project at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Performing Care is a research project which interrogates the relationship between theatre, performance, different care professions and the practice of care. Developed through a collaboration between Amanda Stuart Fisher (The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama) and James Thompson (University of Manchester), the project invites researchers and practitioners from different disciplines to examine how care is performed and how performance cares.

The project engages with practices of care and specifically scholarship which has emerged from care ethics. By positioning these ideas in dialogue with performance theory and practice, the project will develop new ways of looking at how care is performed in contexts such as nursing, social work, heritage sites, theatre and within other socially engaged participatory performance practices. Through an interrogation of both the politics and ethics of care ‘in practice’, the project seeks to develop new understandings of what good care is and opens up questions around what it means to be caring and careful when working with others.

Through a range of different and cross disciplinary modes of inquiry, the Performing Care project addresses itself to the following questions:

  • What is the relationship between performance and care?
  • How can performance re-think the concepts of care and justice?
  • What is the shape, feeling or aesthetics of care?
  • What kinds of interventions and invitations can performance initiate in places and sites of care?
  • How can performance re-imagine the relationship between the carer and the cared-for?
  • How can performance debate and explore the politics of care?
  • Can the quality of health and social care be enhanced through an engagement with theatre and performance discourses and practice?

News and events

The Performing Care research project commenced in June 2016 with a small roundtable event at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama which was attended by:

Amanda Stuart Fisher, Reader in Contemporary Theatres and Performance, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (Joint chair)
James Thompson, Professor of Applied and Social Theatre, University of Manchester (Joint chair)
Lois Weaver, Professor of Contemporary Performance, Queen Mary University London.
Jonathan Petherbridge, Creative Director, London Bubble.
Caoimhe McAvinchey, Senior Lecturer in Drama, Theatre and Performance, Queen Mary University London.
Pam Smith, Professorial Fellow, School of Health in Social Science, Edinburgh University and Visiting Professor, Kings College London.
Robert Stern, Professor of Philosophy, University of Sheffield.
Maurice Hamington (via Skype) Professor of Philosophy & Executive Director of University Studies, Portland State University.


Practice Research: At the intersections of thinking and doing

A conversation between performance and philosophy

A roundtable event: 7th December 5 – 7pm, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama


Laura Cull Ó Maoilearca, Reader in Theatre and Performance, University of Surrey

Tony Fisher, Reader in Theatre and Philosophy, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Maurice Hamington, Professor of Philosophy, Portland State University, Oregon

David Harradine, Professor of Interdisciplinary Practice and Artistic Director of Fevered Sleep

Amanda Stuart Fisher, Reader in Contemporary Theatre and Performance, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (convenor and chair).

Find more information about this event in this pdf.

This event is free, but booking is essential. To book your place please email:


The Performing Care symposium will be held on December 15th 2016, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

Key note: Maurice Hamington, Portland State University, author of: Care Ethics and Political Theory (co-authored with Daniel Engster) 2015, Socializing Care: Feminist Ethics and Public Issues (co-authored with Dorothy. C. Miller) 2006, Embodied Care: Jane Addams, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Feminist Ethics 2004.

The symposium's full programme is available here. Registration for the symposium is £12 - register for your place. For further information about the symposium, please contact:

Fevered Sleep’s Men & Girls Dance (2015). Photo by Benedict Johnson.

Research at Central