Postgraduate research

We offer diverse opportunities for postgraduate study through our Drama PhD (Theatre and Screen), Anthropology Media and Performance PhD, and Professional PhD in Applied Theatre.

Why Manchester? roundel

Engage with Manchester's vibrant cultural life directly through work placement opportunities and research collaborations with cultural sector partners in the city, such as the Royal Exchange Theatre, HOME, and TiPP (Theatre in Prisons and Probation).

View our programmes, and the support available for our postgraduate researchers.


Finding a supervisor

Research strength

We've been awarded over £1.3 million in research grants from international funding bodies, including two large-scale AHRC-funded projects:

  • ‘In Place of War’ explores theatre in sites of conflict
  • ‘Performance, Learning and Heritage’ considers the uses of performance as a medium of learning in museums and historic sites

Practice-based research

Drama plays a leading role in the development of practice-based research and has now extended similar explorations into theatre and screen studies.

Research areas

Our degrees focus on the main three strands of research in drama at Manchester: Theatre Studies, Applied Theatre and Screen Studies.
We also have research expertise in areas of theatre history, especially late 19th century popular performance and women in 20th century theatre.


Our innovative skills training programme 'artsmethods@manchester' provides a research environment that crosses discipline boundaries.

Many of our PhD students are co-supervised with colleagues in other subject areas across the University.

Current PhD students

Students enrolled on our postgraduate research programmes are currently working on a range of drama-based projects:

PhD Anthropology, Media and Performance

  • Veronica Castro - 'Ways of Dying: Santo Daime End-of-Life Ritual Performances in the Lumiar Community, Serrana do Rio de Janeiro’ (supervised by Dr Joannes Sjöberg).
  • Kriston Jackson - ‘American Roads: Everyday Effects on the Vernacular Roadside’ (supervised by Dr Joannes Sjöberg and Dr Andrew Irving).

PhD Applied Theatre

  • Lyndsay Muir - ‘Applied Theatre with Trans People’ (supervised by Dr Alison Jeffers and Dr Jenny Hughes).
  • Reka Polonyi - 'The Importance of Laughter: The Preservation of Imagination and (Re)construction of Identity in Times of War' (funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and supervised by Dr Jenny Hughes).
  • Simon Ruding - ‘Too Close for Comfort? An Investigation into the Impact of Performing in Restorative Treatment Interventions for High-Risk Offenders’ (supervised by Dr Jenny Hughes and Professor Stephen Bottoms).
  • Victoria Sawka - Can a Drama-Based Approach to Education Develop an Accessible Pedagogy to Re-think the Role of Teacher and Learner in Mainstream Education?’ (supervised by Dr Simon Parry and Dr Jenny Hughes).

PhD Drama

  • Laura Arnott - 'Investigating Cross-Cultural Localisation and Reception of Japanese Video Games' (supervised by Dr Felicia Chan and Dr Vicky Lowe).
  • Kathryn Ashill - ‘Extended Family: Performing Companionship, Health and Wellbeing across Species’ (supervised by Dr Simon Parry and Dr Robert Kirk).
  • Kathleen Donoghue - ‘Performing Trauma on Post-Conflict Stages: The Representational Strategies of DAH Teatar’ (supervised by Professor Stephen Bottoms and Professor James Thompson).
  • Laura Johnson - “Things get weird on Highway 61': Constructing a Rural Imaginary in the Canadian Road Movie’ (supervised by Dr Felicia Chan and Dr David Butler).
  • Katherine Morley - 'The influence of live music on spectatorship, in an Early Years Theatre context' (funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and President's Doctoral Scholar Award, and supervised by Dr Jenny Hughes and Dr Caroline Bithell).
  • Jonathan Smith - 'Nasty, Brutish and Tall: The Representation, Role and Influence of Brutalist Architecture in British Cinema' (funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and supervised by Dr Victoria Lowe and Dr Charlotte Wildman).
  • Sophie Stringfellow - 'Henry James, Oscar Wilde and Spectral Performance' (funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and supervised by Professor Stephen Bottoms and Professor Maggie Gale).
  • Ying Tian - 'Representing Gender and Race, Constituting Self and Other: Transnational Remakes of the Monkey King in Contemporary Media Cultures' (supervised by Dr Felicia Chan and Dr Jackie Stacey).


Why Manchester?

Research is at the heart of The University of Manchester. Here early career researchers talk about their research and the world of opportunity on offer to drama students at the University.