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We curate a diverse programme of events, consisting of workshops, seminars, lectures, symposia and performances.  The majority of our events are open to public audiences. Unless otherwise stated, they are free of charge to attend. Some of our events during the course of a year will address a particular research theme. For 2016-17, our theme is transmission.

Explore our recent events here.

Listen to podcasts of our talks on SoundCloud to the left of the screen or by clicking here.


Theatres of Contagion: Infectious Performance

See the programme below and download abstracts and biographies here.

Thursday 11-Friday 12 May 2017

  • How have theatre and performance represented, examined or been implicated in the transmission and circulation of medical and psychological conditions?
  • How has our understanding of these relationships and phenomena changed over time, across cultures, including via developments in interdisciplinary practice and inquiry?

Day 1, 11 May

2.00-2.30 pm: Registration and coffee, Keynes Library

2.30-3.45 pm

Medieval and Early Modern Transmissions, G04

  • The Semiotics of Disability and Impairment in Late-Medieval Drama, Helen Smith
  • ‘Ere she end / She’ll send them weeping one by one away’ (The Maid’s Tragedy, I.i.106-7): Diagnosing Emotional Contagion in Early Modern Tragedy, Stephen Curtis
  • Obsessions, Compulsions and Contagion: A Psycho-Physical Approach to Performance, David Edwards

4 .00- 5.00 pm

Keynote 1, Keynes Library

  • ‘Passion, I see, is catching’: Contagion, Cure and Emotion on the Early Modern Stage, Bridget Escolme

5.30-6.45 pm

Performance, G10

  • Dickie Beau, Re-Member Me

All day, foyer: Looped screening of The Dancing Plague (2016), a short film by Diego Agulló and Jorge Ruiz Abánades which offers a contemporary take on Pieter Brueghel the Elder’s paintings and accounts of dancing manias.


Day 2, 12 May

9.00-9.30 am: Registration and coffee, Keynes Library

9.30-11.05 am [parallel panels]

Conditioning the Popular, G04

  • Models of Contagion: A Comedic Turning Point, Peter Fifield
  • Is there a Doctor in the house? Audience responses to Grand-Guignol and the theatre of horror, Julius Green
  • The Way You Tell Them, Rachel Mars
  • ‘We are the ones who should not exist’: an arts practice query into the effect of HIV-as-process upon Vogue choreography, Russell Patrick Brown

Experimental Matters, G10

  • Catchy-Feely: The Alive Condition of Performance, Annalaura Alifuoco
  • Rehearsing the Laboratory: Experimental Cultural Geographies of the Micro, Charlotte Veal and Paul Hurley, University of Southampton
  • Trance is not Enough: Towards a Neuro-Biology of Theatrical Contagion, Nicholas Arnold
  • Rhizo-Memetic Art: A Theory of Cultural Contagion for Transdisciplinary Practice, James Burrows

11.20 am-1.00 pm [parallel panels]

Containment and Corruption, G04

  • Fragmented Entrainment and Contaminated Affect: The Positive Side of Negativity in Kim Noble’s You’re not Alone, Maria Patsou
  • Affective Bodies in Dynamic Space: The Massacre and Site-Specific Contagion, Rebecca McCutcheon
  • Contagion and Criminality in Clean Break Theatre Company’s Little on the Inside, Molly McPhee
  • Contaminated Topographies: nomadic infrastructures and the post eviction scene, Lynne McCarthy

Viral Emotions and Psychic Exchange, G10

  • Away with the Fairies: Infection, Madness and Globalization in Caryl Churchill’s The Skriker, Jonathan Venn
  • Staging Trauma, Staging the Family, Miriam Haughton
  • Affective Encounter: Repetition and Immersion in The Corn Exchange’s Man of Valour, Angie Butler
  • Contagious psychosis? Sarah Kane’s Cleansed, Crave and 4.48 Psychosis, Leah Sidi

1.00-2.00 pm: Lunch

  • David Slater and Entelechy Arts will present a performance of BED in Gordon Square and by Malet Street from 12.30 – 14.30 pm.

2.00-3.50 pm

Relating Dis/ease, G10

  • The Unwell (Martin O’Brien, film screening)
  • Disgusting bodies: Martin O’Brien and the performance of (auto)immunity, Stephen Greer
  • HCV Negative (performance presentation, Deej Fabyc)
  • Contagion Squared, Elizabeth Pisani

4.00-5.15 pm

Crossing Disciplines, G10

  • How are ideas of contagion, infection and transmission understood in other disciplines?
  • How might these affect our understanding of theatre and performance?

Stephen Frosh (Birkbeck, Psychosocial Studies); Richard P. Mann (Leeds, Mathematics); Emily Senior (Birkbeck, English); Matthew Weait (Portsmouth, Law). Chaired by Jo Winning (Birkbeck, English and Medical Humanities).

5.30-6.30 pm

Keynote 2, G10

  • Plague, Inc.: Theatre's Engagement with Mechanisms of Contagion and Containment, Kirsten Shepherd-Barr

6.30 pm: Closing reception, G10


For more information contact

Book here.

GRiT: Graduate Research in Theatre

A forum for postgraduate students, academics and Centre Fellows to meet, share and discuss current scholarship and research in progress. Termly sessions focus on the Centre’s research theme, which for 2016-17 is transmission. Contact Fintan Walsh at for further information.

London Theatre Seminar

The Centre also supports the intercollegiate London Theatre Seminar, which is hosted by the Institute of English Studies, and takes place at Senate House. Sessions run from 6.30-8.30pm.

  • 12 January 2017: Researching Amateur Theatre, with Helen Nicolson (RHUL), Nadine Holdsworth (Warwick) and Jane Milling (Exeter)
  • 2 February 2017: Ayumi Fujioka (Sugiyama University, Japan and Visiting Scholar, SOAS), ‘Early 20th Century Transcultural Popular Entertainment in the British and Japanese Theatre: From Edwardian Musical Comedy to Teigeki Actress Plays’ & Jim Davis (University of Warwick), ‘Some Aspects of Anglo-Australian Cultural Exchange 1880-1960’ NB: This talk is supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) London.
  • 9 March 2017: Dariusz Kosiński (Jagiellonian University)
  • 27 April 2017: Panel on Contemporary Political Theatre, in collaboration with European Theatre Research Network with Bryce Lease (RHUL), Peter Boenisch (University of Kent), Claire Finburgh (Kent), Helen Gush (V&A) and Günter Heeg (University of Leipzig)
  • 11 May 2017: Postgraduate Panel with Jessica Worden (Brunel University London) and Yaron Shyldkrot (University of Surrey)

For more info and directions, visit the London Theatre Seminar website.