Lancaster University

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Theatre Studies Celebrate Research Grant Awards

07/30/2003 14:29:48

The Department of Theatre Studies is celebrating after the awarding of several prestigious research grants to members of the department.

Professor Elaine Aston and Dr Gerry Harris have been awarded an AHRB (Arts and Humanities Research Board) grant her work on women's writing for performance. This major award will be the largest grant that the department has received to date. The research project aims to look at the strategies employed by women in writing for performance, and the implications of such strategies for the contestation of gender representation. The research will be highly practice-based and will focus on the process of writing.

Building on the success of Professor Aston and Dr Harris' research grant, and the substantial funding awarded to the Nuffield Theatre by the Arts Council of England for commissioning new theatre works, the department is planning to establish a new University research centre, the Centre for the Advanced Study of Contemporary Performance Practice. The CASCPP will generate and lead research into what constitutes creative practice in

performance across a range of areas and cultural activities, and aims to establish Lancaster as the regional hub in the North West for innovative research into contemporary performance.

Meanwhile, Dr Gerry Harris and Dr Kate Newey have both been awarded AHRB research leave awards to finish projects. Dr Harris will be using the award to complete a book on contemporary TV drama, based on the popular undergraduate course she teaches in the department, whilst Dr Newey will be looking at nineteenth century British women playwrights. This means that the department has had a one hundred per cent success rate gaining research grants.

The department is also involved, along with Lancaster University Television, the Music Department, and the Institute for Cultural Research in setting up a new 'Centre for Media and Performance', which will be launched in October. The Centre will extend the department's working partnership with LUTV, and feed student interest in using video and live performance together in their work.

Undergraduate courses are thriving, with 10 applications for each place, with students attracted by the department's emphasis on contemporary performance, both live and mediatised. Many exciting new theatre groups have sprung up amongst Lancaster Theatre Studies students and graduates, with groups regularly taking shows to the Edinburgh fringe festival.

Dr Kate Newey, Head of Department said, 'What makes the course so attractive to undergraduates is the combination of a vigorous academic programme with Lancaster's reputation for research-led teaching integrated into exciting training in the practicalities of making live performance'.