Drama and Performance

The Drama & Performance seminar series aims to explore questions of performance within theatrical contexts both contemporary and historical, with a special emphasis on ideas of the dramatic and performance in practice.


Tuesday, 9 May, at 5:00 pm

G-R04, Faculty of English

There are limited spaces available for this seminar. Please register in advance by e-mailing md795@cam.ac.uk.

Dramaturg and theatre agent Mel Kenyon will be with us for a conversation about her work and her reflections on the state of contemporary theatre.

As Head of Theatre and Company Director at Casarotto Ramsay & Associates, Mel Kenyon is one of the most influential people working in theatre today. Beginning her career at the Royal Court Theatre and rising to the key position of Literary Manager by the age of 25, Mel has gone on to forge the careers of many of the industry's most prestigious playwrights, screenwriters, theatre directors, and designers during her three decades at Casarotto. Her multi award-winning clients include writers Sir David Hare, Sir Christopher Hampton, Caryl Churchill, David Greig, David Harrower, Zinnie Harris, Simon Stephens, Dennis Kelly, Lucy Kirkwood, Danny Lee Wynter, and the late Sarah Kane. Mel also represents all worldwide theatre rights for Neil Gaiman, the Roald Dahl Story Company, and Tennessee Williams. Fiercely loyal to and protective of her clients, Mel Kenyon remains one of the most distinctive and respected figures in British literary agenting. If you have any questions about the event, please feel free to contact us. We look forward to seeing you there!

Friday, 26th May, at 5:00pm

S-R24, Faculty of English

We will be hosting Dr Joanna Bucknall of Birmingham University who will be giving a talk on immersive theatre. Please register in advance to Claire at cmw95@cam.ac.uk. We hope to see as many of you there as possible!

Telling LIEs: The Art of Audience Activation, Inclusion & Participation in Live/Location-based immersive experience. By Dr Joanna Jayne Bucknall, University of Birmingham


In this lecture Joanna will introduce one of the fastest growing sectors of the creative cultural industries, live immersive experience, (LIE). LIE represents a broad range of styles, genres and approaches including immersive theatre, scare-attractions, puzzle and escape rooms through to augmented reality, immersive food, live cinema events and themed festivals such as Boom Town and the Real Peaky Blinders. Recent research conducted by No Proscenium on the nature and scope of the LIE sector in the United States suggests that there are in fact ‘ten pillars’ of live immersive experience, each of which Joanna will unpack during this lecture. The three central tropes that connect all live immersive experience are play, liminal space and of course the activation of the role of the audience. Joanna will explore these central tropes and explore where they sit within the broader experience economy. Over the course of the lecture, Joanna will draw on examples from her impact and engagement work with The Immersive Experience Network, her new Bloomsbury book, Conversations on Immersions and Interactivities in Performance and her recently completed ESRC Impact Acceleration Account project, ‘Working with creative and cultural businesses to increase understanding of immersive forms of live experience as a foundational step towards innovating commercialisation opportunities and professionalising the field as a discrete CCI Sector’. Joanna will also explicate the nature of the challenges that LIE presents to received research methodologies.


Dr Joanna Jayne Bucknall is a performance maker and scholar. She is a lecturer at the University of Birmingham in the department for Drama & Theatre Arts, where her specialist areas include immersions and interactivity in performance, embodied performance documentation, practice-as-research methodologies and gamification of performance. Joanna’s research and practice is concerned with exploring, making and understanding work that includes its audiences in fundamental ways. She is the producer and host of the podcast series, Talking about Immersive Theatre, (https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/talking-about-immersive-theatre-tait/id1110163156). She is the artistic director of Vertical Exchange Performance Collective (https://www.vexperformance.org/), making audience-centric work since 2005 and has been an Associate Artist at the New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth. She is a founding member of the Immersive Experience Network, (https://immersiveexperience.network/) and the author of the volume with Bloomsbury, Talking about Immersive Theatre: Conversations on Immersions and Interactivities in Performance. Joanna has led two interdisciplinary, cross-sector research projects as the Principal Investigator for an AHRC and an ESRC IAA funded projects. Joanna is the Immersions & Interactivity Research Network founder and lead at the University of Birmingham.

Claire (cmw95) and Mert (md795)