Research Projects

Staff at the Department of Theatre and Performance are involved in a range of research activities.

  • Rehearsal Without A Director: Rethinking Theatre History
  • Enacting Reconciliation: Negotiating Meaning in Youth Justice Conferencing

Rehearsal Without A Director: Rethinking Theatre History

Associate Professor Tim Fitzpatrick, Dr Laura Ginters, Dr John Golder (UNSW), Professor Tiffany Stern (Oxford)

An ARC Discover Grant-funded project over three years (2010-2012)

Rehearsal processes in European theatre before the advent of the director in the nineteenth century have not been systematically studied. Four multi-lingual historians will analyse archival material from England, Italy, France and Germany – some newly discovered, some known but neglected – for its relevance to rehearsal practice. This contrastive analysis of historical rehearsal practice will constitute a significant rethinking of how and why European performance developed as it did prior to the figure of the independent director. What did rehearsal consist of, how did it develop in relation to performance, and how did collaborative processes evolve to create a space for the director? This process will enrich our understanding of the European tradition from which Australian theatre is descended: the key cultural role of theatre means that understanding the processes by which it is generated provides insights into the forces behind the construction of national identity. This research has broader repercussions: theatrical rehearsal, where group creativity is the driving force, is an exemplar of a broad range of group social processes. Our work will transform the field of rehearsal studies by developing its historical dimension, and will advance the international reputation of Australian researchers at the forefront of the field.

Enacting Reconciliation: Negotiating Meaning in Youth Justice Conferencing

Dr Paul Dwyer with Professor Jim Martin and Ms Michelle Zappavigna

An ARC Discovery Grant-funded project over four years (2008-2011)

'Restorative justice' initiatives like youth justice conferencing are aimed at strengthening the social fabric by making sure the voices of victims are heard while giving offenders a genuine opportunity to 'set things right' and get back on track with their lives. More detailed research into the way participants use language and other communicative modes will help the convenors of conferences, and the trainers of convenors, to understand better the potential of this social healing process. This project will also add to Australia's reputation as a world leader in the field of restorative justice.