Research at Rose Bruford College reflects the institution’s identity: vocational, diverse, collaborative and inclusive. The perspective is international and multicultural, with the potential for intercultural performance in both discipline-specific and interdisciplinary contexts. Practice as research and scholarly activity resulting in a variety of outcomes is complemented by research that informs or is the consequence of pedagogy, or interfaces reciprocally with the theatre industry. The research agenda is linked also to PGCHE, MA and MPhil/PhD programmes.
The Centres provide an overarching framework for research and other related activities, namely knowledge enterprise, creative entrepreneurship, community outreach and continuing professional development; and their internal organisation enables both the development of research within a supportive structure, and the mechanism for collaboration within the institution and with external partners.
In 2007 the Stanislavski Centre was established, a unique initiative within the UK to create a focus for both scholarly and academic research, and practice/performance projects and events based on Stanislavski’s work; and launched officially in 2008 at the National Theatre with an exhibition of items from the College’s Stanislavski Collection. The late Professor Jean Benedetti, a former College Principal, was invited to be the Centre’s Patron, a fitting appointment given his reputation as the UK’s foremost Stanislavski scholar and the person who had brought the Collection to the institution. In 2010 a further five Centres were formed within which research is located, promoted and developed – in some cases these are linked to existing archives already donated to the College: The Rose Bruford Centre for Voice and Speech related to the Rose Bruford Archive which includes also a small collection of the work of John Masefield, who was a Friend of the College during Rose Bruford’s life-time. The Clive Barker Centre for Theatrical Innovation is allied to the Clive Barker Archive. The Centre is the home also for three research Hubs: the Multicultural and Intercultural Performance Hub, connected to the David Bolland Kathakali Collection; the New Writing Hub, dedicated to research issues surrounding new work, translation, and adaptation, holds a growing collection of commissioned plays, and the donated Noel Greig Archive; and the Technologies in Performance Hub, which is augmented by the Nick Chelton Archive.
In 2011 the Theatre for Young Audiences Centre was created largely as a result of the development of an MA in Theatre for Young Audiences, a fruitful association with The Unicorn Theatre in London, and a growing relationship with TYA-UK; followed most recently in 2012 by the Centre for Learning and Teaching in the Performing Arts, mainly as a consequence of the success of research in pedagogy over a number of years, which in turn attracted significant funding from the Higher Education Academy for specific projects.
Following the example of the Stanislavski Centre each Centre has a Head who, assisted by a small steering committee, develops research within specific disciplines, enables interdisciplinary projects with other Centres, and collaboration with outside organisations; and schedules lectures, research seminars, and allied events, some of which are open to partner institutions and/or the public. The Centres have Patrons, amongst them Professor Anatoly Smeliansky, Cicely Berry CBE, Yvonne Brewster OBE, Professor Eugenio Barba and David Wood OBE; and Advisory Boards of distinguished scholars and theatre practitioners.
As a small specialist higher education institution, the College is fortunate in its resources. The facilities – two theatres, two black-box studios, rehearsal and movement rooms, lighting laboratories, scenic workshop, design units and exhibition areas, costume production site and wardrobe, and digital arts suite – provide an extensive laboratory for practice as research.
Professor Simon Trussler, former Senior Research Fellow and now Professor Emeritus, was the co-founder with Clive Barker of New Theatre Quarterly and currently its co-editor with Professor Maria Shevtsova, Goldsmiths University of London. The College still enjoys a research orientated association with this celebrated journal strengthened by the appointments of Professor Nesta Jones, Director of Research, and Dr Aleks Sierz, Senior Research Fellow, as Contributing Editors.
In addition to the Stanislavski Studies e-journal, the website has three publication outlets, Performance Prompt and The Sidcup Papers for practice based items and scholarly articles, respectively; and Critical Byte for theatre criticism.
Research is promoted and organised by the Research Office and its personnel and disseminated in the institution through the Theatre Futures website, College Symposia, conferences, exhibitions, installations and performances, and outside in appropriate venues, forums, and publications.