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Postgraduate PhD

Drama by Practice as Research

At Kent we have always been at the forefront of promoting and developing practice-based research. In addition to all the benefits of being a PhD student, you will have access to our excellent facilities, including two theatres, three studio spaces, a workshop and a technical studio, and will be supported by a technical team with extensive professional experience.

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Overview

You can undertake Practice as Research (PaR) in a variety of forms and in diverse subjects. Throughout you will be fully supported by a team of specialist supervisors.

Drama at Kent was at the forefront of pioneering Practice as Research and continues to lead the field. Through a PaR PhD you explore and interrogate your research by undertaking practice and producing a performative output, as well as by producing a written dissertation of up to 40,000 words which is examined through a viva. The PhD by PaR provides opportunities to develop and reflect upon your performative practice at the highest academic level and with the benefit of excellent professional facilities and research resources. We welcome enquiries on any topic and form of practice.

During your time at Kent you will have a minimum of two supervisors who will support and guide you through your academic and professional development. You will meet regularly with your supervisor(s) who will not only guide your research but will also help you to identify areas where you may require further training or support. A series of reviews will take place throughout your studies in order to ensure that your research stays on track and that you have all the necessary support and resources required to successfully complete it.

Current PhDs reflect our diversity, with topics including actor training, autism, East Asian comedy, community theatre, Absurdism, live art, Shakespeare, translation and adaptation, Greek theatre, Grotowski, stand-up, eighteenth-century acting, neurodivergent performance, and accessibility. Recent and ongoing Practice as Research projects include: ‘Selfless Language: Acting Coordination Method Leading to Act of Speech’, ‘Minna Canth from Finnish to English: Feminist Translation of Nineteenth Century Social Realist Drama’, ‘Translating 18th Century Actresses Acting Techniques Into a Modern Performance Context’, and ‘The Burning Method: A Performance-Based Analysis of Jerzy Grotowski’s Book Towards a Poor Theatre’.

You may be eligible to apply for a fully-funded PhD scholarship. Scholarship opportunities may include the Vice Chancellor’s Research Scholarship (GTA) and the Consortium of the Humanities and the Arts South-East England (CHASE) collaborative doctoral award. For further information and eligibility requirements, please see our Scholarship website.

About the Department of Drama and Theatre

Drama at Kent is a vibrant and supportive international community of academics, practitioners, and students, connected through our shared passion for theatre and performance. Our staff are able to support a wide range of research covering histories, practices and philosophies of theatre and performance, whilst at the same time fostering an inclusive and welcoming culture. 

We work closely with the two major regional theatres on our doorstep: the Gulbenkian and the Marlowe theatres. We also have relationships with companies including the Globe, the Royal Shakespeare Company, and Bobby Baker, as well as working with a range of public sector organisations including local schools, NHS services, specialist schools, and prisons. Many of our staff are theatre-makers and practitioners. Company Gabrielle Moletta, Moving Memory, The Chekhov Collective, the bi-annual Autism Arts Festival and the monthly Funny Rabbit Comedy club are just a few examples of the creative practice associated with Drama at Kent. 

Drama at Kent students also benefit from our fantastic location. Based in the cultural city of Canterbury, we are less than one hour from London by train and forty minutes from the Eurotunnel making us close to both London and Europe.  This gives our students access to an international diversity of theatrical culture, as well as to national archives such as the British Library and V&A Theatre Collection. Our location and excellent transport links also enable us to provide excellent support to students who wish to study and live further afield.

Your future

Drama PhD students come from a range of backgrounds. Some have followed the academic path through from undergraduate studies, whilst others come to us after working in the Arts for a number of years, and others are seeking a career-change. We also have a number of PhD students who join us in retirement. Whatever your background and experience, we treat each PhD student as an individual and tailor your support to reflect the reasons for doing a PhD and what you want to get out of it. Many of our PhD students have gone on to have successful careers as academics both in the UK and internationally. Others have used their PhDs to develop their artistic practice in new directions, whilst many have also gone on to work in the Arts, Culture and Heritage sector: gaining professional positions in museums, archives, the media, and theatre. We are proud that Drama at Kent has a reputation in the theatre industry for producing innovative, creative and passionate graduates. 

Career support
Whether you want to get ahead in your current career, change lanes, or kickstart a new one – we are here to help you realise your ambition.

Fees and funding

The 2024/25 annual tuition fees for this course are:

  • UK
  • International
  • UK
  • International

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact information@kent.ac.uk.

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

General additional costs

Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent. 

Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both:

Scholarships

We have a range of subject-specific awards and scholarships for academic, sporting and musical achievement.

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Next steps

Ready to apply?

Learn more about the application process or begin your application by clicking on a link below.

You will be able to choose your preferred year of entry once you have started your application. You can also save and return to your application at any time.

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Join our community

Stay connected with our postgraduate community.

Kent focus

Supporting your success

We are here to support your postgraduate journey.

Top 50

Kent ranked top 50 in The Complete University Guide 2024.

Fees and funding

Support for funding so you can focus on your studies.

Research excellence

Kent has risen 11 places in THE’s REF 2021 ranking, confirming us as a leading research university.

Accommodation

It’s easy to study on or off campus at Kent – discover what is right for you.