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Dr Philip Watkinson

Lecturer in Theatre

Philip Watkinson

Research overview

My research examines the cultural politics of contemporary European performance. I am particularly interested in theatre’s relation to neoliberalism and political economy, as well as how issues of affect and spectatorship shape artists and playwrights’ engagement with our present socio-historical moment. Further interests include postdramatic theatre, performance philosophy, and feminist performance.

Current Research

I am currently working on a project entitled Performance and the Politics of Abstraction, which examines abstraction as a mode of experience and form of critical practice that underpins ideological and social relations in neoliberal capitalist contexts. The first stage of this project explored the act of abstracting as an affective process that manifests formally in British new writing (specifically the plays of debbie tucker green and Anders Lustgarten). This resulted in a book chapter, 'Affect and the Politics of Abstraction in British New Writing', that was published in the edited collection Affects in 21st-Century British Theatre: Exploring Feeling on Page and Stage (Palgrave Macmillan, May 2021). I am currently preparing the second stage of the project, a study of abstraction, political economy, and form in Elfriede Jelinek’s Rein Gold.


PhD in Drama, ‘Making Space for Affect: Affective Materialism and Contemporary Performance’, 2017, Queen Mary University of London. Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)

MA, European Theatre, 2012, University of Kent

BA (Hons), Performing Arts, 2011, University of Winchester

Additional Information


Journal Articles

‘Fracturing Patriarchal Objectivity through Electro-Pop: Purity Ring and the Vicissitudes of Sight’, Performance Research, 26:1 (2022).

‘Double Take: Postdramatic Theatre’, Theatre Research International, 45:1 (2020), 86-89.

‘Staging Money: Theatre and Immateriality following the 2008 Financial Crisis’, Theatre Journal, 70:2 (2018), 195-208.

‘On Appearance, or what the Loch Ness Monster can teach us about contemporary performance’, Performance Research, 23:4-5 (2018), 251-255.

‘On Dialectics’, Performance Research, 21:3 (2016), 1-5. Co-authored with Eleanor Massie.

Book Chapters

‘Affect and the Politics of Abstraction in British New Writing’, in Affects in 21st-Century British Theatre: Exploring Feeling on Page and Stage, ed. by Cristina Delgado-García, Mireia Aragay and Martin Middeke (Basingstoke/New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021), 171-190.

‘Time: Unsettling the Capitalist Present’, in Postdramatic Theatre and Form, ed. by Michael Shane Boyle, Matthew Cornish and Brandon Woolf (London: Bloomsbury, 2019), 66-80.

Edited Journal Issues

‘On Dialectics’, Performance Research, 21:3 (2016). Co-edited with Eleanor Massie.

Book Reviews

Fiery Temporalities in Theatre and Performance: The Initiation of History by Maurya Wickstrom, Theatre Survey, 61:1 (2020), 148-150. 

Observing Theatre: Spirituality and Subjectivity in the Performing Arts by Daniel Meyer-Dinkgräfe, Theatre Research International, 40:2 (2015), 218-219. 

Postdramatic Theatre and the Political: International Perspectives on Contemporary Performance eds. Karen Jürs-Munby, Jerome Carroll and Steve Giles, Contemporary Theatre Review, 25:1 (2015), 157-158.

Other Writing

“There are so many things in academic life that are right, correct, but not interesting”: Notes from the Seminar Room with Hans-Thies Lehmann’, ecibs: Communications of the International Brecht Society, (2022), https://e-cibs.org/hans-thies-lehmann-1944-2022/#watkinson

‘Take A Chance’, Total Theatre Magazine, 23-34 (2011), Feature Article, http://totaltheatre.org.uk/archive/features/take-chance

Current Teaching

During the academic year 23/34 I am teaching on:

LICA496 Gender, Sexuality and Contemporary Performance (Module Convenor)

LICA490 Performance for Society, Politics and the Environment (Seminar/Workshop Leader)

LICA491 Research Methods in Theatre and Performance (Seminar/Workshop Leader)

LICA492 Major Research Project: Theatre and Performance (MA Dissertation Supervisior)

LICA190 Skills and Concepts in Drama, Theatre and Performance (Seminar/Workshop Leader)

LICA102F Fundamentals of Drama Part 2: Social and Political Engagement (Seminar/Workshop Leader)

LICA200 Critical Reflections in Creative Arts (Seminar/Workshop Leader)

LICA102E Fundamentals of Drama Part 1: Histories and Forms (Seminar/Workshop Leader)

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