Ben Macpherson

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I am willing and interested in supervising doctoral students in musical theatre, voice studies or interdisciplinary theatre practice. In particular, I would welcome students interested in the following broad areas: - British musical theatre - Interdisciplinary voice studies - Musical theatre history and historiography

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Personal profile


I am a Senior Lecturer in the School of Art, Design and Performance, and Course Leader for Musical Theatre.

My interests include approaches to voice in performance, the British musical, embodiment and reception theory, alternative music(al) theatre practices (composed theatre, actor-musicianship), and new methods for exploring musical theatre dramaturgy.

From 2007–2013, I worked as a freelance lecturer at various institutions, including the University of Portsmouth, the University of Winchester and the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, and acted as creative consultant for Phoenix Theatre Company in Toronto, Canada. At Portsmouth, I have also acted as interim Section Lead for Performance, 2017-2019.

In 2012 I co-founded the Centre for Interdisciplinary Voice Studies (with Konstantinos Thomaidis and Amanda Smallbone), leading to the Journal of Interdisciplinary Voice Studies (founding co-editor, Intellect, since 2015) and the Routledge Voice Studies book series, which began with the edited collection Voice Studies: Critical Approaches to Process, Performance and Experience, co-edited with Konstantinos Thomaidis (2015).

In 2013 I became part of the steering group for the newly-established British Musical Theatre Research Institute. As a result of my association with this group of scholars, I recently published my first monograph, Cultural Identity in British Musical Theatre, 1890-1939: Knowing One's Place (Palgrave, 2018).

As a practitioner, my current project Fools and Idols (under the title All That’s Left), was workshopped in May 2014 as a commission by the New Theatre Royal Portsmouth, as part of the University’s drama festival UniFest2. Previous work includes Love and Kisses from Omaha (2016, Minghella Studio New Theatre Royal; Music and Lyrics), and commissions include writing for a flash-mob at St. Pancras Station (London, 2011) and compositions for Wet Picnic Theatre Company’s installation Depth Charge (Portsmouth, 2012).

My latest project constructs a cultural historiography of voice in musical theatre, and examines the Original Cast Recording using the concept of media archaeology to consider how popular culture helps us to listen to ourselves and others.

Research Interests

  • Approaches to voice in performance (including the non-singer actor in musical theatre)
  • British musical theatre, 1900 - Present
  • Embodiment, cognition and somatic theory
  • Actor-musicianship: practice and theory
  • The works of Adam Guettel from 1994 – 2006
  • Site-specific theatre practices
  • Voice, space, sound, and silence
  • Visual and schematic approaches to analysing theatre performance

Teaching Responsibilities

Level 4:

  • Voice and the Actor
  • Devised Project
  • Performance, Criticism and Analysis

Level 5:

  • Musical Theatre Laboratory
  • A Voice and So Much More (Optional module)

Level 6:

  • Alternative Theatres
  • Major Academic Project
  • Musical Theatre: Special Topic

Level 7:

  • Supervisor for Masters by Research projects (various)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Devlopment Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water


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