PhD Studentship – Pasts, Presents and Futures of Digitally-Mediated Theatre


The Traverse is partnering with the University of Edinburgh to offer a new PhD Studentship investigating Pasts, Presents and Futures of Digitally-Mediated Theatre.

In partnership with the Arts, Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities (SGSAH) this will be a paid 3.5 year full-time/7year part-time funded Collaborative Doctoral Award examining the recent past, present and futures of digitally-mediated performances.

The Project

The pandemic's closure of theatre venues prompted extensive exploration of digitally-mediated theatre, connecting performances with remote audiences. This shift revitalized theatre through recorded and on-demand content on digital platforms. Key questions emerge regarding the impact of staging and recording mediums on a production's meaning and accessibility, the integration of live and recorded theatre experiences, implications for performing arts professionals, and the role of digitally-mediated theatre in contemporary, sustainable production models amidst technological convergence across entertainment industries.

In partnership with the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh, this research will examine the recent past, present and futures of digitally-mediated performances by: 1) pursuing in-depth case studies of recent digitally-mediated performances and their value, for audiences and theatre-makers; 2) creatively engaging theatre-makers across Scotland in reflection of current and potential future applications of digitally-mediated performances 3) working alongside, studying and contributing to the delivery of an innovative digitally-mediated programme at the Traverse Theatre.

Key themes and potential areas of further interest for the studentship include:

  • Understanding how digital assets and data are produced and distributed as part of theatre production
  • Examining the economic sustainability of digitally-mediated theatre
  • Exploring how digitally-mediated theatre offers novel forms of audience experience and value co-creation, between artists, venues and audiences
  • Considering the design of new services and interactions in digitally-mediated theatre
  • Reflecting on the role of data produced through digital media as both an artistic resource and a resource to support programming, and business development.

The successful applicant will be expected to tailor these themes, and the methodology to their research questions and skillset.

The project has been awarded funding by the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities (SGSAH). The PhD will be based in the School of Design at Edinburgh College of Art in the University of Edinburgh. The student will be supervised by Dr. Chris Elsden & Prof. Melissa Terras in the Institute of Design Informatics, School of Design, in addition to supervision from Ellen Gledhill, Head of Business Development at the Traverse Theatre. (UK).

As an independent theatre, with a history of innovation and cutting-edge production techniques, the Traverse are uniquely placed to support this studentship. The student will have the opportunity to be based at the Traverse Theatre, and be directly connected to a theatre production for a proportion of the studentship.

To Apply

For more information, and to apply for the PhD Design (Full-Time) through the University of Edinburgh’s online postgraduate application system by no later than: 17 April 2024