Performance and archaeology

Professor Mike Pearson

Professor Mike Pearson

19 January 2012

Acclaimed theatrical producer Mike Pearson, Professor of Performance Studies at Aberystwyth University has been awarded a Major Research Fellowship by the Leverhulme Trust.

Professor Pearson is a member of the University’s Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies and has been awarded £87,208 over two years for a project entitled “Marking Time: Performance, Archaeology and the City”.

A former co-director of Brith Gof Theatre Company, Professor Pearson directed the National Theatre Wales’s critically acclaimed production of Aeschylus’s The Persians which was staged at the military training village at Mynydd Epynt in the Brecon Beacons in August 2010.
The Leverhulme funding will support a series of research activities and public engagements including the writing of a monograph and journal articles as well as organising guided tours, demonstrations, workshops and both restaged and new performances that trace the origins and development of alternative practices of theatre-making from the 1960s to the present in one particular city – Cardiff.

It will enable Professor Pearson to draw upon his twin passions – performance and archaeology – to recover and value performances and procedures of theatre-making from the 1960s and 1970s and to locate them within wider cultural, political and architectural contexts; as well as reflecting on themes of urban change and personal aging.

His intention is to reveal the potential of combinations of interdisciplinary enquiry and biographical experience to inform and enhance academic and public appreciation of places and performances.

Professor Aled Jones, Pro Vice-Chancellor at Aberystwyth University said: “The University is delighted by Professor Pearson's success in gaining this highly prestigious award. It confirms his standing as Wales's most perceptive analyst of performance culture, as well as being its most distinguished practitioner. His students and colleagues will look forward with great pleasure to seeing the results of this major project.”

Professor Pearson is currently working on a new production of Coriolanus for National Theatre Wales as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 2012 World Shakespeare Festival. The Festival forms part of the London 2012 Festival which is at the heart of cultural celebrations surrounding the London Olympic Games.

The Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies
With an established international profile across its constituent disciplines, the Department foregrounds research and study of regional, national and international significance in theatre, film, performance and media within a globalised cultural environment. According to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008) 60% of the research conducted in the Department of is ‘world-leading’ (4*) or meets the standards of ‘international excellence’ (3*). The Department is ranked 3rd in the UK according to Research Fortnight’s ‘Power’ league.

The Leverhulme Trust
The Leverhulme Trust was established in 1925 under the Will of the first Viscount Leverhulme. It is one of the largest all-subject providers of research funding in the UK, distributing funds of some £60 million every year. For further information about the schemes that the Leverhulme Trust fund visit their website at