Rose Whyman

Colleges, School and Institutes

Research interests

My current research is in the science of actor training and Russian theatre history. I am working on a book entitled Performance in Revolutionary Russia: the Art and Science of Biomechanics. I have received funding for research trips to Russia from the British Academy/Leverhulme Small Grants in the Performing Arts fund. I also work on the actresses of the Moscow Art Theatre studios, particularly Serafima Birman. I have a research collaboration in the Philosophy and Science of Performance.

My book, The Stanislavsky System of Acting; Legacy and Influence in Modern Performance’ was published by Cambridge University Press in 2008. It discusses the development and scientific basis of the actor training methods of Stanislavsky and compares the system with the methods of Meyerhold and Mikhail Chekhov. I am developing this work focussing on contemporary approaches to movement and voice in actor-training, particularly the Alexander Technique.

My book Anton Chekhov, a monograph for the Routledge Modern and Contemporary Dramatists series was published in 2010.

I read Russian fluently and make regular visits to Moscow and St Petersburg to undertake archival research. I also visit Russia and Poland to run arts projects.

My work has been translated into French, Russian, Turkish and Portuguese.

Research interests

  • Performer training
  • The Alexander Technique and Performance
  • Russian theatre history
  • Contemporary Russian theatre writing


Before joining the Department, I worked in community arts and experimental theatre in London and the West Midlands, most recently with Open Theatre Company and with Hocus Pocus Theatre Company. My training includes work with practitioners of Vs.I Meyerhold’s Biomechanics, Grotowski-based work and Augusto Boal’s techniques. I continue to work in various settings on the application of the Alexander Technique to the development of performance.

Willingness to take PhD students


PhD projects

I welcome enquires about research (including Practice as Research) into:
Performer training
Anton Chekhov
Russian and East European theatre
Contemporary Russian theatre writing

I am currently supervising 3 postgraduate projects:

The Impact of Theatre on the Neurodiverse Population - Vicki Taylor
‘To the subconscious by conscious means: towards a new pedagogy for the emotions in UK actor training’ David Jackson
Female physical comedy; challenges and ways forward –Maria Loizidou

Phds supervised to completion include:

Robert Messik ‘The Purim-shpil and contemporary theatre’ Research as practice, 2019
Lesley Mycroft ‘An exploration of teachers’ voice problems and their possible solution’, 2016
Ann Shapiro ‘East European theatres during the Cold War’. 2016