Professor Roberta Mock
Director of Doctoral College
- Jewish culture
- Experimental performance
- Gender and sexuality
- Arts research
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Roberta Mock is Professor of Performance Studies and research co-ordinator for the performing arts at the University of Plymouth, where she is also Director of the Doctoral College. In the latter role, she leads the University’s strategic planning for research degrees, ensuring a high-quality environment, a personalized and supportive experience, and innovative development opportunities for postgraduate researchers across all subject disciplines, including those in the University’s international partnership ‘nodes’. She was responsible for transforming the University’s Graduate School into a Doctoral College in 2017.
Prior to this, Roberta was the founding Director of the University’s Arts Institute, Associate Dean for Research and Associate Dean for Graduate Affairs in the Faculty of Arts. She was the founding co-Director of the AHRC-funded 3D3 Centre for Doctoral Training, which supported only practice-led research projects in digital art, design, culture and performance. Roberta loves working with research degree candidates; she has supervised over 20 PhDs and research masters to successful completion, many of which have been located at the disciplinary boundaries of performance.
Roberta completed her PhD at the University of Exeter, an MA (focusing on lighting design and ‘new circus’) at the University of Leeds, and a BA in French Drama by Independent Study at the Polytechnic of East London. She also has a PGCert in Teaching & Learning in Higher Education and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA). Roberta served for two terms on the AHRC's Peer Review College and also on the UKRI Future Leaders Peer Review College. She has acted as chair for two, and has been a member of an additional five, research grant panels for the AHRC.
Her research – which takes the form of both practice and writing – focuses on gender, sexuality and bodies in performance, with a specific interest in live art and stand up comedy by Jewish women. She is the author or editor of four books, and the current Chair of the Theatre & Performance Research Association (TaPRA).
Championing and celebrating embodied knowledge at all stages of a research career, Roberta has written and spoken about and led workshops across the UK, in Canada and in Europe on practice-research methodologies. Between 1996-2006, most of her practice-research and creative practice took place through Lusty Juventus, a theatre company she co-founded with Ruth Way and Christine Roberts. For Lusty Juventus, she directed and/or performed in five productions which were funded by Arts Council England and EU Culture Programmes. She now makes occasional solo performances that methodologically combine - and are also about - familial, aesthetic and cultural histories and genealogies, and that interrogate how one prepares for intersubjective exchanges in moments of performance.
Staff serving as external examiners
Research candidates: PhD, Edinburgh College of Art (2008); PhD, Central School of Speech and Drama (2011); PhD, University of Lancaster (2012); PhD, University of Westminster (2014); PhD, University of Wolverhampton (2015); PhD (2016) and MPhil (2007), University of Glasgow; PhD, University of Warwick (2017); PhD, University of Roehampton (2017); PhD, University of Portsmouth (2017); PhD, Royal Holloway University of London (2017); MA by Research, Canterbury Christ Church University (2018); PhD, University of Leeds (2018); PhD, Victoria University, Australia (2018); PhD, University of Exeter (2019); PhD, De Montfort University (2019).
Roberta's research focuses on the following:
- Cultural identities in performance, with a specific interest in performances by Jewish women;
- Gender, sexuality and bodies in performance;
- Radical and avant-garde performance practice;
- Practice-based research focusing on feminist performance practices; the role of the director in the collaborative construction of visual & interdisciplinary theatre; solo performance including stand-up; and live art.
For further details, please see the Biography and Publications sections of this page.
Research degrees awarded to supervised students
14 PhDs, 5 MPhils and 3 ResMs, including as Director of Studies: 'Meeting the Archive in an Interdisciplinary Arts Practice' (Dr Steven Paige, 2019); 'FEMEN and the performance of topless protest' (Leah Dungay, 2018); 'Exploring Privilege through the Creation and Live/Digital Performance of an Alter Ego' (Gemma Chatwin, 2018); 'Performing LGBT Pride in Plymouth, 1950-2012' (Dr Alan Butler, 2016); 'Challenging Fragmentation: Overcoming the Subject-Object Divide through the Integration of Art-making and Material Culture Studies' (Dr Andrew Cope, 2014); 'Toward a Female Clown Practice: Myth, Archetype & Transgression' (Dr Maggie Irving, 2013); 'Mythogeographic Performance and Performance Interventions in Spaces of Heritage-Tourism' (Dr Phil Smith, 2013); 'Memory & Site Responsive Installation Art' (James Barber, 2011); 'The Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Needs of Mid-Career Artists in South West England' (Dr Karen Smith, 2010); 'Information Art' (David Topping, 2010); 'Nostalgia and Contemporary Chanson Cabaret in Berlin' (Julia Harris, 2008); 'Articulations of Equity: Practice, Complexity and Power in Facilitated Art Projects' (Dr Gill Melling, 2006); ‘Creating Emotionally Aware Performance Spaces’ (Dr Richard Povall, 2003).
Creative practice & artistic projects
* Please also see 'Performances' in Publications section of this page.
Heaven is a Place (digital video). Producer and screenplay of short dance film for Sundog Media with Kayla Parker (dir.) and Ruth Way (choreographer). Funded by EU Culture programme as part of Heaven on Earth? project, 2014.
(as co-editor with Mary Paterson) Joshua Sofaer: Performance / Objects / Participation. Live Art Development Agency & Intellect Books, 2020.
(as editor) Walking, Writing and Performance: Autobiographical Texts by Deirdre Heddon, Carl Lavery & Phil Smith. Intellect, 2009.
(as co-editor with Colin Counsell) Performance, Embodiment & Cultural Memory. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009.
Jewish Women on Stage, Film, and Television. Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.
(as editor) Performing Processes: Creating Live Performance. Intellect, 2000.
Key publications are highlightedJournals
‘Ageing, Temporality and Performance: Joan Rivers’ Body of Work,’ Performance Research, 24(3), 144-152; 2019.
‘“This ain’t no love-in, this ain’t no happenin”: Misfits, Detroit hardcore and the performance of zombie scenarios,’ Studies in Theatre & Performance, 34(3), 201-210; 2014.
‘Stand-up Comedy and the Legacy of the Mature Vagina,’ Women and Performance, 22(1), 9-28; 2012.
‘Really Jewish? Joan Rivers Live at the Apollo,’ Comedy Studies, 2(2), 101-111; 2011.
With Erica Stevens Abbitt, Johanna Frank & Geraldine (Gerry) Harris. 'Aging Provocateurs and Spect(er)acular Pub(l)ic Performances,' Performance Research, Vol 16, No 2, 50-56; 2011.
‘Anywhere (No, Devon),’ Western European Stages, 19(1), 15-20; 2007.
With Ruth Way & Christine Roberts. ‘The M(other) Project,’ Body Space & Technology, Vol 6; 2006.
'Globalisation's Marginalia: Anglo-Canadian Identity and the Plays of Brad Fraser'; Contemporary Theatre Review, 16(01), 86-96; 2006.
With Ruth Way. 'Pedagogies of Theatre (Arts) & Performance (Studies),’ Studies in Theatre & Performance, 25(3), 201-213; 2005.
With Franc Chamberlain, Simon Ellis, Nicholas Till & John C Whelan. ‘Reflections on practice as research following the PARIP conference 2003,’ Studies in Theatre & Performance, 24(2), 57-70; 2004.
‘HeteroQueer Ladies: Some Performative Transactions Between Gay Men & Heterosexual Women,’ Feminist Review, 75, 21-37; 2003.
‘Without You I’m Nothing: Sandra Bernhard’s Self-Referential Postmodernism,’ Women’s Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Vol 30, 543-562; 2001.
With Christine Roberts. ‘Shading the Crime: Acting Hopelessness as an Act of Hope,’ Studies in Theatre Production, no 19, 22-35; June 1999.
'Female Jewish Comedians: Grotesque Mimesis and Transgressing Stereotypes,’ New Theatre Quarterly; vol XV (2); NTQ 58, 99-108; 1999.
'Ionesco in Transylvania,’ Studies in Theatre Production, no 8, 76-79; Dec 1993.
‘"Shut Your Hole, Girlie. Mine’s Making Money, Doll": Creative Practice-Research & the Problem of Professionalism' in Agnieszka Piotrowska (ed.), Creative Practice Research in the Age of Neoliberal Hopelessness. Edinburgh University Press, 2020.
'Marisa Carnesky, Showwoman’ in Maria Chatzichristodoulou (ed.), Live Art in the UK: Contemporary Performances of Precarity. Methuen Drama, 2020.
‘Experiencing Michael Mayhew’s Away in a Manger: spectatorial immersion in durational performance’ in James Frieze (ed.), Framing Immersive Theatre & Performance. Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.
With Kayla Parker & Ruth Way. ‘Heaven is a Place: The politics and poetics of LGBT location in a community dance film’ in Sarita Malik, Caroline Chapain & Roberta Comunian (eds), Community Filmmaking: Diversity, Practice and Places. Routledge, 2017.
‘When the Future Was Now: Archaos within a theatre tradition’ in Peta Tait and Katie Lavers (eds), The Routledge Circus Studies Reader. Routledge, 2016.
‘It Turns Out: Jess Dobkin’s Puppet Body’ in Johanna Householder and Tanya Mars (eds), Caught in the Act: Performance art by Canadian women. YYZ Press, 2016.
'Lynn Hershman and the Creation of Multiple Robertas' in Susan Broadhurst & Josephine Machon (eds.) Identity, Performance and Technology: Practices of Empowerment, Embodiment and Technicity. Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.
With Jennifer Parker-Starbuck. ‘Researching the Body in/as Performance’ in Helen Nicholson & Baz Kershaw (eds.) Research Methods in Theatre Studies. Edinburgh University Press, 2011.
‘Visions of Xs: Experiencing La Fura dels Baus's XXX and Ron Athey’s Solar Anus’ in Karoline Gritzner (ed.) Eroticism and Death in Theatre and Performance. University of Hertfordshire Press, 2010.
‘Tohu-bohu: Rachel Rosenthal’s Performances of Diasporic Cultural Memory’ in Colin Counsell & Roberta Mock (eds.) Performance, Embodiment and Cultural Memory. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009.
‘Deviant Textualities: Formlessness in La Fura dels Baus's XXX’ in Susan Broadhurst & Josephine Machon (eds.) Sensualities/Textualities & Technologies: Writings of the Body in 21st Century Performance. Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.
‘Memories, Hauntings and Exorcisms in Brad Fraser’s Snake in Fridge’ in Marc Maufort & Caroline De Wagter (eds.) Signatures of the Past: Cultural Memory in Contemporary Anglophone North American Drama. P.I.E. Peter Lang, 2008.
‘Vaginal Voyages: Performances of Sexuality and the Female Jewish Body’ in Nathan Abrams (ed.) Jews and Sex. Five Leaves Press, 2008.
‘Globalization's Marginalia: Anglo-Canadian Identity and the Plays of Brad Fraser’ in Anne Nothof (ed.) Theatre in Alberta. Playwrights Canada Press, 2008. This is an extended version of the article that previously appeared in CTR (2006), listed above.
‘HeteroQueer Ladies: Some Performative Transactions Between Gay Men & Heterosexual Women’ in Birgit Haas (ed.) Der postfeministische Diskurs. Königshausen & Neumann, 2006. This chapter was previously published in Feminist Review (2003), listed above.
With Christine Roberts. ‘Shading the Crime: Acting Hopelessness as an Act of Hope’ in Christine Roberts, Tormented Minds: Three Plays. Intellect, 2003. This chapter was previously published in Studies in Theatre Production (1999), listed above.
A Trip Around the World is Not a Cruise (stand-up comedy performance, 2016). Performer and creator, Duke of Cornwall Hotel, Plymouth.
Heaven is a Place (digital video, 2014). Producer and screenplay of short dance film for Sundog Media with Kayla Parker (dir.) and Ruth Way (choreographer). Funded by EU Culture programme as part of Heaven on Earth? project. Screenings: Plymouth and Warwick Arts Centres, on the Big Screen during Plymouth Pride 2014, as an Official Selection of the Cornwall Film Festival 2014, and within the International Competition of Kino der Kunst 2015 (Munich and Nürnberg, Germany) and the Dances with Camera competition at the Short Waves Festival 2016 (Poznań, Poland), in addition to touring with the original EU-funded programme, ‘Heaven on Earth?’, to Piraeus (Greece), Zaragoza (Spain) and Istanbul in 2014.
Down/Town (solo performance, 2011). Performer and creator, University of Plymouth.
Tree (digital video, 2007). Performer & co-creator. Dir. Siobhan McKeown. Text by Dee Heddon. First screened: TaPRA conference, University of Birmingham, September 2007.
M(other)3 (digital video). Performer and co-creator with Ruth Way and Christine Roberts. Film dir. Russell Frampton. Screening: INPORT - International Video-Performance Art Festival, Tallinn, Estonia, 2005. Excerpt/abstract also included in the following book (with DVD): L. Allegue Fuschini, S. Jones, B. Kershaw, and A. Piccini (eds.) Practice-as-research: In Performance and Screen. Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.
M(other)2: Research as Practice. A performative presentation with Christine Roberts and Ruth Way. PARIP conference, Bretton Hall, 2005. A previous version was presented to the Performance as Research Working Party, IFTR conference, St. Petersburg, Russia, 2004.
Let's Talk Cadavers (digital video). Performer and co-creator. Film dir. Siobhan McKeown. Screened: The Phoenix, Exeter (with live performance), 2004; The 5 Second Theatre, Hull, 2004; The Lamp, Hull, 2005; The Packhorse, Leeds, 2005.
M(other)1. Performer and co-creator for Lusty Juventus theatre company; performed in Athens, Greece at the Argo Theatre as part of Transformation of Movements Programme, 2002.
The Maternal Cloister by Christine Roberts. Performer in rehearsed reading for Lusty Juventus theatre company, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2000.
Us by Karen Malpede. Director of production for Lusty Juventus theatre company; European premiere, Exeter Phoenix, 1999.
Shading the Crime. Co-director of production for Lusty Juventus theatre company; 16 performances in 4 Devon & London venues, 1998. Funded by Arts Council England.
The Duchess. Writer/director of production for radio; broadcast on Resonance FM, 4 July 1998 as part of South Bank Festival; Commissioned by London Musicians Collective. Funded by Arts Council England.
Ceremonial Kisses by Christine Roberts. Co-director of production for Lusty Juventus theatre company; 2 tours 1996-1997; approximately 30 performances at 6 venues throughout UK. Funded by Barclay’s Bank.
'Preface: Being T/here' in Luisa Greenfield, Myna Trustram & Eduardo Abrantes (eds), Artistic Research: Being There. Explorations into the Local. NSU Press, 2018.
'Walking, Writing & Performance: Phil Smith's Parallel Cities' in Changing Metropolis III. Kobenhavns Internationale Teater, 2016.
'Live Lab Symposium (January 2010)' in Lois Keidan and Aaron Wright (eds), The Live Art Almanac: Volume 3. Oberon Books, 2013.
‘Imagining the Hams of Tomorrow’ in Paula Orrell (ed.), Marina Abramović and the Future of Performance Art. Prestel, 2010.
‘Oreet Ashery's Site-Specific Corporeal Turns’ in Oreet Ashery, Dancing with Men. Live Art Development Agency, 2009.
5 encyclopedia essays on Hanoverian actors: ‘Dennis Delane’; 'John Evans'; ‘Elizabeth Furnival’; ‘John Moody’; ‘John Lennergan Owens’ in New Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2004.
Series Editor: Playtext, a list of plays & theatre writing published by Intellect Books, 2002-2013.
Co-editor: Zombies & Performance Special Issue of Studies in Theatre & Performance (Vol 34, Issue 3, 2014).
Reports & invited lectures
Keynotes: Creative Practice Research in the Age of Neoliberal Hopelessness conference, University of Bedfordshire (2018); Multimodality in the Arts: interdisciplinary practices and hybridforms, Canterbury Christ Church University (2018); Women in the Work of Woody Allen Conference, York St John University (2018); Queering Ritual Symposium, York St John University (2017); Nordic Summer University, Lithuania (2015); Brewing Performance, Leeds Beckett University/The Tetley (2015); The Body in 20th and 21st Century Performance Conference, De Montfort University (2013); Metropolis Laboratory, Copenhagen (2012); Cultural Memory Symposium organized by the Centre for Critical Cultural Research (University of Plymouth, 2008).
Invited Speaker: ‘Theatre/Dance/Performance Studies is Too White,’ London Theatre Seminar (2019); ‘Bodies of Performance’, Hypatia Trust, Penzance (2018); 'Opportunities and challenges in the Development of Doctoral Education in the Arts & Humanities' conference, organized by UKCGE, Glasgow (2016); Distinguished Speaker in the Humanities, University of Windsor, Canada (2015); 'Mirror Mirror: Representations and Reflections on Age & Ageing' Conference, London College of Fashion (2013); Barbican Theatre Plymouth (2013); 'I Confess...' Symposium, University of Glasgow (2009); Windsor Jewish Community Centre, Canada (2007 and 2008); University of Wolverhampton (2007); Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London (2005); Theatrical Aesthetics of Eroticism and Death Symposium, University of Wales Aberystwyth (2004); ‘Cultivating Cultural Co-operation’ conference, organized by EUCLID, London (2003); ‘Alternative Methods on Stage and Use of Multimedia’ conference, Athens, Greece (2002); West Yorkshire Playhouse (1993).
Other academic activities
Data Ache: Digital Research in the Humanities & Arts (DRHA) annual conference, 10-13 September 2017 at the University of Plymouth. Co-organised with James Daybell, Sana Murrani and Andrew Prior.
‘The Jean Genie: Why Jean Genet Still Matters. In Plymouth (And Lots of Other Places). Right Now’ symposium, 29 June 2014 at Plymouth Arts Centre.
Zombies: Walking, Eating & Performance symposium. 13 April 2013 at Plymouth University. Co-organized with Phil Smith, Lee Miller and Kayla Parker.
International Research Forum on Guided Tours. 7-9 April 2011 at the University of Plymouth. Co-organized with Petra Adolfsson (GRI, University of Gothenburg), Anette Hallin (The Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm), Mikael Jonasson (Halmstad University) and Phil Smith (University of Plymouth).
Live Laboratory Symposium. 22-24 January 2010 at Royal William Yard (Plymouth), in collaboration with Plymouth Arts Centre and the Marina Abramovic Institute for the Preservation of Performance Art. Co-organized with Lee Miller and Paula Orrell.
Theatre & Performance Research Association (TaPRA) annual conference. 7-9 September 2009 at the University of Plymouth. Co-organized with Lee Miller & Victor Ramirez Ladron de Guevara.
The Hidden City Symposium: Mythogeography, Writing & Site Specific Performance. 4 October 2008 at the University of Plymouth. Co-organized with Phil Smith and Chris Hall.
Academia.edu page (not currently maintained, although many talks and papers available for download)
Blogs and news via the Arts Institute, University of Plymouth
Performance. Experience. Presence (P.E.P) Research Group at the University of Plymouth
Humanities Commons page (requires updating and maintenance although some texts are available for download)