Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Theatre, drama and performance, socially engaged arts, arts education, community arts, participatory and engagement arts.

  • 12

Personal profile

Research interests

My investigations of applied theatre and performance provide understanding and development of socially engaged practice through academic research with theatre companies and artists who operate in community, engaged, participatory practices. My outline of responsivity was created to articulate the expertise of applied practitioners, providing a vocabulary for their specialist blend of artistic, social and relational skills and qualities. I designed reflective dialogue research methods for collaborative, participatory analysis which share the values and objectives of the work. Concerns with co-creative collaborative practices are addressed with an investigation of applied theatre methods. Current research examines the nature and role of women in community theatres. My research aims to impact on practitioner development as well as applied theatre pedagogies. I co-convene a forum for participatory artist training.

I have a background in making theatre that responds to political issues and social contexts, as an actor and workshop leader in community and youth theatre and Theatre in Education. I have continued to work with community groups in creative collaborations and performances, including schools and care homes, Hancock Museum, York City Archive and Mystery Plays, and Equal Arts Creative Friends intergenerational exchange. A project with Graeae Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Jenny Sealey explored UK/Russian co-production with D/deafblind actors In Touch at National Theatre's Dorfman venue.




Dr Kay Hepplewhite has been a Senior Lecturer at Northumbria University since 2013 and is a Senior Fellow of Higher Education Academy. She teaches in the subject area of theatre and performance at all levels, supervising PhD research to completion. She was a co-convenor of the Theatre and Performance Research Association, Applied and Social Theatre Working Group for several years. Her PhD was awarded from University of Manchester.

Her monograph The Applied Theatre Artist: Responsivity and Expertise in Practice was published by Palgrave 2020.  As a researcher of applied theatre, Hepplewhite makes connections between the contexts of academic research and theatre makers who engage with communities and participatory performance. Publication includes RiDE Journal of Applied Theatre, Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, PRAXIS (NYU) and chapters in the Bloomsbury Applied Theatre edited book series. She is a regular peer reviewer for academic journals.

She has a background in performing and making theatre that responds to political and social issues. Recent creative collaborations include projects in community, health and education contexts including schools and care homes.

Education/Academic qualification

Drama, PhD

1 Sept 2017 → …

Award Date: 1 Sept 2017

Theatre and Performance Practice, MA

1 Jan 2014 → …

Award Date: 1 Jan 2014



Dive into the research topics where Kay Hepplewhite is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 1 Similar Profiles