Prof. Maria Delgado, BA, MA, PhD, MAE, SFHEA, FRSA | The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Prof. Maria Delgado, BA, MA, PhD, MAE, SFHEA, FRSA

Job title

Director of Research


I am an academic, critic and curator whose work in the area of Spanish-language and European theatres and Spanish-language film has been published in seven languages. I have longstanding interests in the politics and practices of editing and have been Co-editor of Contemporary Theatre Review since 2001. Ongoing editorial work includes co-editorship of two book series for Manchester University Press and Cambridge University Press.

I grew up in the UK as the daughter of Spanish refugees. I first became interested in theatre and film at my comprehensive school and went on to study at the Universities of Wales, Leeds and Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. I taught previously at Queen Mary University of London (where I was a founder member of the Drama department), Hull University and Manchester Metropolitan University. I have had visiting professorships. fellowships and residences at the Universities of Santiago de Compostela, Queensland, Stockholm, Virginia and UC-Davis, and have given over 60 lectures at universities and cultural institutions across Europe, Asia, North and South America and Africa. Conference keynotes include: the International Federation for Theatre Research (2013), Women in Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies (2014), the Association of Hispanists of Great Britain and Ireland (2015), the Anglo-Catalan Society (2015), ‘Performance and Culture: Cities, Technologies, Embodiments’ at the University of Malta (2018) and the Iberian Theatre and Performance Network’s Theaters of Marginality at the University of Massachusetts (2018). I am currently co-investigator of an AHRC-funded project (2018-21), ‘Staging Difficult Pasts’ with Dr. Bryce Lease and Professor Michal Kobialka.

My wider experience of research management and peer review involves membership of the Leverhulme Trust’s Advisory Panel, HEFCE’s Strategic Advisory Committee for Research and Knowledge Exchange (2015-17), and the KE Framework Steering Group (2017-18) and the Council of Research England. I have served on a range of AHRC committees and panels, including its BGP2 Expressions of Interest and Moderating Panels (2012-13) and its Strategic Reviewers’ Group (2011-13, 2017- ), its DTP Moderating Panel (2018) and undertaken overseas consultancy work and assessment (e.g. European Science Foundation, Portuguese Scientific Foundation, Australian Research Council’s ERA). I was a member of the panel for Drama, Dance and the Performing Arts for the Research Assessment Framework [RAE2008] and chaired the subpanel for Music, Drama, Dance and the Performing Arts for the Research Excellence Framework’s REF2014. I am Chair of the subpanel for Music, Drama, Dance, Performing Arts, Film and Screen Studies and Deputy Chair of Main Panel D for REF2021.

In 2003 I was made a Commander of the Order of Isabella la Católica for my academic and curatorial work on Spanish culture; in 2016 I was awarded the Cross of the Order of Alfonso X the Wise for my contribution to education and culture, and in 2018 I was selected one of the University of London’s 150 ‘Leading Women’ in celebration of 150 years of women in UK higher education. Other awards include: Premi Fundació Ramon Llull per la promoció de la cultura catalana (2018), the TaPRA Research Prize for Editing (2017), the Association for Theatre in Higher Education Excellence in Editing Award (2013), the Premi Joan Centrós for best scholarly work published on Catalan-language culture (2008), and the QMUL Drapers Award for the Development of Teaching and Learning (2003). I hold an Honorary Fellowship at the Institute of Modern Languages Research, School of Advanced Study, University of London and Honorary Life Memberships of the Standing Committee of University Drama Departments [SCUDD] and the Theatre and Performance Research Association [TaPRA].

As Director of Research, I am part of Central’s senior management team. I oversee the School’s research culture and contribute to graduate teaching.


Research Degrees (MPhil/PhD)

Research Areas

  • Twentieth- and Twenty-first-century Spanish theatre, performance and film
  • Directors’ theatre and currents in contemporary European theatre
  • Intercultural and transcultural performance (with an emphasis on the Spanish-speaking world)
  • Performance and film analysis
  • Latin American theatre and filmmakers
  • Editing practices

PHD Supervision

I have supervised 19 PhD theses on Spanish and Latin American theatre, film and theatre festivals, applied theatre, culture and heritage in Spain, archives of memory and performance, translation and performance, theatre photography, contemporary writing and performance in Europe, and rehearsal methodologies. I am currently supervising work on archives and cultural history. I have examined over 30 doctorates in the UK and Spain on areas including film festivals, directors’ theatre, the films of Pedro Almodóvar, queer politics and the writings of Federico García Lorca, actor training, gender and performance, minority languages and performance, and the theatre of Maria Irene Fornes.

Key Publications

2018. ‘Civility, Empathy, Democracy and Memory: Exploring the “we” in compromised times’, Performance Research, 28.3, 328-36 

2018. ‘Disappearing Acts:  On Analysing Creative Practice in Spain’, Hispanic Research Journal, 19.2, 196-213.  

2017. "Otro" teatro Español: Supresión e inscripción en la escena Española de los siglos XX y XXI. Madrid/Frankfurt. Iberoamericana, Vervuert.

2017. A Companion to Latin American Cinema, co-edited with Stephen Hart and Randal Johnson (Oxford: Blackwell-Wiley).

2015. ‘Memory, Silence and Democracy in Spain: Federico García Lorca, the Spanish Civil War and the Law of Historical Memory’, Theatre Journal, 67.

2015. ‘Arts and Humanities Research Evaluation: No Metrics Please, just Data’, (co-authored with Mike Thelwell), Journal of Documentation, 71.4, 817-33.

2013. Spanish Cinema 1973-2010: Auteurism, Politics, Landscape and Memory, co-edited with Robin Fiddian (Manchester: Manchester University Press).

2012. A History of Theatre in Spain, co-edited with David T. Gies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

2008. Federico García Lorca (London: Routledge).

2003. ‘Other’ Spanish Theatres: Erasure and Inscription on the Twentieth-Century Spanish Stage (Manchester: Manchester University Press).

2002. Theatre in crisis?: Performance Manifestos for a New Century, co-edited with Caridad Svich (Manchester: Manchester University Press).

2002. The Paris Jigsaw: Internationalism and the City’s Stages, co-edited with David Bradby (Manchester: Manchester University Press).

1996. In Contact with the Gods?: Directors Talk Theatre, co-edited with Paul Heritage (Manchester: Manchester University Press).


My work with the creative industries involves includes reviewing, programming and curatorial work in film, translation for the stage, theatre criticism and broadcasting, public lectures and interviews, and programme notes for film, theatre and opera.

My programming and consultancy work in film includes a position as programme advisor with the London Film Festival since 1997, responsible for the selection and presentation of Spanish and Latin American films. I have conducted over 200 interviews with directors, producers and actors including Javier Bardem, Daniel Burman, Alfonso Cuarón,  Penélope Cruz, Benicio del Toro, Alejandro González Iñárritu,Sebastián Lelio,  Diego Luna, Julio Medem, Ventura Pons, Carlos Saura, Albert Serra, and Pablo Trapero. My many public conversations with Pedro Almodóvar include a Guardian/NFT interview with Almodóvar and Penélope Cruz, the hosting of Almodóvar’s 2012 David Lean Lecture at BAFTA and a BFI Masterclass on Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown in 2015 and a career interview for the 2017 Almodóvar season at the BFI. I currently co-curate Latin America Monthly with Nico Marzano at the ICA.

I have translated the work of a range of dramatists including Susana Torres Molina, Ramón del Valle-Inclan, Mario Benedetti, and Bernard-Marie Koltès. My translations have been produced by (among others) the Vault, Southwark Playhouse (2012), de Singel Theatre, Antwerp (2009); the Avignon Festival (2006); Arcola Theatre, London (2004); the Théâtre de Lorient, Bretagne, France (2002); the Hagley Theatre, New Zealand (2001); 7 Stages, Atlanta, Georgia, USA (2001); the ICA (1992) and Battersea Arts Centre (1990).

My public engagement activities in theatre include chairing the board of the award-winning ATC (Actors Theatre Company) (2009-19), one of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio organisations and consultancies on a range of theatre productions in the UK, Spain and Argentina. Projects include Ainadamar directed by Peter Sellars at the Teatro Real Madrid (2012) and The House of Bernarda Alba, directed by Bijan Sheibani at the Almeida Theatre London (2012). I was an Artistic and Quality Assessor for Arts Council England (2012-17).

I have contributed to over 100 radio and television programmes in the UK and Spain. This includes reviews of a range of film and stage work for BBC Radio well as appearances on TV3, RTVE, BBC News 24, Radio Ser, TRT World’s Nexus, and BBC's The Cinema Show. I am a regular contributor to Sight & Sound and also review work for European Stages, The Theatre Times and Times Higher Education.

Register of interest

Member, Board of Governors, The Guildhall School of Music and Drama

Member, Board of Trustees, Actors Touring Company

Member, Council, Research England