Dr. Gareth White, BA, PhD, FHEA | The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Dr Gareth White, BA, PhD, FHEA

Job title

Reader in Theatre and Performance


I am a teacher, researcher and a theatre director specialising in participatory practice and known in particular for my research on so-called Immersive Theatre. I have been at Central since 2004, in the main teaching on BA Drama, Applied Theatre and Education (DATE), while also contributing to the MA and PhD programmes. I teach theory and practice: At Central I have directed, co-directed or devised 18 plays and productions, mostly with students on DATE.

I trained at Bretton Hall College where I formed Armadillo Theatre with David Gilligan, Nina Anderson and Tim Dowan – a Theatre in Education company making performances for schools, hospitals and other non-theatre venues. Following that I worked with other companies as an actor and facilitator, as well as teaching at Wimbledon School of Art, South Bank University, Richmond American University, Roehampton University, and Goldsmiths College, University of London. I completed my PhD at Goldsmiths, Control and Agency in Audience Participation, in 2007. 

My teaching and research overlaps in my focus on collaborative creative processes and participatory practices. Audience Participation in Theatre: Aesthetics of the Invitation, a monograph theorising how spectators are transformed into performers, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2013. Applied Theatre: Aesthetics, a short monograph with accompanying essays from other researchers, was published by Bloomsbury Methuen in 2014: it explores the idea of the aesthetic in performance practice with social aims. 

I am writing a new monograph, to be published by Routledge, provisionally titled Dialectics of Participation: Meaning in the Midst of Performance. I have a chapter awaiting publication in Colette Conroy and Nic Fryer’s Ranciere and Performance, discussing the application of Jacques Ranciere’s theory to game-based performance practices. 

I am Secretary to the Standing Conference of UK Drama Departments (SCUDD). From 2014 to 2016 I was co-convenor of the Theatre and Performance Research Association’s working group on Performance, Identity and Community. 


Drama, Applied Theatre and Education, BA

Teaching Areas

  • Methods of theatre-making
  • Collaborative, cooperative and participatory practice
  • Performance theory

Research Areas

  • Aesthetics of participatory and applied theatre
  • Audience participation and immersive theatre

PHD Supervision

  • Collaborative and cooperative theatre making
  • Acting practices in post-dramatic theatre
  • Aesthetics of ecological theatre
  • Participatory performance and surveillance

I have examined three doctorates, in the areas of participatory aesthetics, immersive theatre and duration in performance.

Key Publications

2019. ‘The Audience in Intermedial Theatre’, in Intermedial Theatre, Principles and Practice, Edited by Mark Crossley (London: Red Globe Press).

2019. ‘The Promise of Participation Revisited’ in Staging Spectators in Immersive Performances: Commit Yourself!, Edited by Doris Kolesch, Theresa Schutz and Sophie Nikoleit (Abingdon: Routledge). 

2016. ‘Theatre in the “Forest of Things and Signs”’, The Journal of Contemporary Drama in English, 4:1.

2015. Applied Theatre: Aesthetics (London: Bloomsbury Methuen).

2013. Audience Participation in Theatre: Aesthetics of the Invitation (London: Palgrave Macmillan).

2012. ‘On Immersive Theatre’, Theatre Research International 37:3, pp. 221-235.

2011. ‘Noise, Conceptual Noise, and the Potential of Audience Participation’ in Theatre Noise, Edited by Lynne Kendrick, L. and David Roesner (London: Cambridge Scholars’ Press).


My research and teaching is builds on practice that experiments with performer-audience relationships, strategies of participation, and the spectator’s experience of time and space. Currently this usually takes the form of work made with students, for different audiences inside and outside Central, though I have also made work with my colleague Jane Munro and her company The Visitors, and other collaborators. All of this work is inspired by making and touring interactive performances for children and young people.

Register of Interest

Nothing to declare.