Dr. Kathrine Sandys, MA, PhD, FHEA | The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Dr Kathrine Sandys, MA, PhD, FHEA

Job title

Head of Theatre Practice, Principal Lecturer Theatre Practice


I trained as a Theatre Designer, followed by a practice as Lighting Designer for predominantly dance and music as well as theatre, festivals, events and more recently museums and gallery spaces. Following completion of my MA in Contemporary Arts under Robin Nelson and Stephen Lacey, followed by a PaR PhD in Music (Sonic Arts) in Goldsmiths College Electronic Music Studios I have maintained a parallel Installation Art practice working with light and sound in site-specific installation, museum display, industrial, military and heritage sites.

Commissions and collaborations nationally and internationally have included work with artists in South Africa, Japan, Ireland, Canada, India, U.S, Zimbabwe, Germany, Ghana, UK and Czech Republic, at Imperial War Museum North; Aldeburgh Music; FACT; Stephen Berkoff; Prague Festival Ballet; Opera North; Liverpool International Biennial of Contemporary Art; Harare International Festival of Arts; Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra; Churchill War Rooms; East Midlands Cultural Olympiad 2012; Tate Liverpool; Video Positive; Realworld Records; Liverpool European City of Culture 2008; Oxford Stage Company; Hemingway Design; New York ICFF, Glaxo Neurological Centre; Discover Children’s Story Centre; Liverpool’s Everyman and Unity Theatres and Vintage at Goodwood 2010, winner of the “Best New Festival 2010”.

At the 2011 Prague Quadrennial, I was awarded “International Award for Excellence in Sound Design” for Hush House, a site-specific sound installation in a former Cold War U.S Airbase, commissioned by Aldeburgh Music.

My research around the phenomenology of reimagined Cold War architecture is published in: In the Ruins of the Cold War Bunker: Affect, Materiality and Meaning Making and featured artist in Louise K Wilson’s BBC Radio 4 programme: Cold Art.

My research continues to explore the reanimation of industrial and military sites, including the rediscovery of Elgin’s Memorial Chimes manuscript, played on Loughborough’s War Memorial Tower Carillon, as part of a 2012 Cultural Olympiad commission. Exploration of illusion and deception in military exercises form the basis for further scenographic animations of former sites and architectural remains.

My practice in light, sound and digital media in the museum and heritage site will form the basis for a co-authored publication around the increasing use of scenography in the museum and visitor experience.

Prior to my position as Head of Theatre Practice at Central I was Interdisciplinary Curriculum Leader at Rose Bruford College; Head of Lighting, Sound and Digital Production at Mountview Academy Of Theatre Arts; Lecturer in Theatre and Performance Design and Technology at Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts from its launch in 1996 and Liverpool Hope University.

I am a committee member of the Society of British Theatre Designers, a STEM ambassador and active supporter of opportunities for young women and girls in careers within lighting, sound and music.

Inspirations include Daphne Oram and Morecambe and Wise.


Costume Construction, BA

Design for the Stage, BA

Production Lighting, BA

Prop Making, BA

Puppetry: Design and Performance, BA

Scenic Art, BA

Scenic Construction, BA

Stage Management, BA

Technical and Production Management, BA

Theatre Lighting Design, BA

Theatre Sound, BA

Teaching Areas

  • Scenography and Phenomenology
  • Lighting Design
  • Sonic Arts Practices
  • Design for Museum, Gallery and Heritage Sites
  • Installation Art
  • Postdramatic Theatre
  • Relational Aesthetics within performance

Research Areas

  • The Sublime
  • Cold War military and industrial architecture
  • Military illusion and deception
  • The Cold War cultural fantasy
  • Lighting, sound and digital media in museum and heritage site interpretation
  • Infrasound
  • Psychoacoustics

PHD Supervision

  • Lighting for live performance
  • Performance visualisation and virtual spaces
  • Sonic Arts
  • The Sublime

Key Publications

Spring 2020 – “Experiencing the Former Bunker: atmospheres, routines and limits”, in: The Journal of War and Culture (Special Issue), Taylor and Francis

Summer 2017 – “Sublime Concrete”, in: In the ruins of the Cold War bunker: affect, materiality and meaning-making, Rowman & Littlefield


Recent Practice includes:

Aug-Nov 2016 - Lighting Designer 36Q, Lighting and Sound Design Exhibition, National Museum, Prague

April 2016 – Installation Performance, The Mudlark, AVA Gallery, University of East London

Oct-Dec 2015 – Product Launch Installation Design, Berghaus Sunderland and London.

Mar-Apr 2015 - Sound Installation, Lower Pool, University of East London & Rose Bruford College

Jan 2015 - UK Exposition, Prague Quadrennial 2015 Curatorial Selection and Make/Believe, British Theatre Design Exhibition Selection Panelist, Victoria and Albert Museum

Aug-Nov 2013 - Exhibition Curation and Design, IWM Churchill Centre Art Prize 2013, Churchill War Rooms and Churchill Gala Dinner

Apr-Sep 2012 - Exhibition Co-Curator, Sho-Zyg, Goldsmiths Electronic Music Studios (including the first curated exhibit of the Daphne Oram collection)

Feb-Aug 2012 – Commissioned Artist & Curator, Cargoes, East Midlands Cultural Olympiad

Mar-Sep 2012Exhibiting Designer, Victoria and Albert Museum: From Gormley to Gaga, British Theatre Design

June 2011 - Recipient of the Prague Quadrennial 2011 Special International Jury Award for Sound Design for Hush House

Sep 2011 – Production Designer: Alice Through the Winter Gardens, Winter Gardens, Blackpool

Sep 2010 – Production Designer: Upside Down, Wrong Way Round, Unity Theatre, Liverpool

March 2010 – Installation Sound Artist: Hush House, Aldeburgh Music/Faster Than Sound

Apr 2009 – Exhibition Designer: Sculpture Remixed, Tate Liverpool

June 2009 - Installation Sound Artist: Radioflash, Goldsmiths College

Dec 2008-Jan 2009 – Curator: Closing Ceremony Streetworks, European Capital of Culture 2008, Liverpool Culture Company

Register of Interest

Nothing to declare