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Dr Ben Francombe

Head of Department of Theatre and Fine Art

b.francombe@chi.ac.uk | +44 (0)1243 816206

Ben Francombe has been Head of Theatre at Chichester since 2004 and Head of Fine Art since 2017. 

Previously, he was Head of Acting at Bretton Hall (1997 – 2004).

Ben served as an elected member of the Board of the Governors of the University of Chichester between 2008 and 2011 and is, currently, a member of Academic Board. 

He is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, with a particular interest in innovation in taught-programme design: he has extensive experience as an external examiner and external consultant for programme approval (most recently for the Open University).  Between 2014 and 2017, Ben was a Visiting Professor at California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), San Francisco, where he was programme chair for the unique International MFA programme in Theatre-Performance Making, validated jointly by Chichester and CIIS. 

Ben is an established professional Dramaturg, with extensive experience of working with a range of key performance makers.

Professional

Professional Practice: Dramaturg

Dramaturgy for the Paper Birds (www.thepaperbirds.com): In an Month of Fallen Sundays (2004); In a Thousand Pieces (2008); Others (2010) and On the One Hand (2013).

Dramaturgy for Search Party (www.searchpartyperformance.org.uk): Growing Old with You (2010) – a life-long performance project, which will re-engaged every five years; Save Me (2010/11) - a recurring site-based event, exploring territory, distance and communication using semaphore; My Son and Heir (2013/14)

Dramaturgy for 1927 (www.19-27.co.uk) on the multi-award-winning shows The Animals and Children took to the Streets (2010, National Theatre), and Golem (2013, Young Vic).

Dramaturgy for Two Destination Language  (www.twodestinationlanguage.com): Manpower (2016)

Publications

2016 “Tom MacIntyre - A Slow Surrender: finding a theatrical voice through the plays of the 1070s” in The Irish Theatre and Performance Reader, selected and introduced by Finola Cronin and Eamonn Jordan, Dublin: Carysfort Press.

2013 (With Kylie Walsh) On the One Hand – A Commemorative Look At 10 Years of the Paper Birds, produced in collaboration with the University of Chichester

2012 “One Day in the Wonderful World of 1927”, in The Animals and Children took to the Street, National Theatre Programme Article

2011 “11 Days in Bristol” in Ben Francombe, Jodie Hawkes and Peter Phillips (eds.) Save Me: A Conversation Across the City, Bristol: Arnolfini, pp 14 – 21

2010 “The Long Surrender: finding a theatrical voice through the plays of the 1970s” in Bernadette Sweeney and Marie Kelly (eds.) The Theatre Work of Tom MacIntyre: Strays from the Ether, Dublin: Carysfort Press, pp 65 – 80

2005 “Tom Murphy” in Bull (ed.) Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol. 310. British and Irish Dramatists Since World War II Fourth Series, Bruccoli Clark Layman, pp 170 – 178.

2002 “Falling off a Wall: Degrees of Change in British Actor Training”, Studies in Theatre and Performance, Vol. 21, No. 3 – 2002, pp 176 – 187

2001 “Frank McGuinness” in Bull (ed.) Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol. 245. British and Irish Dramatists Since World-War II Third Series, Bruccoli Clark Layman, pp 267 – 275.

1998 “Memories and Movement:  Dancing at Lughnasa, Brian Friel, and the transigence of place” in Norquay and Smith (ed.) Space and Place: The Geographies of Literature, Liverpool University Press, Liverpool:, pp 87 – 95.

1996 (With John Bull) “Standing Conference of University Drama Departments Survey of Undergraduate Drama Courses”, Studies in Theatre Production, (14) December 1996, pp 70 - 98.

1994 “School of Thought: New Approaches to New Writing in Scotland”, Theatre Scotland Vol. 3, Issue 11, Autumn 1994, pp5-7.

1994  “Lovers by Brian Friel”, Commissioned by the Scottish Curriculum Council.

Research

His main research interests are: place and performance; marginality and post-colonial discourse in contemporary British theatre and performance; modern Irish Drama; the politics of performance training and the professional and the amateur in creative practice. 

He has written on the subjects of the Chichester Festival Theatre, Lone Twin, the Scottish National Theatre, Practice as Research in Performance, British Actor Training and on the work of Search Party, The Paper Birds and playwrights John McGrath, Tom Mac Intyre, Brian Friel, Tom Murphy and Frank McGuinness. 

Ben welcomes enquiries from prospective research students on any of these subjects. 

PHD Supervision

His main research interests are: place and performance; marginality and post-colonial discourse in contemporary British theatre and performance; modern Irish Drama; the politics of performance training and the professional and the amateur in creative practice.

Ben welcomes enquiries from prospective research students on any of these subjects.

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