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1st June, 2023

Central receives £1.35 million investment from UKRI to create Performance Lab that will enhance and develop immersive and digital technologies

Royal Central School of Speech and Drama - University of London

The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama is pleased to announce that it has been awarded £1.35 million in investment from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to renew and upgrade its facilities and to support the launch of Performance Lab, which will act as a catalyst for research and development in Theatre and Performance in immersive performance and digital technologies. 

The funds form part of £103 million which has been invested by UKRI to support the Higher Education sector in the United Kingdom and ensure that researchers have access to the best equipment and technologies to continue producing world-class research. 

As a small specialist institution, Central produces world-leading research in collaboration with industry partners, as demonstrated by its result in the Research Excellence Framework 2021 (REF2021) where 75% of its research was graded as 4*. This investment will enable Central to upgrade its facilities and to enhance its practice-led research and development capabilities in immersive and digital technologies. This will further support the School’s work in the areas of applied theatre and performance, immersive and participatory practices, sound and audio performance, and digital performance training. The enhancements will also increase the School’s visibility and resilience and, through work with external partners, will further support the UK’s creative and cultural economy. 

Central’s Head of Knowledge Exchange, Professor Bryce Lease said: 

‘We are hugely excited about the funding from UKRI, which will enable the establishment of the Performance Lab. It is great to see so many fantastic projects across the sector receiving this support. Performance Lab will contribute distinctive new research to enhance the UK’s creative and cultural economy. Our broad range of external partners are working with us on knowledge exchange and making the creative industries more inclusive and agile.’  

UKRI’s International Champion, Professor Christopher Smith said: 

‘These investments, made across the UK, will provide UK researchers with advanced equipment, facilities and technology, and help maintain the UK’s position as a leader in research and innovation.’ 

Central’s research is currently translated through Knowledge Exchange with external partners across the theatre and performance industry and beyond, including NHS trusts, museums, and heritage organisations. UKRI’s investment in Performance Lab will support the development of challenge-led research in immersive and digital technologies at the School; extend the reach, visibility, and sustainability of its research; promote and facilitate the external use of Central’s facilities for industry research and development; and provide professional development opportunities.

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