Dr Rose Whyman BA, MA, PhD

Photograph of Dr Rose Whyman

Department of Drama and Theatre Arts
Senior Lecturer

Contact details

The Old Library (SOVAC)
998 Bristol Road
Selly Oak
B29 6LG

I have lectured here in the Department of Drama and Theatre Arts since 2003 and my main teaching and research interests are in actor-training and Russian Theatre.


  • 1979: B.A. Honours II Russian/Philosophy, St Hugh’s College, Oxford
  • 1979-80: Diploma in Slavonic Studies, St Antony’s College, Oxford
  • 1981-82: M.A. in Theatre Studies, University of Lancaster.
  • 1999-2004: PhD : The Actor: An Emotional and Spiritual Machine–  towards an examination of the scientific basis of actor training in the work of Stanislavski, Department of Drama: University of Manchester, (AHRB full funding)

In 1996, I qualified as a teacher of the Alexander Technique and in 2003 as an Assistant Training Course Director with the Professional Association of Alexander Teachers.


Before my academic career, I worked in community and experimental theatre in London and the West Midlands, most recently with Open Theatre Company and with Hocus Pocus Theatre Company. My training includes work with members of Grotowski’s Teatr Laboratorium and with Augusto Boal.


I have been teaching in the Department since 2000. I teach on a number of core study and practical modules, specialising in Russian Theatre. I teach the study options ‘The Dark Comedy’ and ‘Russian Theatre, Culture and Revolution’'. I convene the first year Theatre Practice module and teach a course on Stanislavsky. My book Stanislavski- the Basics, (Routledge 2012) is a manual on the system used on the course. I have also taught the second year practical options Theatre Praxis and Theatre Lab and Alexander Technique for Performers and teach part of Theatre and Cultural Politics, the second year core option.

Postgraduate supervision

I am currently supervising several postgraduate students and welcome enquiries about research into actor-training, Anton Chekhov and Russian and East European Theatre of the first part of the twentieth century and theatre and science.


My current research is into actor training and Russian theatre history. My book entitled ‘The Stanislavsky System of Acting; Legacy and Influence in Modern Performance’ was published by Cambridge University Press in 2008. It discusses the development and scientific basis of the actor training methods of Stanislavsky and compares the system with the methods of Meyerhold and Mikhail Chekhov. I aim to develop this work in the future, focussing on contemporary approaches to movement and voice in actor-training, particularly the Alexander Technique.

My book ‘Anton Chekhov’, a monograph for the Routledge Modern and Contemporary Dramatists series was published in 2010.

I read Russian fluently and make regular visits to Moscow to undertake archival research. I also visit Russia and Poland to run community arts projects.

My work has been translated into French, Russian, Turkish and Portuguese.

Research interests

  • Actor training
  • Russian theatre history

Other activities

Conference papers

  • ‘Chekhov in Russia’, Guest lecture in series with exhibition by Special Collections at Nottingham 'Chekhoviana. Marketing a foreign classic to British Audiences' 2014
  • ‘Sacred Theatre – Delsarte, Chekhov and the search for the eternal type’, conference paper at Drama i Teatr, University of Tver, Russia 2014
  • ‘Stanislavski and Science’ Guest Lecture at National Academy of Theater, Oslo 2012
  • ‘Drama with People with Learning Disabilities’ presentation and drama workshop at Man Education Art Contact Katowice City Hall Foreign Affairs Conference, Poland 2011
  • ‘Futures of Training: the Alexander Technique and acting’ presentation to actor training working group at TAPRA Conference, Kingston University
  • ‘Mikhail Chekhov, Tvorcheskaia Individualnost’ i ‘Ya’ aktera’, keynote lecture at conference ‘Metod Mikhaila Chekhova: Akterskoye ‘Ya’ I Khudozhestvennyi Obraz, at Teatr Shkola Dramaticheskogo Iskusstva, Moscow 2010
  • ‘Chekhov’s Seagull and Schopenhauer’s Poodle’, guest lecture in Russian Studies seminar series, Department of Russian Studies, Division of European Languages and Cultures, University of Edinburgh 2010
  • Citizenship, Theatre and Learning Disability’, paper presented at International Federation for Theatre Research Conference, Washington D.C. July 2005
  • ‘Theatre,Learning Disability and the Idea of the Simpleton’, paper presented at British Association of Dramatherapists Conference, September 2005
  • ‘The Actor’s Second Nature –Stanislavski and William James’, Modernism and Theatre: New Perspectives, University of Birmingham, April 2007
  • 'The Actor's Creativity and the Laboratory', Performing Science Seminar, University of Birmingham, July 2008
  • ‘The Actor – an Emotional Machine. A comparison of Michael Chekhov’s method of acting with Stanislavsky’s system and Meyerhold’s Biomechanics’ paper given at CNRS conference,  Mikhail Tchekov. Du Théâtre au Cinèma. De Moscou á Hollywood, Paris, 2007
  • The Actor’s Creativity and the Laboratory’  Performing Science: Drama, Literature, and History, University of Birmingham ‘Countercultural Art in Russia since Perestroika’ paper presented at Overcoming Dictatorships Conference, University of Birmingham, 2008
  • Problematic influences of scientific ideas on movement pedagogy in revolutionary Russia’ paper presented at Conference of Research into Dance, University of Leicester, 2009
  • ‘Science, Censorship and Theatrical Performance in Russia’, paper presented at Federation for Theatre Research Conference, Lisbon, 2009 

Administrative roles

I am undergraduate plagiarism officer for the School of English, Drama and American and Canadian Studies and examinations officer and visiting lecturer co-ordinator in the Department.

I am an external examiner for the MA in Performance and Culture, Goldsmith’s, University of London.

I am a member of Editorial Boards of New Theatre Quarterly and Stanislavsky Studies. I am a book reviewer for New Theatre Quarterly, Modern Drama, Modern Language Review, Times Higher Educational Supplement anda reader for Routledge, Methuen, Cambridge University Press.



  • Stanislavski - the Basics (2012) London: Routledge
  • Anton Chekhov (2010) London: Routledge
  • The Stanislavsky System of Acting; legacy and influence in modern performance,Cambridge University Press, 2008

Articles and book chapters

  • ‘Russian Delsartism and Michael Chekhov: The Search for the Eternal Type’inThe Routledge Companion to Michael Chekhov, eds. Marie Christine Autant Mathieu, Yana Meerzon (2015)
  • ‘A Segunda Natureza do Ator - Stanislavski e William James’, Revista Brasileira de Estudos da Presença, Vol 4, No 2  (2014) 
  • ‘L’acteur, la machine emotionelle’ in Mikaïl Tchekhov/ Michael Chekhov. De Moscou à Hollywood. Du  Théâtre au cinéma. Paris: L'Entretemps, collection Les Voies de l'acteur, (2009)
  • Chekhov’s Seagull and Schopenhauer’s Poodle’ Drama i Teatr, VII, Tver, (2009)
  • ‘The Actor's Second Nature - Stanislavski and William James', NTQ90, (2007)
  • ‘Theatre, Learning Disability and the Idea of the Simpleton', Dramatherapy Journal, Spring issue, (2006)
  • ‘Delsarte, Prince Sergei Volkonski and Michael Chekhov' article in Mime Journal, 2005, co-written with Dr George Taylor