Dr Rose Whyman BA, MA, PhD

Photograph of Dr Rose Whyman

Department of Drama and Theatre Arts
Senior Lecturer

Contact details

Department of Drama and Theatre Arts (DTA)
The Old Library (SOVAC)
998 Bristol Road
Selly Oak
B29 6LG

I joined the Department of Drama and Theatre Arts in 2003. My main research interests are in the science of acting, actor training and Russian Theatre. I teach a wide variety of modules at undergraduate and postgraduate levels including a course on tragicomedy (Dark Comedy), Russian theatre, Alexander Technique and Performance as well as practical modules in a variety of approaches to acting including Stanislavski, Michael Chekhov and Lecoq. I am a teacher of the Alexander Technique and a member of the Professional Association of Alexander Teachers.


  • BA Honours II Russian/Philosophy, St Hugh’s College, Oxford
  • Diploma in Slavonic Studies, St Antony’s College, Oxford
  • MA in Theatre Studies, University of Lancaster.
  • 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)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

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 joining the Department, I worked in community arts 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 practitioners of Vs.I Meyerhold’s Biomechanics, Grotowski-based work and Augusto Boal’s techniques. I continue to work in various settings on the application of the Alexander Technique to the development of performance.


I have been teaching in the Department since 2000. I have taught on a number of core study and practical modules, specialising in actor training and Russian Theatre. I currently teach the study options ‘The Dark Comedy’ for second years and Alexander Technique for Performers for third years. I teach Advanced Acting to third years, a course based in Stanislavsky’s system and Michael Chekhov’s technique. My book Stanislavski - the Basics, (Routledge 2012) is a manual on the system used on the course and also the first year Theatre Practice module.

Postgraduate supervision

I welcome enquires about research (including Practice as Research) into:
Performer training
Anton Chekhov
Russian and East European theatre
Contemporary Russian theatre writing

I am currently supervising 3 postgraduate projects:

The Impact of Theatre on the Neurodiverse Population - Vicki Taylor
‘To the subconscious by conscious means: towards a new pedagogy for the emotions in UK actor training’ David Jackson
Female physical comedy; challenges and ways forward –Maria Loizidou

PhD's supervised to completion include:

Robert Messik ‘The Purim-shpil and contemporary theatre’ Research as practice, 2019
Lesley Mycroft ‘An exploration of teachers’ voice problems and their possible solution’, 2016
Ann Shapiro ‘East European theatres during the Cold War’. 2016

Find out more - our PhD Drama and Theatre Studies  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


My current research is in the science of actor training and Russian theatre history. I am working on a book entitled Performance in Revolutionary Russia: the Art and Science of Biomechanics. I have received funding for research trips to Russia from the British Academy/Leverhulme Small Grants in the Performing Arts fund. I also work on the actresses of the Moscow Art Theatre studios, particularly Serafima Birman. I have a research collaboration in the Philosophy and Science of Performance.

My book, 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 am developing this work 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 and St Petersburg to undertake archival research. I also visit Russia and Poland to run arts projects.

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

Research interests

  • Performer training
  • The Alexander Technique and Performance
  • Russian theatre history
  • Contemporary Russian theatre writing

Other activities

Conference papers

  • ‘Flourishing and the Alexander Technique’, Joint presentation with Dr Sarah Hall and Dr Victoria Door, Teacher Education Advancement Network, Conference Aston, Birmingham, May 2018

  • Co-Presentation with Adam Ledger hosted by the Meyerhold Theatre Centre, Moscow as part of a collaborative project with the National Centre for Contemporary Arts, ‘Art on the Move or the Theatre in your Home’, Moscow November 2017

  • ‘Wellbeing, presence and pedagogy in the classroom’ Co-presentation with Dr Victoria Door, Keele University, Teacher Education Advancement Network, Conference Aston, Birmingham, May 2017

  • Serafima Birman ‘Eccentric Actress and Extraordinary Woman’: The ‘New Wave’ Actresses and Stanislavski’s Moscow Art Theatre, Stanislavski Studies Conference, DAMU Prague, March 2017

  • The ‘New Wave’ Actresses and Stanislavski’s Moscow Art Theatre: Serafima Birman’, International Federation for Theatre Research, Stockholm, 2016

  • ‘Contemporary productions of Chekhov in Russia’, invited speaker, British-Russian Friendship Society, May 2016

  • ‘Research into the Alexander Technique and Performance’ CAMMRA conference, University of Birmingham November 2016

  • ‘S.M. Volkonsky and the spread of Jaques-Dalcroze’ Eurhythmics in Russia’, Second International Conference of Dalcroze Studies, Vienna 2015

  • ‘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 
  • ‘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
  • ‘Citizenship, Theatre and Learning Disability’, paper presented at International Federation for Theatre Research Conference, Washington D.C., 2005
  • ‘Theatre, Learning Disability and the Idea of the Simpleton’, paper presented at British Association of Dramatherapists’ Conference, 2005

Administrative roles

I have undertaken a number of administrative roles in School of English, Drama and American and Canadian Studies and in the Department.

I am an external examiner for the MA in Performance and Culture, Goldsmith’s, University of London  and for the BA (Hons) Acting and BA (Hons) Musical Theatre, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

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 and a reader for Routledge, Methuen, Cambridge University Press.


Recent publications


2020, Биомеханика для инструкторов. translated by Rose Whyman, Springer Nature.

Whyman, R 2010, Anton Chekhov. Routledge.

Whyman, R 2008, The Stanislavsky System of Acting: Legacy and Influence in Modern Performance. Cambridge University Press.


Whyman, R 2024, 'The Studio on Povarskaia 1905: “Young Theatre of Searching”', Stanislavsky Studies . https://doi.org/10.1080/20567790.2024.2330053

Whyman, R 2023, 'The science of acting in the Russian Theatre at the beginning of the twentieth century: from the modern epoch to the avant-garde', Russian Literature, vol. 135–137, pp. 297-323. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ruslit.2022.10.002

Whyman, R 2018, 'Serafima Birman and The Path of the Actress: from the Moscow Art Theatre to People’s Artist of the USSR', New Theatre Quarterly, vol. 34, no. 4, pp. 339-356. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0266464X18000416

Whyman, R 2016, 'Explanations and Implications of ‘psychophysical’ acting', New Theatre Quarterly, vol. 32, no. 2, pp. 157-168. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0266464X16000051

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Whyman, R 2024, The influence of Émile Jaques-Dalcroze on the art of movement in Revolutionary Russia. in Navigating landscapes of Dalcroze practice : Music and movement in pedagogy, performance and therapy. . Boydell and Brewer.

Guerrero, I & Whyman, R 2023, Performance training in Europe. in R Remshardt & A Mancewicz (eds), Routledge Companion to Contemporary European Theatre and Performance. 1st edn, Routledge, pp. 495-501. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003082538-79

Whyman, R 2018, Stanislavski: Contexts and Influences. in P Tait (ed.), The Great European Stage Directors Set 1 Volumes 1-4: Pre-1950: Antoine, Stanislavski, Saint-Denis. vol. 1, The Great Stage Directors, Bloomsbury Methuen Drama .

Whyman, R 2018, The ‘Second Wave’ Actresses of Russia and the USSR: Serafima Birman, Sofia Giatsintova, Alla Tarasova and Olga Pyzhova: their relationship to Stanislavsky, his System and the Moscow Art Theatre. in J Sewell & C Smout (eds), The Palgrave Handbook of the History of Women on Stage. Palgrave.

Whyman, R 2015, Russian Delsartism and Michael Chekhov: The search for the eternal type. in M Mathieu & Y Meerzon (eds), The Routledge Companion to Michael Chekhov. Routledge.


Whyman, R 2009, Chekhov's Seagull and Schopenhauer's Poodle. in Drama i Teatr VII: Drama and Theatre. Tverskoi gos. universitet.

Whyman, R 2009, L'acteur, la machine emotionelle. in M-C Autant-Mathieu (ed.), Mickhael Tchekov/Michael Chekhov, de Moscou à Hollywood, du Théatre au cinéma: Michael Chekhov, from Moscow to Hollywood, from the theatre to the cinema. Les voies de l'acteur, L'Entretemps, Montpellier, pp. 219-232.

Book/Film/Article review

Whyman, R 2011, 'Politics and Performing Arts in Late Imperial Russia', Modern Language Review, vol. 106.

View all publications in research portal