Eleanor Slade


Digital, Tech, Innovation & Business

I am a performance designer, lecturer in scenography, and a doctoral researcher. My main areas of interest are the social aspects of scenography, and scenographic / design-based strategies in collaborative theatre & performance making.

I am a lecturer in scenography, and my background is in set and costume design for theatre, opera, interactive installations, exhibitions, and socially engaged arts practices. My design work has been funded by national bodies (including Arts Council England, and Heritage Lottery Fund), includes UKRI research projects, and ranges from small scale fringe theatre, touring, outdoor, and children’s theatre, to large scale intergenerational community projects by international companies. I’m also an experienced facilitator / leader for primary and secondary students, intergenerational community groups, Theatre in Education, and socially engaged community / professional partnerships.

My love of live performance began as a 6 year old, watching my local amateur dramatic society perform in the wonderful Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond, North Yorkshire. I performed all through my childhood and teenage years, and undertook an undergraduate degree in Drama and Theatre Studies with a 4th year specialism in Design for Performance. I entered the industry as a designer straight after graduating, and worked my way up from fringe and low budget theatre. My interests have always teetered between the design side, and the performance / directing side of making work. In my early career I forged several paths – one rooted very much in designing set and costumes in a fairly traditional way; another exploring more experimental approaches to ensemble and collaborative performance-making; and another within socially engaged community work and Theatre in Education contexts. I worked for schools, community groups, Theatre in Education companies, and the Government-led creative learning programme ‘Creative Partnerships’.

After nearly a decade of professional practice I pursued an MA in Ensemble Theatre, to more formally develop myself as a scenographer within an ensemble practice. I continued my industry work upon graduation, and then sought more time and space to examine my own practice through a practice-based PhD in Scenography.

More recently I have developed my HE teaching, enjoying working with non-designers in the exploration and implementation of scenographic thinking and practices within collaborative processes.


Professional memberships and activities

  • Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA), Scenography Working Group
  • International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR)
  • Technē AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership
  • Equity trade union for creative practitioners
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts

Academic qualifications

  • (ongoing) PhD Theatre (Scenography). University of Surrey, Planned submission 2023
  • MA Ensemble Theatre, with distinction. Rose Bruford College, awarded by the University of Manchester.
  • MDrama (Undergraduate degree with inclusive M-level fourth year specialisation in Design for Performance). University of Kent


  • Scenography
  • Expanded scenography
  • Set design
  • Costume design
  • Social understandings of scenography
  • Ensemble practice
  • Devising

Research interests

  • Scenography, especially:
    • Social aspects of scenography
    • Expanded scenography
  • Collaborative and ensemble theatre & performance practice



  • Scenography
  • Set Design
  • Costume Design
  • Collaborative and ensemble creation
  • Creative company
  • Visualisation of creative work
  • Realisation of creative work
  • Site specific work
  • Academic supervision and tutoring
  • Critical and academic practice methodologies
  • Critical and academic writing and thinking
  • Thinking through theatre and scenography – what can theatre do?
in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021