Dr Robert Marsden

Head Of Department- Media And Perf

School of Digital, Technologies and Arts

I am a freelance theatre director who works across the UK and Europe in both commercial and subsidised theatre and also Artistic Director: Theatre for the MAC in Stoke. I have directed Greek comedy, Shakespeare, Jacobean Revenge Drama, Restoration comedy, verbatim, and site-specific theatre, musical theatre, pantomime, Russian drama and comedy and European classics, as well as new work and modern-language drama.

My expertise in pantomime has seen me write and direct over 25 professional pantomimes since 1999, including for Crewe (3 years), Halifax (11 years), Rotherham (2 years), Reading, New Vic Theatre, Stoke on Trent, Wrexham, Loughborough, Ickenham, Belfast, Porthcawl and Ammanford. Since 2007 I have worked for producer Steve Boden for Imagine Theatre directing the majority of their titles across the UK. I have also worked as a director at the Yvonne Arnaud Guildford, Stephen Joseph Scarborough, Bolton Octagon, Southwark Playhouse, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Oxford Playhouse and five years at the New Vic Theatre, Stoke on Trent as assistant then associate director.

I worked in China and Bangkok delivering workshops on directing for the British Council and assisted in BBC Radio and Television.I have also directed and written for Selladoor Worldwide, Leatherhead Theatre, Swanage Mowlam Theatre, Hordern Ciani Ltd, United National Theatre, Cooper Hall Somerset, Greenwich Theatre, Birmingham Old Rep, Milton Keynes Theatre/ATG, several national tours and work in Italy, Belgium and

Professional memberships and activities

  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Educational Academy
  • Member of Standing Conference of University Drama Departments (SCUDD)
  • Member of Equity and Stage Directors UK
  • Member of Society of Theatre Research
  • Member of International Federation of Theatre Research

I am also an External Examiner for Edge Hill University and UWTSD on their BA and MA Acting and Performance Programmes. Previous external examining and assessing includes for ALRA North, Aberystwyth University, Hull College and Liverpool Hope University.

Academic qualifications

  •  PhD ‘Breakthrough and Discovery Moments in Theatre Rehearsals’. University of Wolverhampton.
  • MA WBL ‘Theatre Directing and Lecturing in Higher Education’ Middlesex University
  • PGCLTHE, Rose Bruford College
  • BA (Hons) Drama, University of Wales Aberystwyth
  • Short courses with Raindance (Directing for Screen with Patrick Tucker); BSA (Voice and Shakespeare with Kristin Linklater) and Chekhov Training and Performance Ireland (Shakespeare and Michael Chekhov)


  • Theory and Practice of Directing
  • Theory and Practice of Acting
  • New Writing
  • Pantomime

Research interests

  • Rehearsal studies and practices
  • Experiential acting practices
  • Current industry debates re: inclusion, diversity and ethics
  • British Pantomime
  • Creative Learning and Teaching


Enterprise and commercial interests

I have extensive experience in the commercial and subsidised theatre sector and am currently an Artistic Director for MAC in Stoke and a board member for Partners in Creative Learning based in Newcastle under Lyme.

I was a board member for Reveal Theatre Ltd from 2019-2015 of which I was also Creative Director where I produced and directed numerous productions in the Midlands, London and touring including: Am I Not a Man and a Brother? (National Tour and re-launch in association with Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse); King Macbeth (National Tour); Sondheim’s Into the Woods (Stoke); Voices of Arran (Arran); Silent Anger (Tour as producer only); They Called It Passchendaele (Belgium); The Savonarola Debate (Florence, Italy) Singin’ in the Rain, Sticks and Stones (Tours) Hitting Town; Trench Kiss, Two; The documentary play On The Home Front; Charley’s Aunt and Teechers. I also secured Arts Council and Home Office funding for touring productions and projects.


Undergraduate and Postgraduate:

  • Classical and heightened text in performance
  • Theory and practice of directing
  • The creative industries
  • Experiential acting techniques, including active analysis and Michael Chekhov.
  • Rehearsal Studies and approaches to rehearsal room practices

Postgraduate doctoral supervision:

Robert welcomes proposals for supervision within:

  • Acting or directing practice
  • Industry related debates
  • Rehearsal Studies and rehearsal practices.
  • British pantomime.


Marsden, R (2021). Pantomime and the audience in Routledge Companion to Audience. Routledge - forthcoming

Marsden, R (2021). Inside the Rehearsal Room. Bloomsbury Publications - forthcoming

Marsden, R (2020). Monsters and Pantomime. Palgrave Communications 6 (1): 36

Marsden, R (2016). How to direct pantomime. The Stage newspaper

Marsden, R (2011) On the use of theatre to combat extremism. Arts Professional: 242

Marsden, R (2003) On being a young director working in theatre Direct: Director’s Guild of Great Britain Magazine

Conference Papers:

Marsden, R (2016). “The Aha Moment in Rehearsal”: Antwerp University, Belgium. Tracing Creation conference.

Marsden, R. (2014) 'Enhancing Employability Through Enterprise Education': HEA Conference, King's College, London.

Easdown, G, Marsden, R, Parr, A. (2012) “At the Crossroads: New Directions in Teacher Education”: Canterbury Christ Church University

External profiles

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