Brenda Winter-Palmer

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Achievements and Distinctions

Dr Brenda Winter-Palmer joined the staff in Drama Studies at Queen's University Belfast in 2009 after a thirty-year career as an actress, writer and director in professional theatre, film and television. In 1983 she was one of the founders of Charabanc, the important Irish women's theatre company. In 1988 she established Replay, Northern Ireland's foremost educational theatre company, and was its first Artistic Director for a period of seven years. Between 1998 and 2004 she was Creative Director of The Mixed Peppers Training Project in Theatre Arts for Young People with Motor Disabilities. She came to Queen's in 2006 to undertake a Practice as Research doctorate on the Northern Irish dramatist George Shiels. As part of that course of study she wrote and directed a new play on the life of this dramatist entitled Just Shiels.  

Research Interests

Dr Palmer's research activities reflect her long-standing interest as a  practitioner in creating  theatre in an educational setting and in engaging  with people with disabilities in order to create performance.

In the area of Theatre and Disability she is concerned with investigating  how choice of methodology and form may  enhance or hinder agency in marginalised or oppressed groupings participating in drama activity. She is currently working with the Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke Association on a drama programme for stroke survivors. The thrust of her research in this instance is to assess whether improvisatory methods of drama could have a role to play in alleviating some of the emotional and psychological symptoms associated with stroke illness.

Dr. Palmer continues her research in the field of drama education through her work in Theatre in Museum. She is currently writing a new piece of promenade, site-specific  theatre, The Medal in the Drawer, which will be performed in the Ulster Museum Belfast in May 2014 as part of the commemoration of the outbreak of the First World War. The play, and its accompanying workshops in schools and community settings,  is part of the Museum's wider response to Ireland's Decade of Centenaries [2012-2022] which marks some of the most contentious events in modern Irish History. The research context associated with these on-going commemorations will interrogate whether theatre in a museum setting may be useful in negotiating polarised opinion associated with conflicted histories  in a divided society. 


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