Research project

Global Theatre Pioneers South East

Principal Investigator
Dr Mary Mazzilli
A group of actors, on a stage, all piled on top of each other

The Global Theatre Pioneers in the South-East (East of England and the South-East of England) project aims to build a network of first-generation migrant theatre professionals to help improve the social and economic circumstances of creatives in the region.

This project is funded by the Economic & Social Research Council, IAA Impact Funding at the University of Essex. The project is led by Dr Mary Mazzilli in the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies.

Collaborators of the project include Professor Renee Luthra, Sociology, Dr Alita Nandi, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Social and Economic Research, and is in partnership with the movement Migrants in Theatre (survey and interviews), a movement made up of first-generation migrant theatre artists and theatre companies who joined efforts to campaign for more and better representation of UK based migrant theatre artists in British theatre.

England is divided into nine official regions for statistical purposes. The East region includes the counties of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. The South East region includes the counties of Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Surrey and West Sussex.


Take the survey

Launch event 

To launch this project, we will explore key issues in conversation with a panel of scholars and industry professionals, followed by Q&A on Monday, 6 December 2021 at 3:30pm. The event will be held on Zoom and is expected to to have a duration of 75 minutes. Please visit our Facebook for sign up information.

About the project

With this project, we will ask the participants to talk about their experience as first-generation migrant theatre-makers in the South East. This will be done initially through a survey and then through in-depth individual/group interviews alongside the participation in two theatrical workshops, taking place online and in person in November.

Creative responses to the survey, interviews and workshops will include:

  • short film tackling invisibility and language barriers, made in collaboration with first-generation migrant theatre-makers offering artistic and employment opportunities as well as a showcase for their talents
  • a public screening of the film (venues and times to be confirmed)
  • a roundtable discussion with theatre venues/producers from the region
  • a toolkit for regional theatre industry professionals to help them shape post-Covid planning whilst ensuring equality and diversity. People involved in the network will also be able to use the toolkit to help plan their own professional development


Short and Long-Term Benefits

The findings of the interviews will be mainly used by the researchers for statistical purposes and will inform the creation and activities of local Migrant in Theatre hub in the South-East. We hope that through this project, First Generation Migrant Theatre Makers (FGMTM) will gain visibility in the region, will be able to overcome vulnerability and gain confidence, and will be offered more employment opportunities. The potential impact of this project is to lobby local theatrical organizations to create new opportunities for FGMTM, thus, responding to the need for more equality and diversity in the industry.

For more information please email: