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Claire French

PhD Researcher


About Me

I am a performance maker and researcher, interested in multilingual, applied and autobiographical performance practices. As a fourth-year PhD Candidate and Commonwealth Scholar at the University of Warwick, my research focuses on approaches to facilitating actors’ vast linguistic resources in performance-making and rehearsal processes. This research mostly draws from South African contexts, but I am also interested in praxis in the global north, particularly where I have lived and worked: the UK, Germany and Australia.

Research interests

My research title is: Methodologies for mobilising languaging: Facilitating dynamic linguistic resources in applied performance praxis

This research is methodologically driven, as I am maker first and foremost, interested in the complex linguistic issues that are presented to facilitators of applied performance praxis when creating work with actors with vast linguistic resources. The driving question that has led this research is: How do facilitators who do not share actors’ linguistic resources allow them to be drawn on and organised within the performance-making and rehearsal processes? Reasons for the pertinence of this research in the global north is that English is often uncritically drawn on as a lingua franca, despite both an interest in the work being created and led by the actors, and the diversity of actors’ linguistic resources. I draw from a number of examples from applied and non-applied performance praxis in South Africa to inform these issues.

I engage interdisciplinary and systematically eclectic theoretical and conceptual frameworks, bringing together sociolinguistics and performance studies to explore how the concept languaging, seen when actors draw from linguistic resources for the intelligibility of their most immediate interlocutor, might be discerned within South African performance-making and rehearsal processes. I analyse how language ideologies are challenged and reproduced in these processes to influence the actors’ languaging, and how they are tied to historical/contextual discourses. Key findings conceptualise how certain praxes support actors to challenge and produce new language ideologies to mobilise languaging.

This research is supervised by Dr. Yvette Hutchison, Department of Theatre and Performance Studies and Professor Jo Angouri, Centre for Applied Linguistics.

Recent presentations

Performing Multilingualism in Europe and Beyond: Migration, Globalisation, Utopia, ‘Methodologies for mobilising languaging in performance-making and rehearsal processes’, University of Kent, September 2019.

9th International Drama in Education Research Institute (IDIERI), ‘Towards translingual praxis: departures from monolingual facilitation’, University of Auckland, July 2018.

Sociolinguistics Symposium 22, ‘Considering actors’ embodied participation in improvisational activities’, Interdisciplinary Strand, University of Auckland, June 2018.

Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA), ‘Introducing language ideology’, Applied and Social Theatre, University of Salford, September 2017.

Other professional activity

I am an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and currently tutor and/or present lectures for the following modules:

  • Performing Gender and Sexuality, BA Theatre and Performance Studies (3rd year), University of Warwick
  • Communication Modes, BA Applied Linguistics (3rd year), University of Warwick
  • Performance Analysis, BA Theatre and Performance Studies (1st year), University of Warwick
  • Language and Society, BA Applied Linguistics (1st year), University of Warwick

Office hours

By appointment


Undergraduate modules
  • Theatre and Performance in Context
  • Performing Gender and Sexuality
  • Communication Modes
  • Language and Society