Royona Mitra



Senior Lecturer in Theatre, Admissions Tutor

Room: Gaskell Building 112


Tel: 01895 266821

Royona is the author of Akram Khan: Dancing New Interculturalism (Palgrave, May 2015). She has a PhD from Royal Holloway, University of London (2011) on the British-Bangladeshi artist Akram Khan, an MA in Physical Theatre from Royal Holloway, University of London (2001) and a BA (Hons) in Theatre & Performance from the University of Plymouth (2000). She trained in classical and contemporary South Asian dance in India and specialised in physical theatre in the UK. Royona was the founding member and performer with Kinaetma Theatre, an intercultural physical theatre company that made work between India, UK and Portugal from 2002 to 2007.

Prior to joining the Theatre Department at Brunel, Royona was a Senior Lecturer in the Drama Department at University of Wolverhampton where she was also the MA Drama Course Leader. She has also taught in the Theatre and Performance Department at the University of Plymouth.

Royona was elected as Secretary to join the Executive Committee for SCUDD (Standing Conference for University Drama Department). She is a member of SDHS (Society of Dance History Scholars) and TaPRA (Theatre and Performance Research Association) and also serves on the editorial board for SDHS’s Studies in Dance History series and is a co-editor for the Training Grounds section of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training Journal.

Research area(s)

•    Intercultural Performance
•    Dance and the Diaspora
•    Contemporary South Asian Dance
•    Physical Theatre/Dance Theatre


Research interests

Royona’s monograph entitled Akram Khan: Dancing New Interculturalism was published in May 2015 by Palgrave Macmillan within the New World Choreographies Series. It is the first book length project to examine the works of this seminal British-Asian artist. You can find out more about the title and purchase it here.

Runner-up for the Theatre & Performance Research Association (TaPRA) New Career Research in Theatre/Performance Prize 2016.

She is currently working on second book project entitled Choreographing Touch, Politicising Contact that interrogates the politics of choreographing touch through the works of selected South Asian choreographers across several nations, in order to politicise the making of bodily contact, a ubiquitous feature of contemporary choreographies.

Royona regularly presents at international and national conferences and was awarded the New Scholars Prize (2008) by the International Federation of Theatre Research (IFTR). She has been invited to deliver keynote addresses at University of Surrey (2017), Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (2018) and Pipers Corner School (2017). She has published in Performance Research Journal, Dance Research Journal, Feminist Review journal, Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory and has contributed to edited book projects on body, culture and identity. She has also been an invited speaker at Brown University, USA (2015), University of Surrey (2015), Gdansk Dance Festival Annual Conference (2012) and the Research Seminar Series hosted by the Drama Department at the University of Warwick (2008). Her work on the contemporary female South Asian dancer has been published in The Feminism and Visual Culture Reader.



Royona’s teaching specialisms are in the fields of physical theatre/dance–theatre, live art practices, dance and embodiment, intercultural performance and critical theory.

She would be keen to supervise PhD projects in the above areas and also projects that interrogate the relationships between body, culture, sexuality and identity in performance.

Selected Publications

Journal articles

Mitra, R.   (2016)   'Decolonising Immersion: Translation, Spectatorship, Rasa Theory and Contemporary British Dance'. Performance Research: a journal of the performing arts, 21 (5).  pp. 89 - 100. doi: 10.1080/13528165.2016.1215399 Download publication 

Mitra, R.   (2015)   'Book Review of Desi Divas: Political Activism in South Asian American Cultural Performance by Christine Garlough'. Contemporary Theatre Review, 25 (4).  pp. 608 - 609. 

Craddock, K. , McCaw, D. , Mitra, R.  and Wilson, T.   (2015)   'Training Grounds Editorial'. Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, 6 (3).  pp. 353 - 354. doi: 10.1080/19443927.2015.1087217 

Mitra, R.   (2014)   'The Parting Pelvis: Temporality, Sexuality, and Indian Womanhood in Chandralekha's Sharira (2001)'. Dance Research Journal, 46 (2).  pp. 5 - 19. Download publication 

Mitra, R.   (2014)   'Book Review: The Dance that Makes You Vanish: Cultural Reconstruction in Post-Genocide Indonesia, by Rachmi Diyah Larasati'. South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, 37 (1).  pp. 185 - 187. doi: 10.1080/00856401.2014.890164 

Mitra, R.   (2009)   'Akram Khan Re-writes ‘Radha’: The ‘Hypervisible’ Cultural Identity in Kylie Minogue’s ‘Showgirl’'. Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory, 19 (1).  pp. 23 - 34. doi: 10.1080/07407700802655265 Download publication 

Mitra, R.   (2006)   'Living a Body Myth, Performing a Body Reality'. Feminist Review., 84 pp. 67 - 83. 


Mitra, R.   (2015) Akram Khan: Dancing New Interculturalism.  Palgrave Macmillan 

Book chapters

Mitra, R.  (2017)   'Beyond Fixity: Akram Khan on the Politics of Dancing Heritages', in Morris, G.  and Nicholas, L. (eds.) Rethinking Dance History.  Download publication 

Mitra, R.  (2015)   'Authorship, Physical Theatre and Justitia', in Johnson, P.  and Dobkowska, S. (eds.) Justitia: Multidisciplinary Readings of the Work of Jasmin Vardimon Company.  Bristol Intellect Books pp. 143 - 154. Download publication 

Mitra, R.  (2010)   'Performing Cultural Heritage in 'Weaving Paths' by Sonia Sabri Dance Company', in Jackson, A.  and Kidd, J. (eds.) Performing Heritage: Research, Practice and Innovation in Museum Theatre and Live Interpretation.  university of manchester press pp. 144 - 157. 

Mitra, R.  (2010)   'Living a Body Myth, Performing a Body Reality', in The Feminism and Visual Cultural Reader.  Routledge pp. 560 - 570. 

Mitra, R.  (2010)   'Dancing Embodiment, Theorising Space: Exploring the ‘Third Space’ in Akram Khan’s zero degrees', in Lepecki, A. (ed.) Planes of Composition: Dance, Theory and the Global.  Seagull Books Ltd pp. 40 - 63. 

Mitra, R.  (2009)   'Embodiment of Memory and the Diasporic Agent in Akram Khan’s Bahok', in Counsel, C. (ed.) Performance, Embodiment and Cultural Memory.  Cambridge Scholars Press pp. 41 - 58. 

Mitra, R.  (2005)   'Cerebrality: Re-writing Corporeality of a female Indian dancer', in Birringer, J. (ed.)(15) : pp. 167 - 183. 

Page last updated: Wednesday 30 August 2017