Serena Slack-Robins

Serena Slack-Robins


Thesis Title

British Muslim Communities Engagement with Theatre


Manchester Metropolitan University


Dr. Joshua Edelman
Dr. Benedicte Brahic

Research Summary

The research aims to examine the nexus between theatrical aesthetic analysis and social science’s institutionalised ethnography methodologies, in collaboation with ‘the UK’s leading Muslim theatre maker,’ Ali (2021)1, Khayaal Theatre Company as an exemplary case study. Founded in 1997 by Luqman Ali, Eleanor Martin, and Mohammad Sesay, Khayaal Theatre is the collaborating partner in this research and is ‘a multi-award-winning theatre and drama education company, dedicated to the exploration of Muslim heritage and inter-faith literature and the experiences of Muslims in the modern world for the stage, screen, radio, and publishing’, Ali (2021)1. The research will also analyse other key Muslim theatre makers across Britain. It will examine the scope of this work and discuss the benefits, challenges, and pitfalls, as well as give it a stronger public profile, credibility, and voice in British theatre. ‘The research will develop a better understanding of the ways in which different sectors of British Muslim society have made use of the theatre, the patterns of cultural consumption and engagement that have shaped that use, and the values it holds for that community.
To map out pathways through which British Muslims have developed their engagement with theatre over 25 years, as spectators, artists, critics, and as a public, and to better understand the social and cultural forces that have made these pathways possible.
To identify the ways in which the British theatrical field can further develop its relationship with the Muslim community and to offer the knowledge as a consultant to theatre-makers, funders, and policymakers’, Manchester Metropolitan University (2022).
The key research questions are:

  • Understanding the value of British Muslim theatre-making to the British Muslim communities.
  • Asking what is the value to British Muslim communities in having a voice in British theatre?
  • What are the social, cultural, economic, theological, historical, and regional factors that influence British Muslim communities’ engagement with theatre?

Research Interests

British Muslim communities,
British Muslim immigration,
Khayaal Theatre Company,
British Muslim theatre-making,
transcendental Islamic theatre,
institutionalised censorship,
hybridity and the 3rd space.


Manchester Metropolitan University Judge’s Choice Runner-Up 3MT 2022: ‘Smashing the Glass-ceiling’.
Manchester Metropolitan University’s ‘Images of Research’: ‘I have a Voice’.
Manchester Metropolitan University ‘PGR Shaping the Future conference’.
Manchester Metropolitan University ‘PAHC Symposium – ‘“Bad fences make bad neighbours”: transcending disciplinary constraints in post-graduate research”.

Co-written a book review article on the ‘Routledge Companion to Audiences and the Performing Arts’, for the ‘Cultural Trends’ journal, May 2023.


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