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The academic

Dr Zachary Dunbar is Associate Professor of Theatre, and Performing Arts Research Convenor, Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, University of Melbourne. 


After training as a concert pianist, Zachary's interest in theatre-making and music led to research in Greek tragedy. He completed a PhD (Royal Holloway, University of London) which was an interdisciplinary study tracing ideas in science, music and theatre through historical formulations of the Greek tragic chorus. As Senior Lecturer in Music Theatre at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, he taught integrative acting approaches in musical theatre, taught and directed Greek tragedy, and co-designed the Writing for Musical theatre curriculum for the MA Writing programme. He has several scholarly publications in the field of music theatre, acting and Greek tragedy.


Zachary has served on the selection committee of the UK Fulbright Commission, and as reviewer for the UK Leverhulme Trust. He is currently a member of the Australian Fulbright Association, and served on the Melbourne Green Room Awards committee (Music theatre), the advisory board for the recently launched Australian Music Education Board Music Theatre syllabus, and the editorial board of the Studies in Musical Theatre journal. His current research is focused on contemporary actor training, especially within theatre, music theatre, and Greek tragedy.

Areas of Interest
  • Acting methods and approaches

  • History, theory and performance practice of Music Theatre

  • Developing new music theatre (dramaturgy, composition)

  • History, performance and reception of ancient Greek drama

  • Science and Theatre (History of ideas)

  • Classical music and performance training

  • Research skills and pedagogy in Research Higher Degrees (PaR)


2002 – 06

1989 – 90

1987 – 89

1980 – 84       

PhD – Drama and Theatre Studies

Royal Holloway, University of London

Adv Dip (U.S. Fulbright Scholar)

Royal College of Music;


Yale University, School of Music

BA Music (High Honours)

Rollins College

Academic Positions





















(University of Melbourne)


Associate Professor of Theatre

Performing Arts Graduate Research 


Senior Lecturer in Theatre

  Research Higher Degrees Coordinator

Interim Head of Theatre

  Senior Lecturer in Music Theatre

Royal Central School

of Speech & Drama

Senior Lecturer in Music Theatre

Lecturer in Music Theatre

Visiting Lecturer in MA Performance 


University of Sussex

Visiting Lecturer in Greek Tragedy

Middlesex University

Visiting Lecturer in Music

Haileybury College, UK


Professional Memberships and Activities
  • Green Room Awards Committee, Music Theatre (2015 - present)

  • Australian Music Examinations Board (AMEB), Music Theatre series (2015)

  • Editorial Board, Studies in Musical Theatre Journal (2015- present)

  • Australian Fulbright Scholars Association (2014- present)

  • Glorias Scholarship (NIDA), selection panel

  • Mercury Musical Developments: Professional Associate (2005 – 2014)

  • British Fulbright Scholars Association: Scholarship Application Reviewer (2008 – 2014)

  • UK Leverhulme Trust: grant reviewer

External Examiner
  • BA (Hons) Drama Programme, School of Culture, St. Mary's University College, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, Middlesex, TW1 4SX (2011-14)

  • FD and BA Musical Theatre, BA (Hons) Bath Spa University, Newton Park, Bath, BA2 9BN (2014)



Greek Tragedy and the Contemporary Actor (Book) 

2020 Winner of the Rob Jordan Award from ADSA (Australasian Drama Studies Association) for ‘the best book on a theatre, drama or performance studies-related subject published in the previous two years’. ADSA is the peak academic association promoting the study of drama in any performing medium throughout the region. 

with Stephe Harrop (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2019).

ISBN 978-3-319-95471-4


How do you Solve a Problem like the Chorus: Hammerstein’s Allegro and the reception of Greek Tragedy on Broadway (Book Chapter)

in Choruses, Ancient and Modern, eds. Joshua Billings, Felix Budelmann, and Fiona Macintosh (Oxford University Press, 2013), pp. 243-58.


Speaking Text in Postdramatic Theatre: some reflections

(Book Chapter)

in Theatre Noise: The Sound of Performance, eds. Lynne Kendrick, David Roesner (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012), pp. 164-73.


Stanislavski’s System in Musical Theatre Actor Training: anomalies of acting song (Journal Article)

in Stanislavski Studies, 4.1 (London: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, 2016)


Dionysian Reflections upon A Chorus Line (Journal Article)

in Studies in Musical Theatre, Vol. 4, No. 2 (Intellect Ltd., 2011), pp. 155-69; ISSN 1750 - 3159.


Sound and Visions:

Performing the Nocturnal Voice of Chopin (Book Chapter)

in Mantic Perspectives: Oracles, Prophecy and Performance, ed. Krzysztof Bielawski (Gardzienice, Poland: Artes Liberales and Homini, 2016).


Music Theatre and Musical Theatre (Book Chapter)

in The Cambridge Companion to Theatre History, eds. David Wiles, and Christine Dymkowski (Cambridge University Press, 2013), pp. 197-201.


From à la carte to Convergence: Symptoms of Interdisciplinarity in Reception Theory (Book Chapter)

in Theorising Performance: Greek Drama, Cultural History, and Critical Practice, eds. Edith Hall, Stephe Harrop (Duckworth, 2010), pp. 85-94.

ISBN 978-0715638262


Practice-as-Research in Musical Theatre: reviewing the situation (Journal Article)

in Studies in Musical Theatre, Vol. 8, No. 2 (Intellect Ltd., 2014), pp. 57-75; ISSN 1750-3159.

Book Reviews


by Christina Gutekunst and John Gillett. In Stanislavski Studies, (4) May (2014), p. 195.


Mask and Performance in Greek Tragedy (Cambridge University Press, 2007)

by David Wiles. In Didaskali: Ancient Theatre Today (2007).


Oedipus Tyrannus and

The Ancient Dancer in the Modern World: Responses to Greek and Roman Dance (Oxford University Press, 2010)

by Fiona Macintosh. In New Theatre Quarterly, 28 (1) (2012), p. 99.


Theatre and Citizenship: a history of practice (Cambridge University Press, 2011)

by David Wiles. In New Theatre Quarterly, 27 (3) (2011), pp. 295-6.

Conference Presentations

Acting Greek Tragedy: Merging Contemporary Approaches


in the international Stanislavski conference (Prague, 24th-26th March 2017), “The S Word: Merging Methodologies”; and pursuing creative and research-based activities in London (18-23 March 2017).

Sweet Sour Charity: some reflections on a Sinofied American musical’

Song, Stage and Screen VII, Leiden, Netherlands (2012).

The Politics of the Musical Chorus

in Choruses: Ancient and Modern, Archive of Performances of Greek & Roman Drama, University of Oxford (2010).

Melodic Intentions: speaking text in postdramatic multimedia dance theatre

Central School of Speech and Drama; Theatre Noise Conference (2009).

Aspects of Chaos and Complexity: Science and the Modern Tragic Chorus

British Society of Literature and Science, University of Birmingham (2007).

Investigating a paradigm shift in Stanislavski’s System through musical theatre actor training – the emotional issue

(Chair) in panel 'Stanislavski, Actor Training and Musical Theatre’, in The “S Word”: Stanislavski and the future of Acting. An International Symposium’, Rose Bruford, UK, (2016).

Concert Music Theatre

Rose Bruford College; 3rd International Conference 
Music on Stage (2010).

Why Theatre History? - Music Theatre

Royal Holloway (University of London); two-day symposium on Theatre History in conjunction with forthcoming publication of the Cambridge Companion to Theatre History (2010).

The Music’s the Thing: Harrison Birtwistle in Peter Hall’s 1981 Production of Aeschylus’ Orestei

European Network of Research and Documentation of 
Performances of Ancient Greek Drama, Epidauros, Greece (2007).

All Mouth, No Body: Stravinsky’s Oedipus in the Quantum Era

Royal Holloway Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama, University of Oxford (2006).

The Musical Actor – Beyond Stanislavski

Music Theatre Working Group, ‘Theatre and Stratification’, IFTR Warwick, UK (2014).

'Authoring Song', a lecture-demonstration of an original song cycle, Dog Day Afternoon and collaborative processes used to generate the music

Authoring Theatre conference, 
Central School of Speech & Drama (2011). 

One Singular Sensation: Dionysian Rhythms of A Chorus Line

Royal Holloway; 10th anniversary of the APGRD postgraduate conference (2010).

A Brief History of the Singing Tragic Chorus: the word-tone relationship

Song, Stage & Screen II, International Conference, University of Leeds (2007).

Conference Curator/Organiser

What We Do When We Do What We Do: Process and Performance in Musical Theatre


Annual international Song, Stage and Screen VIII conference, in association with the Studies in Musical Theatre journal (Intellect Ltd.); Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (2013).

Annual international postgraduate symposium in ancient and modern Greek and Roman drama

Co-organised by the Archives of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama (APGRD), U. of Oxford and RCSSD (2012; 2013; 2014)

Concert Theatre: practices and processes in theatre by actor-instrumentalists

One-day symposium; RCSSD (2010).

Programme Notes


Sweeney Todd


Victorian Opera, Melbourne

(July 2015).

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