The mission of Urban Research Theater is to forge new interdisciplinary, international, intersectional solidarities through critical embodied practice. Since 2004 it has served as an umbrella organization for artistic projects created by Ben Spatz and associates.

Urban Research Theater was founded in 2004 in Wroclaw, Poland, as ‘Badawczy Teatr Miejski‘. Since that time it has organized many private and public events in the United States, United Kingdom, and elsewhere.

You can read the original ‘Urban Animal’ manifesto here.

Artistic Director

ben-sky WABCD An Epistemic Context for Martial Arts Practice

Ben Spatz is author of What a Body Can Do: Technique as Knowledge, Practice as Research (Routledge 2015); Arts & Humanities Research Council Leadership Fellow (2016-2018); and Senior Lecturer in Drama, Theatre and Performance at the University of Huddersfield. They convene the Embodied Research Working Group within the International Federation for Theatre Research and edit the new videographic Journal of Embodied Research published by Open Library of Humanities. Recent talks and workshops include a series of performative research presentations with Nazlıhan Eda Erçin and Agnieszka Mendel at University of Leeds, University of Manchester, University of Kent, the Martin E. Segal Theatre Centre at CUNY, NYU Performance Studies, and the Central School of Speech and Drama in London; as well as solo invited talks and workshops at University of Cardiff, University of the Arts Helsinki, University of Aberdeen, Ghent University and elsewhere. Recent and forthcoming articles appear in the journals Performance Philosophy, Contemporary Theatre Review, Liminalities, and South African Theatre Journal.

Current Associates

Sióbhán Harrison (Artistic Associate)

Ilona Krawczyk (PhD Student) is a performer, singer, teacher and researcher. Since 2008 she has been working as a freelance artist in various artistic projects, collaborating with Grotowski Institute (Poland), Musical Theatre CAPITOL (Poland), Anna Zubrzycki Studio (Poland), Brave Festival (Poland), SheWolf Company (UK), and Mechanical Animal Corporation (UK). Ilona graduate from Manchester Metropolitan University (MA in Acting), the course run jointly with Song of the Goat Theatre. She also holds a diploma from Musical Theatre School run by Musical Theatre CAPITOL. As a founder and artistic director of ‘My Fatherland Project’, she was awarded a special scholarship for artists by the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. In her pedagogical work, she continues to explore themes of human rights, respect and intercultural communication beyond words in such projects like Brave Kids and Beyond Borders Festival. As a singer, Ilona has been exploring techniques of singing in various cultures, such as Sephardic, Yiddish, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Romanian, Georgian, Corsican, and Persian. In her research work she is interested in creative exploration of song, embodiment of the voice, vocal expression integrated with the body, emotions and intention in singing. As a PhD researcher at the University of Huddersfield, she is exploring the concept of ‘Embodied Voice’ in singing. The research is supported by the North of England Consortium for Arts and Humanities.

Francesca Placanica (Visiting Research Fellow) is a classical singer with a wide background as a soloist in diverse vocal and instrumental ensembles. Her vocal range and  unique versatility allow her to interpret soprano and coloratura mezzo repertoires, with a growing inclination for en travesti roles. Francesca won the International Solo Voice Competition Seghizzi (2007) in the Category “George Gershwin” and graduated from musical institutions from Italy, UK, USA. She has performed extensively as a soloist in Europe, Canada, USA.  A PhD from University of Southampton and a book author, she is currently an artistic research fellow at National University of Ireland Maynooth, where she is performer, artistic director and project-leader of En-gendering Monodrama: Artistic Research and Experimental Production. See some of Francesca’s work in Huddersfield here.

Past Associates

Jennifer Parkin, Artistic Associate (2014-2015)

Karoliina Sandström, Guest Artist (2014)

Susan Oetgen and Peter Sciscioli, Guest Artists (2013)

Margot Bassett, Guest Artist (2012-2013)

Massimiliano Balduzzi, Associate Director (2008-2012)

Malgosia Szkandera, Guest Artist (2011)

Michele Farbman, Artistic Associate (2006-2009)

Beata Zalewska and Izabela Mlynarz (2004-2005)

Ania Boratyn and Malgorzata Przedzak (2005)

Bartek Bulanda, Kasia Donner, Daniel Jastrzebski, Marek Konopczak, Monika Kuszewska, Barbara Pawlic, Szymon Struzik, and Izabela Walkowiak (2004)



Previous phases of work can be traced back through 15 years of websites:

• Urban Research Theater 2016
• Urban Research Theater 2012
• Urban Research Theater 2009
• Urban Research Theater 2008
• Urban Research Theater 2007
• Urban Research Theater 2006
• junk river productions 2004
• junk river productions 2003

Copyright Notice

All materials on this website © 2004-2017 Ben Spatz / Urban Research Theater plus any additional co-authors.

Many of the materials on this website are available for public use according to the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International license (CC BY-NC 4.0). You are free to share and adapt for noncommercial purposes, provided that you give appropriate credit including the names of all co-authors and a link to this site.

For materials related to the Judaica project, a more detailed Intellectual Property agreement applies.

For other material, especially that which involves guest practitioners and performers as in several theatrical works created prior to 2013, specific permission must be obtained for any usage that exceeds quotation.

Please note that embodied technique is not subject to copyright and may be used freely for any purpose.