DR Zachary Dunbar

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  • Academic

Research expertise

  • Acting Methods in Music Theatre (Actor Performance training, Musicality, Ensemble)
  • Developing New Music Theatre (Dramaturgy, Composition)
  • History and Performance of Ancient Greek Drama (Classical reception theory, Ancient and Modern performance)
  • History of Music Theatre
  • Science and Theatre (History of Ideas)
Zachary Dunbar trained as a concert pianist in the U.S. He studied piano at Rollins College (Thomas Brockman, Sylvia Reynolds, master classes with Gary Graffman, Guido Agosti) and also completed an Honors thesis in philosophy and religion. During his studies he was a winner of state and regional prizes, and also played professionally for musical productions. He subsequently enrolled as a scholarship student at Yale University School of Music (Claude Frank, Peter Frankl), where he won the most outstanding piano recital prize. He was also a member of the Honours piano trio and received regular coaching from the Tokyo String Quartet. He subsequently won a Fulbright scholarship to the Royal College of Music (Kendall Taylor). For many years he pursued a concert career while developing a freelance theatre practice spanning several genres: radio drama (BBC 4), Greek tragedy, mainstream musical theatre, plays, Beijing opera, postdramatic soundscape theatre, and dance theatre. In the UK, he joined theatre workshops and master classes mainly with Complicité theatre (Annabel Arden, Marcello Magni) and Voicemotions (Guy Dartnell). His original works, which he has written and directed, have been produced at the Pleasance Theatre, Bloomsbury Theatre, Brighton Underbelly, Embassy Theatre, Camden People’s Theatre, several Edinburgh-fringe productions (Fringe-First nominated), and the prestigious Jungehunde festival (Denmark). He also has over twenty-five years of experience as an MD, most recently Charlotte Jones’ The Diva in Me (Brighton Pavilion Theatre – Argus Angel Award, UK tour). As director, recent productions include Euripides’ Bacchai (Royal Central School of Speech and Drama) and sold out performances of Martin Crimp’s The Country (London Camden Festival). His most recent play, Florida, an investigation into the queerness of masculinity, had a performed reading at La Mama (2016). He has given master classes in acting through song in London, Santiago, Toronto, and New Yor k Dr. Dunbar has scholarly publications in the field of music theatre and Greek tragedy. His PhD (University of London) was an interdisciplinary study tracing ideas in science, music and theatre space through historical formulations of the tragic chorus in productions of Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus. Current research is focused on contemporary actor training in music theatre and Greek tragedy, and also new music theatre writing. He is also on the editorial board of the Studies in Musical Theatre journal. He held the post of Senior Lecturer in Music Theatre at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama where he taught integrative acting approaches in musical theatre and also taught and directed Greek tragedy on Central’s MA Acting course. He also co-designed the Writing for Musical theatre curriculum for the MA Writing programme at Central. He has served on the selection committee of the UK Fulbright Commission, and as reviewer for the UK Leverhulme Trust. He currently serves on the Melbourne Green Room Awards committee (Music theatre), and the advisory board for the recently launched Australian Music Education Board Music Theatre syllabus.

Subject Areas

  • Music
  • Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies
  • The Performing Arts (incl. Theatre and Dance)

Available for supervision

Supervision offered in the areas of history, theory and performance practices in music theatre (acting, composing, writing, theatre-making, repetiteur, and opera) and also in Greek tragedy (ancient and modern reception, chorus, adaptation, reception, acting approaches). I am also interested in interdisciplinary links between science, music and theatre. I continue my research and creative practice as a director, writer and composer in Australia and in the UK.

Contact Details

Phone Number: +61 3 8344 4972
email: zdunbar@unimelb.edu.au


Outtakes Antigone / Bacchai
Start: Monday, July 29th 2013 End: Wednesday, July 31st 2013
Start: Friday, August 7th 2009 End: Friday, August 14th 2009


Research Book Chapters

DUNBAR Z (2015), Sounds and Visions: Performing the Nocturnal Voice of Chopin (Perspektywy mantyczne: wyrocznie, proroctwa i performatyka). , Mantic Perspectives: Oracles, Prophecies, and Performance Studies (Perspektywy Mantyczne: Wyrocznie, Proroctwa I Performatyka) (ISBN:978-83-942604-1-5)
DUNBAR Z (2013), How do You Solve a Problem like the Chorus: Hammerstein's Allegro and the reception of Greek Tragedy on Broadway. In BILLINGS J, BUDELMANN F, MACINTOSH F (Eds.), Choruses, Ancient and Modern, Oxford University Press (ISBN:9780199670574)
DUNBAR Z (2012), Music Theatre and Musical Theatre. In WILES D, DYMKOWSKI C (Eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Theatre History, Cambridge University Press (ISBN:9780521149839)

Journal Articles Refereed

DUNBAR Z (2016), Stanislavski’s system in musical theatre actor training: anomalies of acting song, Vol 4, Issue 1 , DOI: 10.1080/20567790.2016.1155366
DUNBAR Z (2014), Practice as research in musical theatre reviewing the situation, Studies in Musical Theatre, Vol 8, Issue 1 , DOI: 10.1386/smt.8.1.57_1
DUNBAR Z (2011), Review: David Wiles, Theatre and Citizenship: a history of practice, Vol 27, Issue 3
DUNBAR Z (2010), Dionysian Reflections upon “A Chorus Line”, Studies in Musical Theatre, Vol 4, Issue 2 , DOI: 10.1386/smt.4.2.155_1

Book Chapters Other

DUNBAR Z (2012), Melodic Intentions: Speaking Text in Postdramatic Theatre: some reflections. In KENDRICK L, ROESNER D (Eds.), Theatre Noise: The Sound of Performance, Cambridge Scholars Press
DUNBAR Z (2010), From à la carte to Convergence: Symptoms of Interdisciplinarity in Reception Theory. In HALL E, HARROP S (Eds.), Theorising Performance: Greek Drama, Cultural History and Critical Practice

Journal Articles

DUNBAR Z (2010), Review: David Wiles, Theatre and Citizenship: a history of practice (Cambridge U. Press, 2011)
DUNBAR Z (2010), Review: Fiona Macintosh, Oedipus Tyrannus and Fiona Macintosh, ed. The Ancient Dancer in the Modern World: Responses to Greek and Roman Dance

Other Refereed Contribution to Refereed Journals

DUNBAR Z (2014), Christina Gutekunst and John Gillett, Voice into Acting: Integrating voice and the Stanislavski Approach, Vol 2, Issue 2 , DOI: 10.1080/20567790.2014.11419730

Publications of Creative Research

DUNBAR Z (2007), The Ballad of Eddy Tyrone



Florida, La Mama, A play exploring the queerness of masculinity.


The Country, London


Outtakes Antigone/ The Bacchai, Embassy Theatre


The Diva in Me, Various- Brighton, UK Tour, London

Education and Training

  • PHD IN DRAMA AND THEATRE PHD , University of London, 2007
  • MASTERS DEGREE IN MUSIC MA MUSIC , Yale University, 1988
  • BACHELOR DEGREE IN MUSIC BA MUSIC , Rollins College, 1984

Awards and honours

  • PhD Three-year Scholarship (Royal Holloway, London), 2002
  • Fulbright Scholar (Royal College of Music, London), 1988
  • Best Piano Recital (Yale University), 1987
Most recent grant funding IRRTF (University of Melbourne) RV $7500—Munich-Melbourne: Interactive Composition- pilot study of collaborative processes FSGS (University of Melbourne) $4700—Pilot translation of Sweet Charity into Mandarin FSGS (University of Melbourne) $2500-- Stanislavski Conference, London, UK: Chaired Panel on Musical Theatre; Presented conference paper