Anna Furse has been working in the Department of Theatre and Performance for almost twenty years. She directs the MA in Performance Making and recently created the new BA in Comedy and Satire. She is Co-Director of The Centre of the Body, an interdisciplinary hub for investigating issues of the body. An award-winning professional theatre director and writer, she continues to make new works internationally with her company Athletes of the Heart. Her research interests include feminist performance, as a pioneer of women’s experimental theatre from the late 1970s. More recently, some of her key investigations have moved towards exploring the overlaps between theatre and medicine from cultural perspectives.
- PhD Performance and Medicine, Leeds Metropolitan
- PGCE Drama, Goldsmiths, University of London
- BA Hons French and Drama, University of Bristol
Anna has taught throughout her 4-decade career, as a visiting tutor in numerous drama schools and universities including Dartingon College, De Monfort University, Drama Centre, Central School of Speech and Drama, Trinity College Dublin, Javeriana University, Bogota, Ambedkar University, Delhi, DEREE, Athens, and Rose Bruford College, where she was Head of Movement for four years in the 1980s. Prior to Goldsmiths she was an academic at London Metropolitan University for four years. She has taught freelance internationally in many European countries, China, Colombia, India, Lebanon, Singapore and the USA, with regular commissions to direct performance workshops leading to public performance. Her teaching is informed by her commitment to the ethics of collaboration, equality and inclusion and to students researching and taking responsibility for their own learning through guided praxis research.
Anna was one of the mere handful of women directors in the UK in the early 1980’s, pioneering the fusion of European physical theatres and feminist issues with her company BloodGroup, touring internationally and with a London home at the ICA. She was Artistic Director of the new writing company Paines Plough 1990 - 1995, directing international touring productions and pioneering the now accepted practice of writers collaborating across disciplines and in site specific contexts, through her School Without Walls and Pre-Text Laboratories. With Paines Plough she worked in France, creating a major production to inaugurate a new venue in Chalon Sur Saone in 1992, as Consultant at the Comédie de Caen, and presenting her productions at the Théâtre de La Metaphore, Lille and the Théâtre de Gennevilliers, Paris. A director of over fifty-five productions and published playwright, she was among the first of her generation to straddle dance and theatre, given her background at the Royal Ballet School and subsequent involvement with new dance as performer, and as founder member of Chisenhale Dance Space and activist, writer and editor with New Dance Magazine. Anna continues to produce new performance projects, having just completed a three-year Artist Residency with CREATE Ireland's EU-funded Collaborative Arts Partnership Programme (CAPP) for Live Collision Festival, Dublin.
Anna is a frequent speaker and keynote at international conferences, and publishes chapters in journals and books. She is on the Editorial Board of Goldsmiths Press and Advisory Board for Digital Theatre Plus.
- I am Not a Piece of Meat, 2018 (digital artwork including production)
- Theatre in Pieces, Politics, Poetics and Interdisciplinary Collaboration, Methuen, 2011 (book)
- Shocks at Craiglockhart 2018 (production)
- Performing Nerves, four plays, four essays Routledge 2020 (book)
Areas of supervision
Anna supervises practice research in a broad range of body-related issues including costume, maternity, storytelling, medicine, choreography and performance methodologies.
Furse, Anna F. D.. 2018. Anna Furse Performs An Anatomy Act: A Show and Tell. In: "Anna Furse Performs An Anatomy Act: A Show and Tell", Chisenhale Dance Space, London, United Kingdom.
Furse, Anna F. D.. 2018. Anna Furse Performs An Anatomy Act: A Show and Tell - UK and International Touring 2018. In: "Anna Furse Performs An Anatomy Act: A Show and Tell - UK and International Touring 2018", Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, April-June 2018.
Furse, Anna F. D.. 2016. Performance Making Intensive Laboratory with Anna Furse. In: "Other People's Shoes / Public Talk / Weekend Symposium on Activism", Michael Cacoyiannis Foundation, Greece, 7/7/2016-17/7/2016.
Furse, Anna F. D.. 2014. Hospital Drama: Visual Theatres of the Medical Rendezvous from Asylum to Hospital with Reference to Specific Works by Anna Furse. Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, 39(3), pp. 238-257. ISSN 0308-0188
Furse, Anna F. D.. 2011. In Every Litre of Seawater There are Two Tablespoons of Salt… On Making SEA/WOMAN. Women: A Cultural Review, 22(4), pp. 411-427. ISSN 0957-4042
Furse, Anna F. D.. 2010. Don.Juan.Who?/ Don.Juan. Kdo?: From Cyberspace to Theatre Space. Gender Forum, 31(n/a), e-e. ISSN 1613-1878
Furse, Anna F. D.. 2020. Performing Nerves: Four Plays, Four Essays, On Hysteria. Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN 9781138389366
Furse, Anna F. D.. 2020. Birth, Copulation and Death: Feminist Theatre and Performance Practice across Four Decades. In: Jan Sewell and Clare Smout, eds. The Palgrave Handbook of the History of Women on Stage. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 487-506. ISBN 9783030238278
Furse, Anna F. D.. 2018. Foreword to Performance Drawing: New Practices since the 1960s. In: Jane Grisewood, ed. Performance Drawing: New Practices since the 1960s. London: Bloomsbury.
Furse, Anna F. D.. 2016. Yerma's Eggs 2003. In: Lena Šimić and Emily Underwood-Lee, eds. Live Art and Motherhood: A Study Room Guide on Live Art and the Maternal. London: Live Art Development Agency, pp. 9-11.
Furse, Anna F. D.. 2016. Yerma's Eggs / Subfertility. In: Lena Simic and Emily Underwood-Lee, eds. Live Art & Motherhood: A Study Room Guide on Live Art and the Maternal. Live Art Development Agency, pp. 9-10.
Furse, Anna F. D.. 2013. Retracing Our Steps... On When We Were Birds, A Work in Progress. In: Nicola Shaughnessy, ed. Affective Performance and Cognitive Science: Body, Brain and Being. London: Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, pp. 57-68. ISBN 978-1-4081-8577-3
Furse, Anna F. D.. 2013. Independent Theatre as a Political Position. In: Rolf C. Hemke, ed. Theatre In The Arab World / Theater im arabischen Sprachraum. Gemany: Theater der Zeit, pp. 104-107. ISBN 978-3-943881-28-8
Furse, Anna F. D.. 2011. Making A Spectacle of Herself: Charcot’s Augustine and the Hysteric Dance. In: Johannes Birringer and Josephine (Hg.) Fenger, eds. Dance & Choreomania. Leipzig: Henschel, pp. 197-210. ISBN 978-3-89487-710-1
Furse, Anna F. D.. 2011. Making a Spectacle of Herself: Charcot’s Augustine and the hysteric dance. In: Johannes Birringer and Josephine Fenger, eds. Dance & Choreomania. Henschel. ISBN 9783894877101
Furse, Anna F. D.. 2006. Performing in Glass: Reproduction, Technology, Performance and the Bio-Spectacular. In: Geraldine Harris and Elaine Aston, eds. Feminist Futures? Theatre, Performance, Theory. Basingstoke; New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 149-168. ISBN 9781403945327 HB 9781403945334 PB
Furse, Anna F. D.. 2002. Those Who Can Do Teach. In: Maria M. Delgado and Caridad Svich, eds. Theatre in Crisis? Performance Manifestos for a New Century. Manchester; New York: University of Manchester Press, pp. 64-73. ISBN 978-0719062919
Furse, Anna F. D.. 2000. A Spectacle of Suffering. In: Graham Coulter-Smith; James A. Walker and Maurice Owen, eds. The Visual-Narrative Matrix: Interdisciplinary Collisions and Collusions. Southampton: Southampton Institute of Higher Education, pp. 73-77. ISBN 978-1874011095
Conference or Workshop Item
Furse, Anna F. D.. 2019. 'Telling the Story of our Bodies, this will be an audio-visual presentation that animates a digital site: http://www.iamnotapieceofmeat.com/.'. In: Storytelling and the Body, Progressive Connections. Verona, Italy July 2019.
Furse, Anna F. D.. 2018. 'Being Touched - Theatre as Ethical Practice'. In: Encuentro Javeriano de Arte y Creatividad. Facultad de Artes Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogota, Colombia 11th September 2018.
Furse, Anna F. D.. 2018. 'An Anatomy Act: On death, anatomy and the status of the cadaver'. In: Death and Culture II. University of York, United Kingdom 6-7 September 2018.
Furse, Anna F. D.. 2018. 'Workshop: I Am Not A Piece Of Meat: Writing the Body'. In: CAPP Practice and Power. Create Dublin, Ireland 20th - 23rd June 2018.
Furse, Anna F. D.. 2018. 'The Body Spectacular: Hysteria, Subfertility, Anatomy and the Prosthetic Gaze'. In: Neurohumanities Seminar Series. Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.
Furse, Anna F. D.. 2018. 'Her Spectacular Body: hysteria, subfertility, anatomy and the prosthetic gaze'. In: Her Spectacular Body. Amsterdam University College, Netherlands 28th March 2018.
Furse, Anna F. D.. 2018. 'Theatre as a Model of Collaborative Process and Ethical Framework'. In: Staging Europe - Europe on stage. Universite de Nantes, France 16th - 17th February 2018.
Furse, Anna F. D. and Kemp, Dawn. 2017. 'Interiority: an exploration of the inward gaze 3 interdisciplinary talks'. In: INTERIORITY An Exploration of the Inward Gaze. The Old Operating Theatre Museum, United Kingdom 15 - 16 September 2017.
Furse, Anna F. D.. 2014. 'Artist Talk on collaboration'. In: Success and failure in collaborative project and how they are measured from an artist, critics and participants perspective. Dublin, Ireland 1 December 2014.
Furse, Anna F. D. and Bosch, Susanne. 2019. create-news-26-anna-furse-i-am-not-a-piece-of-meat.
Furse, Anna F. D., ed. 2011. THEATRE IN PIECES: POLITICS, POETICS AND INTERDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATION. AN ANTHOLOGY OF PLAY TEXTS, 1966-2010. London: Methuen. ISBN 978-1-4081-3996-7
Furse, Anna F. D., ed. 2010. Gender and Performance: Theatre / Dance / Technology, Gender Forum: An Internet Journal for Gender Studies, 31.