My research is fundamentally concerned with the material contexts that inform and shape theatre and performance. This is what drew me to the study of immersive theatre, and it still informs my thinking today.
I’m currently working on an AHRC ECR Fellowship called 'Staging Decadence: Decadent theatre in the long twentieth century' (https://www.stagingdecadence.com/). Over the next few years I’ll be developing a new monograph exploring how theatre makers and live artists have been over-identifying with the tempos and rhythms of twenty-first-century capitalism (Bloomsbury, 2023), an anthology of Decadent Plays (co-edited with Jane Desmarais: Bloomsbury, 2023), and a special issue of Volupté: Interdisciplinary Journal of Decadence Studies on ‘Decadence and Performance’ (co-edited with Alex Trott, 2021). We will be announcing events on the Staging Decadence website, and keep an eye out for posts and interviews on the blog!
- PhD Drama and Theatre, Royal Holloway 2013
- MA International Performance Research, Universities of Warwick and Amsterdam 2010
- BA Theatre and Performance Studies, University of Warwick 2008
Teaching and Supervision
My research cuts across three core areas: immersive theatre, performances that take place in complete darkness, and decadence in contemporary theatre and live art.
I was initially motivated to explore immersive theatre around the time of the 2008 financial crash. I wanted to know why those specialising in immersive practices were able to thrive when so many other styles and forms of theatre were struggling, particularly in the wake of substantive cuts to public arts funding. This resulted in my first book, Beyond Immersive Theatre (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), alongside a number of articles and chapters. I was also working collaboratively with Martin Welton between 2014 and 2017 on a related project exploring darkness and obscured vision in theatre and performance, which led to the publication of Theatre in the Dark: Shadow, Gloom and Blackout in Contemporary Theatre (Bloomsbury, 2017).
More recently, I've been focusing on decadence in theatre and live art. This research has several strands linked in the main to an AHRC ECR Fellowship called 'Staging Decadence: Decadent theatre in the long twentieth century' (https://www.stagingdecadence.com/). I’m developing a monograph that looks at how theatre makers and live artists have been over-identifying with the rhythms of twenty-first-century capitalism (Bloomsbury, 2023). I’ll also be co-editing a special issue of Volupté: Interdisciplinary Journal of Decadence Studies (https://volupte.gold.ac.uk/) on ‘Decadence and Performance’ (Winter 2021), and a new anthology of Decadent Plays, co-edited with Jane Desmarais (Bloomsbury, 2023) and with new translations supported by ACE. Finally, the AHRC will be supporting the development of an exciting range of projects and events including seminars, a documentary, and live performance salons. The salons will be staged at HERE Arts Centre in New York in September 2021, and at Rich Mix in London in January 2022, with further details TBA.
Further profile content
I am a Creative Associate with the devised, science-led theatre company Curious Directive. Curious is now a National Portfolio Organisation, and all of our projects grow out of close collaborations with a range of specialists including health workers and advisers, neuroscientists and even myrmecologists (those who study ants). You can find out more about the company here: https://www.curiousdirective.com/
I am a trustee of the 'recovering theatre company' Fast Familiar (formerly fanSHEN). Fast Familiar's work is experience-led, and usually incorporates participatory or interactive forms of audience engagement using innovative technologies and experimental dramaturgies. You can find out more about them here: https://fastfamiliar.com/
More recently I've been working as a dramaturg with Studio Will Dutta on a new project called Pleasure Gardens, which is a multimedia work exploring decadence and excess in digital cultures. http://studiowilldutta.art/
Goldsmiths Research Centres/Groups
Grants and awards
Staging Decadence: Decadent theatre in the long twentieth century
Staging Decadence: Decadent theatre in the long twentieth century is a two-year research projected funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. It looks at how theatre makers have been engaging
Arts Council England are generously supporting translations for an anthology of Decadent Plays, which will be published with Bloomsbury in 2023, as well as sharings of work in development.
Selected shorter publications
See the Staging Decadence Blog for various posts and artist interviews: https://www.stagingdecadence.com/blog
'On sick performance and theatre’s chronic maladies', Rimbaud & Verlaine Foundation Blog, 11 February 2021.
‘Safety, Risk and Speculation in the Immersive Industry’, ‘Interventions’, Contemporary Theatre Review, July 2019. Available at: https://www.contemporarytheatrereview.org/2019/safety-risk-and-speculation-in-the-immersive-industry/
Scenes from Bourgeois Life. By Nicholas Ridout. Theatre Research International. Forthcoming.
Spellbound: Magic, Ritual and Witchcraft, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 31 August 2018 – 6 January 2019’, Volupté: Interdisciplinary Journal of Decadence Studies, 1 (2) (2018), 155-60.
Authenticity in Contemporary Theatre and Performance: Make it Real. By Daniel Schulze. New Theatre Quarterly 34 (1): 91.
The Art of Light on Stage. By Yaron Abulafia. Theatre and Performance Design, 2.3/4 (2016): 341-42.
Audience Participation in Theatre: Aesthetics of the Invitation. By Gareth White. Contemporary Theatre Review 24.1 (2014): 115-16.
Fair Play: Art, Performance and Neoliberalism. By Jen Harvie. Theatre Research International. (2014).
Immersive Theatres: Intimacy and Immediacy in Contemporary Performance. By Josephine Machon. Theatre Research International (2014).
Performance in the Blockades of Neoliberalism: Thinking the Political Anew. By Maurya Wickstrom. Performance Research 19.5 (2014).