I am an academic and theatre-maker who has a deep and long-lasting fascination with the theatrical representation and performance of identity. In particular, I have a commitment to studying and producing performance practice around narratives of gender and sexuality. Currently I am Reader in Theatre and Performance, and I also supervise PhD candidates specialising in cutting-edge research around gender, sexuality, identity and performance.
I started working at Central in 1999, before that I studied for an undergraduate degree from Leicester University (Nene College) and MA in Modern Drama Studies from UNL, I then went on to write my PhD on queer reading practices in theatre. Whilst writing my PhD I worked in community theatre in London, Northamptonshire and Leicestershire, and toured experimental shows further afield, at the same time I was employed as a visiting lecturer at a number of institutions, teaching a wide range of drama, theatre and performance subjects. I have a background in making post-dramatic theatre with a number of collaborators and bring this to the work that I direct at Central. I direct and devise small-scale work focussing on contemporary and historical visions of gender, identity and sexuality. In particular, I am drawn to the ways in which popular performance functions for the queer community and study and make work that engages with historical forms of popular performance – so I have an interest in ‘low’ forms of theatre and performance, such as drag and new cabaret, for instance, about which I have published and presented internationally. My commitment to identities and communities extends beyond research and performance into the School’s systems and committees. I have played key roles in the School’s activity around equality and diversity and have engaged with national bodies that work for equality and diversity in the higher education sector. In addition, as part of my role in the School I chair the Ethics Sub-Committee, where I support research integrity and help researchers think through their work in relation to ethical practice. I support research outside the School too – I am on the editorial board of Studies in Theatre and Performance and the Advisory Board of Contemporary Theatre Review.
I have held several external examinerships and worked on validation panels in the UK as well as internationally. My future plans extend my trajectory and I am planning to continue to make performance work about queerness whilst looking to build and develop queer performance networks internationally. My plans also include collaborating with colleagues to present academic work on drag performances.