Research interests include: the histories of theatre, performance and poverty; contemporary theatre practice and economic justice; activist theatre and protest performance; applied theatre and performance, especially with young people living with risk; and research methodologies in applied theatre and theatre studies.
My current research is focused on an AHRC funded research project on 'creative towns' (with Professor Helen Nicholson - Royal Holloway, University of London). 'Civic Theatres: A Place for Towns' aims to support a national conversation about the civic role of theatres in towns, asking challenging questions about the resurgence of the 'civic ideal' in an era of ongoing economic austerity and social fragmentation. Follow us on twitter @creativetowns
The Creative Towns project builds in part on an earlier Arts and Humanities Research Council Fellowship exploring theatre, performance and economic precarity (2014 - 2016). Examining the relationships between theatre and poverty across various historical and geographical junctures, with a starting point of the New Poor Law (1834), the research generated a series of publications and a research website, including a free online database with more than 200 items relating to theatre and economic justice projects in the UK and internationally. The database and more information from the research can be accessed here – www.manchester.ac.uk/poortheatres
Publications include: a collection of essays edited with Helen Nicholson, Critical Perspectives in Applied Theatre (Cambridge University Press, 2016); a monograph, Performance in a time of terror (Manchester University Press, 2011); and a co-authored book (with James Thompson and Michael Balfour) Performance in place of war (Seagull/Chicago, 2009), alongside various journal articles, research reports and book chapters. My editing projects include the following special issues of journals - 'The House: A Curated Portfolio in Five Parts', Studies in Theatre Performance (37:1, 2017); 'Precariousness and the Performances of Welfare' RIDE: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance (22:1, 2017); and 'Theatre, Performance and Activism: Gestures towards an Equitable World' (with Simon Parry), Contemporary Theatre Review (25:3, 2015).