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Dr Lara Shalson

Lecturer in Theatre & Performance Studies

Tel +44 (0)20 7848 2071

Address Department of English
King's College London
Room 7.34 Virginia Woolf Building
22 Kingsway
London WC2B 6LE

Office hours document available here

Research Interests and PhD supervision

My research is interdisciplinary both in its objects and methods of study.  Focusing primarily on the period of the late 1950s to the present, I write about a range of art forms, including theatre, performance art, live art, film, photography, and conceptual art. I am interested in the relationships between these forms as well as in the languages we use to describe them, and much of my work is concerned with investigating how the discourses coming out of theatre, performance studies, art history, and related disciplines differently frame and understand these art practices.  In addition, I am interested in how theories of performance can help us to understand the social world—from the performativity of everyday life to the staging of particular events including political protest actions. One thing that unites my research is a concern with the politics and ethics of the relations produced by works in particular contexts—whether the relations between audience and performer, viewer and artwork, or object and surrounding environment. This extends to an interest in the ethics of the critical relationship itself—a concern that I have pursued in different ways in articles on the status of judgment in Jacques Derrida’s “Force of Law” essay, and on the relationship between critics and artists in the Women’s One World Festivals of the early 1980s. I work on and with a range of theoretical discourses including performance theory, feminist theory, queer theory, psychoanalysis, and phenomenology.

I am a member of the Performance Research Group at King’s and a member of the board of Performance Studies international (PSi), for which I am co-chair of the Emerging Scholars Committee.

I welcome inquiries from prospective PhD students interested in working on topics in theatre and performance studies and/or gender and sexuality studies. In particular, I welcome applications from students interested in:

  • performance art and live art

  • feminist and queer theory and performance

  • inter-media practices and inquiry

  • performance in the social world, including theories of performativity
  • the ethics and/or politics of theatre and performance practices

For more details, please see my full research profile.
Selected Publications
  • The Ethics of Interpretation: Toward Critique Without Judgment, Colloquy: Text Theory Critique 16 (December 2008) 131-145
  • Creating Community, Constructing Criticism: The Women’s One World Festival 1980 - 1981, Theatre Topics 15:2 (Fall 2005) 

  • Out of Now: The Lifeworks of Tehching Hsieh. Adrian Heathfield and Tehching Hsieh. London and Cambridge, MA: Live Art Development Agency and MIT Press, 2009. Reviewed in TDR: The Drama Review, 54:3 (Fall 2010)
  • Theatre and Politics. Joe Kelleher. Houndmills, Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. Reviewed in Contemporary Theatre Review, 20:2 (Summer 2010)

  • 50+ theatre reviews published in the San Francisco Bay Guardian 2002 - 2005
For a complete list of publications, please see Lara's full research profile.

I teach/have taught the following modules at King’s:


  • Introducing Literary Theories

  • Gender and Performance
  • Art and Language

  • Modern Theatre


  • Imprints of Performance

  • Performance Research Methods
  • Theatre and Performance Theory (beginning 2011-2012)

  • Theatre and Performance Research Methods (beginning 2011-2012)
Expertise and Public Engagement


  • The Chancellor’s Dissertation Year Fellowship, UC Berkeley (2007 - 2008)
  • The Berkeley Fellowship (2002 - 2007) 


  • Designated Emphasis in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Research Grant, UC Berkeley (2005)
  • Consortium for the Arts Curriculum Development Award, UC Berkeley (2005)

  • International Center for Advanced Theater Studies Full Scholarship (2005)
  • University Fellowship, Graduate Center, City University of New York (1999 - 2001)


















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