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During the 1980s Alan worked at Dartington College of Arts curating the Council of Europe Workshop on Theatre and Communities, and at Rotherhithe Theatre Workshop in London Docklands running a neighbourhood space for performance. In the 1990s he lived and worked in Barcelona researching Catalan festival culture, returned to London to direct the Talks Programme at the Institute of Contemporary Arts staging events with leading writers, artists, musicians and thinkers, and subsequently was appointed Professor of Theatre at Roehampton University. In 2006 Alan became the first Professor of Theatre in the 175 year history of King’s College London and established the Performance Foundation developing the Anatomy Theatre & Museum on the Strand and the Inigo Rooms in the East Wing of Somerset House. Alan has received Major Research Awards from the Council of Europe, the Leverhulme Foundation, the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the EPSRC. A detailed profile of Alan’s collaborations with artists, academics and public institutions can be found here:

Research Interests and PhD Supervisions

Alan works as a writer and researcher in the fields of theatre, performance, urban theory and cultural activism. His scholarly interests are in:

  • ethics and the everyday
  • performed communities
  • event architecture
  • subjectivities of capitalism

He has a record of successful PhD supervisions and completions in the field including work by Simon Bayly on pathognomies of performance, John Matthews on the life of training, Georgina Guy on the displayed and the performed, Karen Quigley on the unstageable,  Ioli Andreadi on the Anastenaria fire festival, Bryony White on the legal layover and contemporary performance. Alan welcomes enquires about PhD research in these and related theatre fields.

Alan welcomes applications for PhD topics related to any of his research interests. For more details, please see Alan's full research profile.


Alan teaches long-running modules at undergraduate and postgraduate level that respond to the city as a creative classroom. Theatre Capital engages on-site with cultural institutions such as Tate Modern, the Freud Museum, the Vinyl Factory at 100 Strand, the Royal Courts of Justice and the Whitechapel Art Gallery. Performance Philosophy and Guided Study take the current performance and cultural repertoire in London as a starting point for thinking through theatre about politics, ethics and activism.

Expertise and public engagement 

Alan is a regular contributor to the media writing essays for broadcast on BBC Radio 4, contributing as a commentator to current theatre debates in the Independent newspaper, and offering pieces on pandemic politics and performance on channels such as Arirang in Seoul. His work over four decades has operated at the interface between urban communities and the potential for cultural practice and political recognition. Performed Communities was a five year project directed by Alan supported by the AHRC exploring rational architecture, housing estates and performance histories which culminated in a week-long public project Civic Centre involving 150 international artist participants and cross-London institutions. Engineering Spectacle was a three-year research programme supported by the Leverhulme Trust archeologically retrieving the early modern history of Inigo Jones’ performances at Denmark House and their relations with the current development of Somerset House as an ‘event landscape’. More recently Alan has concentrated his work at the interface between legal process and performance with particular interest to the Public Inquiry in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire, the history of ‘damages’ in aesthetic practices and the limit conditions of languages of theatre.

Selected publications

  • Theatre & Everyday Life: An Ethics of Performance (1993)
  • Theatre, Intimacy & Engagement: The Last Human Venue (2008)
  • Theatre in the Expanded Field: Seven Approaches to Performance (2014)
  • Theatre & Law (2016)
  • The Dark Theatre: A Book About Loss (2020)