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Personal profile

Google Scholar h-Index

6 Last updated 9 August 2022

98 Google Scholar Citations


I studied for a BA (Double Hons) degree in Drama and English at the University of Manchester, before becoming a freelance practitioner, working as a theatre director, teacher, writer and facilitator in community settings. From 1998 – 2003 I was Director of Theatre Education at Mind the Gap theatre company in Bradford, running the company’s innovative training programmes in professional theatre for adults with learning disabilities. From 2002 – 2009 I also performed as Smiley Smacko of The Pierrotters, Britain’s last remaining seaside pierrot troupe.

My research has related to my professional practices. In 2014 I was awarded an MA by the University of Huddersfield for research into the history of two types of performance troupe: the British seaside pierrot; and the Rat Pack in America. I achieved a PhD by Published Work at the University of Warwick in 2017 based on a series of articles and book chapters about learning disabled performers. From 2012 - 2016 I was a co-convenor for the Applied and Social Theatre working group at the Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA). 

Since joining the University of Huddersfield in 2005 I have maintained ongoing links with the theatre industry mostly through memberships of company boards, including Promenade Promotions and Chol Theatre. From 2011 – 2013 I was an Artistic Assessor for Arts Council England, focussing on street theatre and Disability Arts. I am currently Chair of Trustees for Huddersfield's Dark Horse theatre company, and a trustee of Holmfirth Arts Festival.

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Learning disabled performance / performers
  • The history of Disability Arts
  • Theatre of the Oppressed
  • Applied Theatre practices
  • The Pierrot tradition
  • The Rat Pack and / or any of its individual members

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Learning Disabled Performance
  • The Rat Pack
  • The Pierrot Tradition
  • Applied Theatre Practices


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