• 10 Citations
  • 2 h-Index

Research output per year

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Personal profile


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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Research Output

  • 10 Citations
  • 2 h-Index
  • 10 Article
  • 4 Chapter
  • 3 Book/Film/Dance Article review

Convivial theatre: Care and debility in collaborations between non-disabled and learning disabled theatre makers

Calvert, D., 24 Mar 2020, Performing Care: New Perspectives on Socially Engaged Performance. Stuart Fisher, A. & Thompson, J. (eds.). Manchester: Manchester University Press

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  • Responding to Per.Art's Dis-Sylphide: Six Voices from IFTR's Performance and Disability Working Group

    Calvert, D., Ames, M., Glørstad, V., Maguire-Rosier, K., McCaffrey, T. & Schmidt, Y., 1 Mar 2019, In : Theatre Research International. 44, 1, p. 82-101 20 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • History, Performativity, and Dialectics: Critical Spectatorship in Learning Disabled Performance

    Calvert, D., 2018, The Routledge Handbook of Disability Arts, Culture and Media. Hadley, B. & McDonald, D. (eds.). Abingdon: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  • Book Review: 'Disability Theatre and Modern Drama: Recasting Modernism' by Kirsty Johnston

    Calvert, D., Feb 2017, In : New Theatre Quarterly. 33, 1, p. 92-93 2 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Dance Article review

    Open Access

    Book Review: 'Applied Theatre - Aesthetics' by Gareth White

    Calvert, D., May 2016, In : New Theatre Quarterly. 32, 2, p. 199-200 2 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Dance Article review

    Open Access


    • 4 Oral presentation
    • 2 PhD Examination
    • 2 Membership of board

    Holmfirth Arts Festival (External organisation)

    Dave Calvert (Member)

    2018 → …

    Activity: Membership typesMembership of board

    External Examiner

    David Calvert (Examiner)


    Activity: Examination typesPhD Examination

    Dark Horse Theatre Company (External organisation)

    David Calvert (Chair)

    2016 → …

    Activity: Membership typesMembership of board