Dr Jessica Hartley BA, MA, PGCE, PhD, SFHEA | The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Dr Jessica Hartley, BA, MA, PGCE, PhD, SFHEA

Job title

Lecturer, Theatre and Performance Studies


After a successful career as a secondary school teacher, I ‘risked everything’ to run away with the circus. This led to years working freelance as an educator, director and performer for companies such as Tara Arts, The Why Not Institute and Unclaimed Creatures. I was shortlisted for the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust award on 4 occasions between 2001 and 2006 and finally secured an Elsie Fogerty Scholarship in 2006 for Doctoral Study into Risk and Pedagogy at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Alongside this I worked with GCSE examinations as a Senior Examiner and Moderator; and consulted with circus schools in the creation of circus curricula.

I became a Lecturer on MA Actor Training and Coaching in 2014, and support various courses through an engagement with Teaching and Learning, Critical Frameworks and Research Methods.

At the heart of my practice is engagement with radical pedagogy for the furtherance of equality; this involves an interrogation of risk and safe spaces as well as considerations of self, identity and performance within educational spaces.

Teaching Areas

  • Pedagogy
  • Critical Contexts
  • Approaches to Acting
  • Approaches to Research methods and methodologies
  • Circus and/or risky performance

Areas of Expertise

  • Pedagogy and Radical Pedagogy
  • Phenomenology
  • Actor Training
  • Alternative Assessment
  • Equality and Diversity

PhD Supervision

  • (Current) – Training for Musical Theatre

  • (Desired) – Circus, Radical Pedagogy and Actor Training


Actor Training and Coaching, MA/MFA

Applied Theatre, MA

Performance Practice as Research, MA/MFA

Technical and Production Management, BA

Design for the Stage, BA

Costume Construction, BA


My practice involves directing, education work, production management and stage management. Select examples include:

2009-present. Performer/Collaborator for Unclaimed Creatures, Battersea Arts Centre, The Roundhouse, Old Vic Tunnels (director Anna Brownsted)

2008. Production Manager La Boheme. The Blackheath Halls (director Ian Rutherford)

2007.  Director, Hitting Home, Tour of Essex Schools

2006. Deputy Stage Manager, Only Fools (No Horses),  Tour (director John Wright)

2003. Assistant Director, Sob Stories, The Battersea Arts Centre (director Orla O’Loughlin)

2002. Performer, The Fire Raisers, The Battersea Arts Centre (director Orla O’Loughlin

2001-2. Education Director, Journey to the West, National Tour (director Jatinder Verma)