Dr. Stephen Farrier, BA, MA, PhD, FHEA | The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Dr Stephen Farrier, BA, MA, PhD, FHEA

Job title

Reader in Theatre and Performance


I am an academic and theatre-maker who has a deep and long-lasting fascination with the theatrical representation and performance of identity. In particular, I have a commitment to studying and producing performance practice around narratives of gender and sexuality. Currently I am Reader in Theatre and Performance, and I also supervise PhD candidates specialising in cutting-edge research around gender, sexuality, identity and performance.

I started working at Central in 1999, before that I studied for an undergraduate degree from Leicester University (Nene College) and MA in Modern Drama Studies from UNL, I then went on to write my PhD on queer reading practices in theatre. Whilst writing my PhD I worked in community theatre in London, Northamptonshire and Leicestershire, and toured experimental shows further afield, at the same time I was employed as a visiting lecturer at a number of institutions, teaching a wide range of drama, theatre and performance subjects. I have a background in making post-dramatic theatre with a number of collaborators and bring this to the work that I direct at Central. I direct and devise small-scale work focussing on contemporary and historical visions of gender, identity and sexuality. In particular, I am drawn to the ways in which popular performance functions for the queer community and study and make work that engages with historical forms of popular performance – so I have an interest in ‘low’ forms of theatre and performance, such as drag and new cabaret, for instance, about which I have published and presented internationally. My commitment to identities and communities extends beyond research and performance into the School’s systems and committees. I have played key roles in the School’s activity around equality and diversity and have engaged with national bodies that work for equality and diversity in the higher education sector.  In addition, as part of my role in the School I chair the Ethics Sub-Committee, where I support research integrity and help researchers think through their work in relation to ethical practice. I support research outside the School too – I am on the editorial board of Studies in Theatre and Performance and the Advisory Board of Contemporary Theatre Review.

I have held several external examinerships and worked on validation panels in the UK as well as internationally. My future plans extend my trajectory and I am planning to continue to make performance work about queerness whilst looking to build and develop queer performance networks internationally. My plans also include collaborating with colleagues to present academic work on drag performances.


Drama, Applied Theatre and Education, BA

Performance Arts, BA

Applied Theatre, MA

Research Degrees (MPhil/PhD)

Teaching Areas

  • Identity, sexuality and gender in performance
  • Applied theatre and performance
  • Performance making
  • Critical theory and performance
  • Postdramatic and experimental performance

Research Areas

  • Gender and performance
  • Sexuality and performance
  • Theatre form
  • Intergenerational performance work
  • Practice as research
  • Drag performance (kings and queens)
  • Queer studies, Queer theory

PHD Supervision

I have supervised to completion Practice as Research projects that include:

Lazlo Pearlman Stripping Bare and Telling Lies: Strategies for creating productive disruption via ‘autobiographical’ and ‘confessional’ solo performance, 2019.

Hannah Ballou hoo:ha: illuminating and exploiting a dissonance between funniness and sexiness with the female comic body in performance, 2016.

Phoenix Thomas Fabricating Alternative Realities: The Craft of Queering Costume Design, 2016.

Joseph Mercier Fucking With Ballet: Performing Queer Negativity, 2014.

Nando Messias Towards a New Sissiography: Reinscribing the Sissy in Body, Abuse and Space in Dance-Theatre Performance, 2012.

Broderick Chow (second supervisor) How to do things with jokes: relocating the political dimension of performance comedy, 2010.

Currently I supervise PhD projects including:

Ben Buratta, You Could Move: Disrupting dramaturgy and developing new rehearsal strategies for the queer theatre-maker. 

Simon Dodi, Camp: Performativity through Performance.

Jaelyn Endris, Reading femme performance: a reparative femme poetics.

Helen Evans, Participatory Theatre: About Turn.

Joseph Parslow, THE HOUSE THAT DRAG BUILT: drag performance and subcultural sites of engagement.

Chengyu Tan, Queer By Night: Discovering queer embodiment in queer performance spaces in Shanghai.

Ameila Cavallo (second supervisor) Cripping Acting: Troubling Ocularcentric Performance.

Key Publications

2019 ‘Theater, Queer’, entry in  Global Encyclopaedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer History, (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons).   

2018. ‘Re-membering AIDS, Dis-membering form’, in Viral Dramaturgies:HIV and AIDS in Performance in the Twenty-First Century, edited by Alyson Campbell. & Dirk Gindt (London: Palgrave) pp. 155-172.

2017 ‘International Influences and Drag: Just a Case of Tucking or Binding?’, Theatre, Dance and Performer Training.

2017 ‘Sticky stories: Joe Orton, queer history, queer dramaturgy’ Studies in Theatre and Performance

2016 Queer Dramaturgies: International Perspectives on Where Performance Leads Queer, edited by Alyson Campbell & Stephen Farrier (London: Palgrave).

2015 ‘That Lip-Syncing Feeling. Drag Performance as Digging the Past.’ In Queer Dramaturgies: International Perspectives on Where Performance Leads Queer, edited by Alyson Campbell & Stephen Farrier (London: Palgrave), pp. 192- 209.

2015 ‘Playing With Time. Gay Intergenerational Performance Work and the Productive Possibilities of Queer Temporalities’, Journal of Homosexuality, 62.10 (November), pp. 1398-1418.

2015 with Alyson Campbell ‘Queer Practice as Research, A Fabulously Messy Business’, Theatre Research International, 40.1 (February), pp. 83-87.

2013 ‘It’s About Time, Queer Utopias and Theatre Performance’ in A Critical Inquiry Into Queer Utopia, edited by Angela Jones (London: Palgrave), pp. 47-68.

2013 with Catherine McNamara ‘Editorial’ Research in Drama Education The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, 18. 2 (May), [A guest coedited themed edition entitled ‘The Gender and Sexuality Issue’] pp. 111-119.


At Central I have directed many productions with the BA Drama, Applied Theatre and Education students, which play to large audiences. Likewise, at the School, I have directed postdramatic studio theatre shows. Outside of Central, I have been invited on many post-show discussions, invited as an outside eye on rehearsals and talked with casts, directors and producers about their works and programmes in relation to queerness.  Recently, I have been working as a devisor and director with collaborators for productions as part of Brighton Fringe, exploring the representation and lived experience of queerness and health (Ginger, 2015) queer histories (Hetty the King (And Other Women I Have Loved) 2016), and queer memory (Kissing Annie Lennox, summer 2019).