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Dr Richard Allen

Course Leader BA Contemporary Theatre and Performance
University of the Arts London
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Researcher Research
Richard  Allen


My research investigates the agency and theatricality of objects and theatre and performance technologies through the making of performances, films, essays and publications. I ask questions about how performance objects and technology; digital interfaces, microphones, devices, props, instruments, machines, apparatuses and artefacts are appropriated into the making of theatre and performance. Current research explores, binaural sound design and technology, floor plans, architectural facades, and noise cancelling headphones. I have written about the bio-objects of Tadeusz Kantor, the scenographic landscapes of Philippe Quesne and Vivarium Studio, and Katrina Palmer’s site-specific audio walk The Loss Adjusters for an issue of the Theatre and Performance Design Journal (Routledge) on ‘good vibrations’ in sound design. I have recently edited an edition of Performance Research on anthropomorphism and objects with Dr Shaun May (Kent) and I presented a performance lecture called Phantom Stages about theatrical floor plans as part of a group show called Hidden Lines of Space in Berlin. My most recent piece of practice based research 'The Killers' was a site-based performance project using binaural technology in a fish and Chip shop in Weston-super-mare with MAYK (Bristol). My practice research plays with how narratives and animations are formed between objects, performers and spectators, often working with 'stage' technologies, theatrical props, rock music hardware and novelty objects. I have presented work at the National Review of Live Art (Glasgow), Kunstverein am Rosa–Luxemburg–Platz (Berlin), University of Buffalo Department of Art (New York), Mayfest (Bristol), and Chapter Arts Centre (Cardiff).

Book Chapters

An Inventory of Syncopal Objects. In: Syncope in Performing and Visual Arts. Editions Le Manuscrit Savoirs, pp. 111-130. Co-authored with James Fisher.

Watchtowers (Artist Pages). In: The Artist Borderpanic Compendium. The Live Art Development Agency, London, UK. (2018)

Journal Articles

Illusiontext (After Goat Island) in ‘Performance Research Vol. 23 Issue 4. On Reflection: Turning 100.’ London: Routledge. November 2018.

Theatrical Latency: Walking Katrina Palmer’s The Loss Adjusters. Article in the Theatre and Performance Design Journal, London: Routledge. May 2016.

On Anthropomorphism. Co- edited journal: Performance Research Vol. 20, No. 2: London: Routledge with Dr Shaun May (Kent). April 2015.

The Object Animates: Displacement and Humility in the Theatre of Philippe Quesne, Performance Research Journal 18.3 On Scenography. London: Routledge, June 2013.

Kantor’s Anthropological Machine. Studia Dramatica, (Issue 1. pp 76 – 92),
March 2012.

Rethinking Anthropomorphism in Puppet Notebook On Object Theatre Issue 22. Winter 2012 -2013. London: British UNIMA.

Appearing to Play: A Memory Toy Theatre to Cut-Out and Collect
Artists pages in ‘On Appearance’, Performance Research Journal Vol 13.4 London: Routledge, 2008.

Contributor to Blue Pages published by The Society of British Theatre Designers

Book Reviews

Aesthetic of Absence: Texts on Theatre by Heiner Goebbels. Theatre and Performance Design Journal, London: Routledge, December 2015.

Conference Papers

Laughing with Kantor. Invited speaker to the symposium: Kantor and his Influence. Radar, University of Loughborough. Forthcoming 2018.

Making the Killers. Invited speaker to talk series on ‘Headphone Theatre’ as part of the Ambient Literature Research Group (UWE). Pervasive Media Studio. Bristol. 2018.

The Weird World of Donald Trump: A Video Essay. Glasgow Buzzcut, The Pearce Institute, Glasgow, 5th April 2017.

Ghost Train. Co-author Dr James Fisher
University of Worcester, November 2015 (Fabrication Research Group launch event) Turps Gallery, London, forthcoming February 2016.

On Not Knowing: Teaching Fine Art Practice. HEA Learning and Teaching Conference, University of Worcester, October 2014.

Thinking with Objects, invited speaker to Talking Objects Symposium, Radar, Loughborough University, 9th March 2012.

Reports from an Unidentified Space Station: Is Participation the ‘Big Dumb Object’ of Performance? Relation and Participation Symposium, Aberystwyth University 2nd – 4th May 2011.

Showroom Detours, Performance Studies International Conference # 15. Misperformance: Misfiring, Misfitting, Misreading. Zagreb, Croatia. June 24 – 28, 2009.

Showroom Short-cuts, Living Landscapes International Conference, Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth, June 18 -21, 2009.

Towards a Theatre of Objects: Theatre-Machines and the Violence of Transformation, Objects of Engagement, Royal Holloway, June 12th 2008.


Rock Ballad. Scratch Lab Performance installation. Caraboo Projects. Bristol. 2019.

The Killers. Site-Specific Binaural Sound Performance. Weston -super-Mare. Mayfest 2018.

Pick Up. Telephone box performance City Sonic Places: experiencing the urban soundscape at London College of Communication. 2018.

Phantom Stages. Performance Lecture at Hidden Lines of Space (Group Show). Kunstverein am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin. July 2017.

Ricochet. Sound Installation. Sonic Actions, Brighton. May 2017.

The Bones of Breakheart Quarry. Screen based video installation (varying dimensions), wall mounted with speakers. 3 minute (repeated loop) with sound. SSSB Conference, Southampton. Forthcoming March 2017.

The Measure of All Things: Rethinking Humanism through Art (Group Show). Filmed performance: ‘Panoramic Sea Happening (After Kantor)’. University of Buffalo New York Department of Art Gallery.
February 2017.

Panoramic Sea Happening (After Kantor). Commission for ‘Kantorbury, Kantorbury’, the The European Theatre Research Network (ETRN) and the Polish Cultural Institute, University of Kent, 18 -19 September 2015.

Ghost Machine. A MAYK and Bristol Old Vic Ferment Co-Commission as part of SENSE at Mayfest, Bristol May 2013.

Garage Band. Site-Specific Performance made in association with MAYK for Mayfest 2012. 24th-27th May. 61 Conduit Place Bristol.

House. As artist is residence with Showroom Artist Collective at Aberystwyth Arts Centre. May 2010.

Stage Fright. Installation and Performance. Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, November 2009.

Lament of the Noise Makers. Installation and Performance Presentation. Chapter Arts Centre, Experimentica Festival. Cardiff, October 2008.

The Galapagos Man. The National Review of Live Art, Tramway, Galsgow, February 2008.


MAYK Thought Residency. December 2017.

Researcher on Object Retrieval
UCL (University College London)
October 15th 2009 – October 21st 2009

Artist in residence, Central School of Speech and Drama. Theatre Materials/Material Theatres International Conference, London, April 2008.

Re-enactment of the original Aberystwyth 1968 Fluxus Leaflet Concert by Brian Lane with Professor Heike Roms (Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies, Aberystwyth University). Castle Theatre, Aberystwyth, November 2008.