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Ian Farnell

PhD Researcher



About Me

Ian is a second-year PhD student in Theatre and Performance Studies, funded by the Wolfson Foundation. He undertook his BA at the University of Hull, and was awarded the degree of MPhil upon completion of his MA by Research at Warwick in 2017.

Research interests

Ian’s research examines contemporary British theatre and science fiction. Responding to both the ubiquitous presence of technology in society, and the continued position of privilege enjoyed by science fiction in popular culture, numerous practitioners are turning to the genre to tackle the anxieties of today, through the lens of a speculative tomorrow.

Drawing on the works of Alistair McDowall, Anne Washburn, Jennifer Haley, Caryl Churchill, Tajinder Singh Hayer, Unlimited Theatre, Ella Road, and Thomas Eccleshare (amongst others), Ian’s thesis is particularly focused on the theatrical potential of science fiction. It seeks to understand how the unique qualities of live performance – its combination of text, movement, performer and spectator – are utilised to interpret a genre typically associated with screen and print literature.

Ian’s research is supervised by Professor Nadine Holdsworth.

Recent presentations

Journal articles

‘Utopian dreams, dystopian realities in Lucy Kirkwood and Anne Washburn’. Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction 46 (128): 38-47

‘Science, Science Fiction, and Nick Payne’s Elegy: A Conceptual Third Way’. Studies in Theatre and Performance, DOI:

‘Science Fiction and the Theatre of Alistair McDowall’. Contemporary Theatre Review 29 (2): 121-137. DOI:

‘In space, no one can hear you say you didn’t “get” it: theatre, science fiction, and genre snobbery’. Contemporary Theatre Review Interventions July 2019.

Book chapters

‘Alistair McDowall’s X: Science Fiction Theatre’. Sci-Fi: A Companion, ed. Jack Fennell. 2019. Oxford: Peter Lang Publishing


Mars: After the Crisis review’. Fantastika Journal 1 (2): 177-179

‘A manual for near-future parenting: Thomas Eccleshare’s Instructions for Correct Assembly’. Fantastika 3 (1): 149-152

Office hours

By appointment


Undergraduate modules
  • Theatre and Performance in Context
  • Theatre and National Identities