Professor of Theatre & Performance
Tel: +44 (0)24 7657 4078
Email: a dot lavender at warwick dot ac dot uk
Room G26, Millburn House
University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7HS
Andy Lavender is Professor of Theatre & Performance at the University of Warwick and (from 1 August 2017) Head of the School of Theatre & Performance Studies and Cultural & Media Policy Studies.
Andy was previously Head of the School of Arts at the University of Surrey (2011-2016). The School included the University’s programmes in Acting, Dance, Digital Media Arts, Music, Musical Theatre, Sound Recording and Theatre and Performance. During Andy’s tenure GSA (Guildford School of Acting), a conservatoire previously based in Guildford, merged formerly with the University, and the Arts portfolio was expanded at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, with new programmes in the areas of actor musicianship, creative practices for performance (including actor training, choreography and directing), digital arts, and film & video production technology.
Before joining Surrey, Andy was Dean of Research at Central School and Speech and Drama, University of London (2007-11), where he worked with colleagues to develop research capacity and increase research funding. Prior to this he was Central’s Head of Postgraduate Studies (2002-7), introducing a PhD platform and helping to establish the largest gathering of drama and theatre Masters programmes in the UK. He joined Central from Goldsmiths, University of London, where he was a lecturer in the Drama Department, also teaching in the Media and Communications Department.
Andy publishes on contemporary theatre and performance, in particular looking at intermedial and cross-disciplinary work, new production processes and changes to the nature of performance and spectatorship. He has directed a number of theatre productions at venues including the ICA, Battersea Arts Centre, Lyric Hammersmith and Young Vic Studios, Tron Theatre Glasgow, Warwick Arts Centre, and at festivals in London, Manchester, France and Poland. This work is largely in the field of devised multimedia performance, working collaboratively with a range of designers, writers, performers and technicians with the theatre/performance company Lightwork.
Andy has worked previously in journalism, as the Editor of City Limits, a contracted arts features writer with the Times, and a contributor to The Guardian, GQ and New Statesman.
Andy’s research focuses on contemporary theatre and performance, engaging with a variety of productions and events, cultural settings, and models of analysis (from a broadly cultural materialist perspective).
Andy’s latest monograph, Performance in the Twenty-First Century: Theatres of Engagement, was published by Routledge in 2016. The book addresses shifts in the nature of theatre and performance over the quarter-century from 1989, in the wake of postmodernism, new reality trends and the advent of digital culture. Details are at https://www.routledge.com/Performance-in-the-Twenty-First-Century-Theatres-of-Engagement/Lavender/p/book/9780415592352.
Andy’s recent journal articles address media form and function, intermediality and multimodality, new forms of spectator engagement, and relations between dramaturgy, production, space and location. Andy has also written articles addressing principles and outcomes of practice-research projects. His theatre practice, with a range of collaborating artists and practitioners, includes the development of narratives through devising processes; installation and short-form video work; and theatre productions that feature extensive sound, movement and video designs. Current interests include the development of theatre production in digital environments, including remote and distributed performance; and in relation to contemporary social and civic issues.
- Andy Lavender, Performance in the Twenty-First Century: Theatres of Engagement, London and New York: Routledge 2016. ISBN 9780415592338 hbk, 9780415592352 pbk. Addresses new forms of ‘engagement’ in the theatre, in particular looking at developments to mediation, acting, spectating and participation.
- Andy Lavender, Hamlet in Pieces: Shakespeare reworked by Peter Brook, Robert Lepage and Robert Wilson, London and New York: Nick Hern Books/Continuum, 2001. ISBN 1 85459 61 87. Study of auteur-led devised theatre, rehearsal practice and the phenomenology of performance.
- Jen Harvie and Andy Lavender (eds.), Making Contemporary Theatre: international rehearsal processes, Manchester University Press, 2010. ISBN 978 0 7190 7491 2 hbk; 978 0 7190 7492 9 pbk. Ten chapters addressing rehearsal room practice in the work of innovative international theatre and performance companies, including the Builders Association (US), Complicite (England), Gekidan Kaitaisha (Japan), Robert Lepage (Canada), Luk Perceval (Germany).
- Sarah Bay-Cheng, Chiel Kattenbelt, Andy Lavender and Robin Nelson (eds.), Mapping Intermediality and Performance, Amsterdam University Press, 2010. ISBN 978 90 8964 255 4; e-ISBN 978 90 4851 314 7. This is the second book to be produced by the Theatre and Intermediality working group of the International Federation of Theatre Research. It addresses concepts of intermedial performance and features case studies of significant productions and events.
Chapters in books
Andy Lavender, ‘In the Mix: Intermedial Theatre and Hybridity’, in Khalid Amine and George F. Roberson (eds), Theatre and Intermediality, Amherst (Massachusetts), Denver, Tangier: Collaborative Media International, 2014, 26-42. ISBN 978-0-9824409-7-1.
8,000-word chapter exploring the notion of hybridity in relation to contemporary theatre and performance, with particular reference to the immersive theatre of dreamthinkspeak.
Andy Lavender, ‘The Builders Association: Super Vision (2005): digital dataflow and the synthesis of everything’, in Jen Harvie and Andy Lavender (eds.), Making Contemporary Theatre: international rehearsal processes, Manchester University Press, 2010, 17-38.
8,300-word case study of the development and rehearsal process of an international multimedia theatre company.
Andy Lavender, ‘A digital paradigm for contemporary theatre and performance’, in Sarah Bay-Cheng, Chiel Kattenbelt, Andy Lavender and Robin Nelson (eds.), Mapping Intermediality and Performance, Amsterdam University Press, 2010, 125-134.
5,000-word chapter addressing characteristics of digital technology and its bearing on cultural production.
Andy Lavender, ‘Theatre and Technology’, in Mary Luckhurst (Ed.), A Companion to Modern British and Irish Drama, Oxford: Blackwell, 2006, 551-562. ISBN 978-1-4051-2228-3.
5,000-word chapter on theatre techne, telematic performance and the bearing of digitality on theatre.
Andy Lavender, ‘Mise en scène, hypermediacy and the sensorium’, in Chiel Kattenbelt and Freda Chapple (eds.), Intermediality in Theatre and Performance, Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2006, 55-66. ISBN: 90-4220-1629-9.
5,000-word chapter on multimedia staging, issues of mediation, presence and pleasure in contemporary theatre, drawing on three case studies.
Andy Lavender, ‘The Moment of Realised Actuality’, in Maria Delgado and Caridad Svich (eds.), Theatre in Crisis?: Performance Manifestos for a New Century, Manchester University Press, 2002, 183-190. ISBN 0 7190 6290 X hbk, 0 7190 6291 8 pbk.
3,000-word essay on effects of liveness and nowness, with regard to late-capitalist culture.
Andy Lavender, ‘Turns and Transformations’, in Vera Gottlieb and Colin Chambers (eds), Theatre in a Cool Climate, Amber Lane Press, 1999, 179-190.
4,000-word chapter on new and experimental British theatre and performance.
Andy Lavender, ‘Edge of Darkness’, in George W Brandt (Ed.), British Television Drama in the 1980s, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1993, 103-118.
3,500-word chapter on the themes, form and ideology of the TV serial Edge of Darkness.
Andy Lavender, ‘Capturer La Tempête? La pratique comme recherche (Practice-as-Research) pour une dramaturgie shakespearienne et des spectacles de théâtre multimedia’, Ligeia (dossiers sur l’Art), Special Edition: Izabella Pluta and Mireille Losco-Lena (eds.), ‘THÉATRES LABORATOIRES: Recherche-création et technologies dans le théâtre aujourd’hui’, Nos 137-140, 2015, 184-194. ISBN 9-770989-602007.
3,500-word article addressing a practice-research project that explores Shakespeare’s The Tempest in relation to digital production.
Andy Lavender, ‘Modal transpositions towards theatres of encounter, or, in praise of “media intermultimodality”’, Theatre Journal, 66: 4, 2014, 499-518. ISSN 0192-2882.
Invited contribution (10,000-word article) for a special issue of Theatre Journal on adaptation, considering the notion of the adaptation of media form and function, with reference to productions by dreamthinkspeak, Punchdrunk, Rabih Mroué, Rimini Protokoll and Zecora Ura Theatre Company.
Andy Lavender, ‘Capturer La Tempête? L’intervention de la recherche dans les practiques et la production théâtrales multimedia avec l’exemple de la pièce de Shakespeare’, Confluent, v. 8, October 2013 (Paris and Shanghai: Association Sino-Francaise pour les Recherches Litteraires et Artistiques), 1-8. ISSN 1283-1913.
3,500-word article addressing a practice-research project that explores Shakespeare’s The Tempest in relation to digital production.
Andy Lavender, ‘The living statue: performer, poseur, posthuman’, Studies in Theatre & Performance, 33:2, 2013, 119-131. ISSN 14682761.
5,400-word article exploring the contemporary phenomenon of living statue performance.
Andy Lavender, ‘Viewing and Acting (and points in between): the trouble with spectating after Rancière’, Contemporary Theatre Review, 22:3, 2012, 307-326. ISSN 1048-6801 (print), 1477-2264 (online).
8,000-word article on diverse sorts of spectator engagement (across arts, public space and sport) encountered during a trip to Chicago, with a partial critique of Jacques Rancière’s writing on ‘active’ spectatorship.
Andy Lavender, ‘Watch this (actual and virtual) space: surveillance, dis/location and transit in Shakespeare’s The Tempest’, Studies in Theatre & Performance, 32:2, 2012, 139-150. ISSN 14682761.
6,000-word article on the relationship between Shakespearean dramaturgy and contemporary manifestations of surveillance, space and location, focusing on a workshop production of The Tempest that I directed at the Gdansk Shakespeare Festival.
Andy Lavender, ‘2D/3D’, Performance/Technologies: A User’s Guide, Total Theatre/King Alfred’s College, Winchester, 2003.
Article on key instances of the use of projected images in theatre across the last century.
Andy Lavender, ‘Pleasure, performance and the Big Brother experience’, Contemporary Theatre Review, 13.2, 2003.
Article on the theatricality of the reality game show.
Andy Lavender, ‘Theatre in Crisis: Conference Report’, New Theatre Quarterly, Volume V, Number 19, August 1989, pp 210-216.
Report on a conference at Goldsmiths College, University of London, addressing challenges to contemporary British theatre.
Theatre Practice (as director)
My work as a director is largely in the field of devised multimedia performance, in particular using digital technologies. It is driven by practice-based research.
Lines of Flight
Conceived by Tom Armstrong, Andy Lavender and Stephen Preston, composition by Tom Armstrong and Jean-Philippe Rameau, performed by Trio Aporia, presented by Lightwork.
Ivy Arts Centre, University of Surrey, 16 September 2016.
Lines of Flight is a multimedia concert. It features lines of flight from the music of the late baroque French composer Jean-Philippe Rameau, the writings of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari and the current situations of migration, movement, departure and deterritorialisation.
Motion Capture for A Tempest: visual analysis of human movement, digital/ corporeal interaction and performance
School of Arts / GSA (Guildford School of Acting), the CVSSP (Centre for Vision, Speech and Signal Processing), the MoVe project (Movement Visualisation for e-Cultures), Mesmer (video design & production company) and Lightwork (multimedia theatre company).
University of Surrey, 12-19 July 2012.
R&D workshop and presentation, funded by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council ‘Bridging the Gaps’). Using scenes from The Tempest, the workshop explored diverse modes of movement capture using specific devices and software: Kinect (used for domestic interactive games through the TV), IP 360-degree surveillance camera (Oncam Global) and 3D surround-camera animation. Workshop documented at .http://moveresearch.net/A_Tempest_Web/A_Tempest.html and https://vimeo.com/47157689.
The Good Actor | installation
Conceived by Andy Lavender and Jo Parker, created and presented by Lightwork
Hoxton Hall, as part of GLAZ Digital Stages Festival, 26 April 2011
The Good Actor is a practice-research project across different media. It explores acting, performing, being real, telling the truth, pretending and lying. Developed in theatre/media workshops at the National Theatre Studio and Central, as a series of online micro-videos and, here, as an installation that puts the spectator in the place of the performer.
The Good Actor | online videos
Conceived by Andy Lavender and Jo Coates, created and presented by Lightwork.
The Good Actor is a practice-research project across different media. It explores acting, performing, being real, telling the truth, pretending and lying. Developed in theatre/media workshops at the National Theatre Studio and Central, as an installation for the GLAZ Digital Stages festival (April 2011) and, here, as a series of ‘rough-film’ micro-videos for online distribution (available at http://www.thegoodactor.co.uk/).
by William Shakespeare, presented by Lightwork and Parrabbola. Gdansk Shakespeare Festival (Poland), 2-4 August 2009.
Workshop production exploring the use of digital surveillance devices and technologies in performance.
Conceived by Andy Lavender, created and presented by Lightwork with Lewisham Youth Theatre.
Albany Theatre, Deptford, London, 31 July-1 August 2008.
Ubiquitous/online video, movement and performance, featuring young people from LYT. The project is archived at www.themylifeproject.com.
Created and presented by Lightwork, from an original idea by David Annen and Gregg Fisher, in association with the Lyric Hammersmith. Lyric Studio, Hammersmith, 26 February-15 March 2008.
Devised multimedia drama, including verbatim elements.
‘impressive devised multimedia piece’ (Time Out); ‘technically accomplished…a small company capable of doing big things’ (The Guardian); ‘dazzling…a rich and intelligent production’ (British Theatre Guide).
Back At You
Written by Andy Lavender, presented by Lightwork in association with BAC. Scratch performances: BAC, London, 21-22 April 2007.
Adaptation of the Echo and Narcissus myth, drawing on MySpace, Second Life and YouTube formats.
Once I was Dead
Conceived by Andy Lavender and Douglas O’Connell, written by Andy Lavender, presented by Lightwork. (re)ACTOR: Digital Live Art international conference, Queen Mary, University of London, 11 September 2006.
Adaptation of the Daedalus and Icarus myth, with Internet-enabled video calling and digital scenographies.
Here’s What I Did with My Body One Day
Conceived by Andy Lavender, created and presented by Lightwork, written by Dan Rebellato.
National tour (England and Scotland), 26 January-4 March 2006.
Pleasance Theatre, London, 7-31 October 2004.
Multimedia thriller exploring the work of Roland Barthes, Ernest Chausson and Pierre Curie.
‘smart, sensitive and extremely enjoyable’ (The Times); ‘mind-stretching, funny and elegant’ (The Sunday Times); ‘a hugely stimulating and drop-dead gorgeous piece of theatre’ (Time Out); ‘a hugely enjoyable mixture of head and heart, text and visuals wrapped in an atmospheric and stylish production’ (The Guardian); ‘a brilliant demonstration of the power of formally sophisticated theatre’ (The Scotsman).
Forget Me Not
Created and presented by Black Hole in association with Art of Regeneration, the Albany Theatre and the London International Mime Festival.
Albany Theatre, London, 15-30 January 2004.
Clown-mime, robotics, puppetry, pyrotechnics and video.
‘an impressive clown show of haunting dilapidated beauty…Andy Lavender’s artful production is a theatrical high-wire act that quite literally plays with fire.’ (The Guardian) ‘one astonishing production … This is bold and innovative work, filled with marvels’ (What’s On); ‘a wonderful and inspiring show’ (Animations).
Conceived by David Annen and Andy Lavender, presented by Lightwork in association with the London International Mime Festival.
ICA Theatre, London, 21-23 January 2002.
Created by the company. Physical performance, live and pre-recorded video and sound.
‘provocative and successful’ (Total Production).
Conceived by Clare Bayley and Andy Lavender, presented by Lightwork.
Young Vic Studio, London, 14 September-2 October 1999.
Devised by the company, with a script by Clare Bayley. Mixed-media performance combining Victorian stage illusionism and contemporary video projection.
‘a really intelligent piece of theatre ... wholeheartedly embraces multi-media ... always characterised by its complete theatricality’ (The Guardian); ‘a scene ... from the new face of British drama’, (The Observer).
Created and presented by Black Hole, Albany Theatre, London, in association with the London International Mime Festival.
Albany Theatre, London, 22-31 January 1998.
Devised solo performance combining circus skills, robotics, pyrotechnics and theatre.
‘huge amounts of energy and imagination’ (Time Out). Featured in Time Out’s ‘Critic’s Choice’.
Conceived by Andy Lavender, presented by Academy Productions.
15 January-7 February 1997, Young Vic Studio, London.
Devised by the company with a script by Clare Bayley. Mixed media drama (playtext, live relay video, slide projection).
‘a beguiling visual experience’ (The Guardian), ‘fascinating, touching ... bursting with promise’ (The Daily Telegraph).
Acts Without Words
by Samuel Beckett, presented by Academy Productions.
BAC (main house), London (presented as part of the London International Mime Festival), 18-19 January 1996.
Palace Theatre, Périgueux, France (presented as part of Mimos, France's annual international mime festival), 8 August 1996.
Staging of Beckett mimes alongside a new devised piece exploring Beckettian idioms.
‘a very fine show ... I’ve not seen the Beckett mimes done better’ (Journal of Beckett Studies, v. 5, n. 1 & 2).
The Duchess of Malfi
by John Webster, adapted by Bertolt Brecht and WH Auden, presented by Academy Productions.
Chelsea Centre Theatre, London, 19 May-12 June 1993.
World premiere of this version, featuring Brecht’s radical, ill-fated adaptation.
Diary piece in The Guardian, news item (including interview) on Radio 4’s Kaleidoscope. Featured in The Guardian’s ‘Highlights of the Week’ section.
The Man Outside
by Wolfgang Borchert, presented by Academy Productions.
The Green Room, Manchester, in association with the Manchester International Festival of Expressionism, 16-17 March 1992.
Chelsea Centre Theatre, London, 27 May-13 June 1992.
‘a fringe production of rare subtleties’ (City Limits). Featured in City Limits’ ‘Recommended’ section. Nominated for Best Lighting Design, London Fringe Awards 1992-3.
Teaching and Supervision
Andy offers PhD supervision in the following areas:
- contemporary theatre and performance
- processes of production
- directorial practice
- cultural production, including interdisciplinary work and performance in non-theatrical settings
- performance and digital culture
- spectator engagement
- social and civic performance
- practice as research
In 2017/18 Andy is teaching a 2nd-year undergraduate module entitled Tragedy in Performance: Conventions | Discourses | Dramaturgies.
Andy is an Associate Editor of the journal Theatre, Dance and Performance Training and a member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media (both Routledge/Taylor & Francis). He is a member of the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Peer Review College (Academic and Strategic sections), and undertakes peer review for a number of scholarly journals and funding organisations. He served on the AHRC's Postgraduate Panel for Music and the Performing Arts; and its Arts and Science Fellowship Panel.
He was co-convener of the IFTR’s (International Federation of Theatre Research) Intermediality in Theatre & Performance working group (2010-13) and TaPRA’s (Theatre and Performance Research Association) New Technologies for Theatre working group (2005-9). He was TaPRA’s Working Groups Coordinator (2005-8), and co-author of TaPRA’s constitution as a member of the Steering Panel that oversaw the association’s inception.
He is Subject Specialist in Theatre for the Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications, and has chaired a number of programme accreditation/validation exercises (in the broader area of creative and performing arts) on behalf of HKCAAVQ. He has participated in review exercises at Hong Kong Academy of the Performing Arts, and chaired HKAPA’s Institutional Review in 2012. He has also served on programme validation exercises at Lasalle-SIA College of the Arts, Singapore; Brunel University; Central St Martin’s, University of the Arts, London; and Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Glasgow.
He has provided consultancy for Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts; Birkbeck College, University of London; De Montfort University; Edge Hill University; University of Kingston; Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now Royal Conservatoire of Scotland); and York St John's University.
He has examined twelve PhD theses in the area of theatre, performance and technology.
He was chair of the Council of Management of Lewisham Youth Theatre (2011-13). He was previously a governor of Heber Primary School and chair of the school’s Policy & Curriculum Committee.
Andy has served as a judge for the Arts Foundation (Video & Digital for Performance Fellowship Award, 2015) and the Society for Theatre Research (STR Book Prize, 2014).
Tragedy in Performance: Conventions | Discourses | Dramaturgies