Dr Liz Tomlin BA (Hons), MA, PhD

Photograph of Liz Tomlin

Department of Drama and Theatre Arts
Senior Lecturer
Head of Department

Contact details

Address
The Old Library (SOVAC)
998 Bristol Road
Selly Oak
Birmingham
B29 6LG

I joined the department in 2006 after holding a research fellowship in performing arts at Manchester Metropolitan University and working as a playwright and director with Point Blank Theatre.  My areas of specialism include practice-based research, political theory and performance, contemporary theatre and new writing.

Qualifications

I graduated with a first class honours degree in English Literature with Drama from the University of Sheffield, before completing an MA in Theatre Studies at the University of Leeds.  I returned to Sheffield to take my doctorate which focused on the politics of Howard Barker’s theatre.

Biography

I completed my PhD in 1997 and was the Research Fellow in Performing Arts at Manchester Metropolitan University from 1997-2006. During this time I was also founder member and associate director of the Open Performance Centre in Sheffield, where I co-founded the theatre company, Point Blank, and directed a number of schools and community performance projects across South Yorkshire.

I was the founder member and co-artistic director of Point Blank Theatre from 2000-2009. In this time I wrote and directed Dead Causes, Operation Wonderland and Roses & Morphine, wrote, directed and performed in Nothing to Declare, and was the dramaturgical advisor for An Evening with Psychosis. Selected performance texts and critical articles on the company’s work are published in Point Blank (Intellect, 2007).  My most recent practical research project, The Pool Game,was funded by Arts Council England and undertaken in association with artistic collective Geiger Counter in 2012. Full documentation of the production can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUDs6oCddm4&feature=plcp.

I joined the department at Birmingham as a Lecturer in 2006 and have been Head of Department since 2015.

Teaching

My research is in the area of contemporary theatre and performance, political and cultural theory, performance and devising techniques and new writing for theatre.

I regularly teach on second year modules Theatre Praxis, Theatre Lab and Collaborative Strategies, and the third year advanced practical intensive, Contemporary Practice. My study options include Political Performances and Contemporary Theatre and Performance when these are running

Postgraduate supervision

I welcome informal enquiries from any potential applicants with an interest in undertaking practice-based research or doctorates by thesis within my areas of current interest and expertise. I am currently interested in investigations of new contemporary playwriting or performance models, or analysis of European contemporary performance in relation to philosophical or political theory and the neoliberal context of production.

Research

My research sits in the broad area of contemporary theatre and performance, political and cultural theory, theatre-making techniques including new writing for theatre. Most recently my research has focused on the ideological discourse of ‘the real’ in contemporary performance practice, and I have presented at many conferences in relation to my sustained critique of the dramatic/postdramatic binary of Hans-Thies Lehmann. I have also just completed research into Arts Council Policy and independent British Theatre Companies since 1995.

I am currently in the early stages of developing a multi-faceted project entitled ‘Theatres of Dialogue and Resistance’ in collaboration with Linda Taylor (Northumbria) and Becki Hillman (Exeter), and hope that a journal special issue, monograph and festival will be among the outcomes of the project over the next few years. I also continue to be engaged with the political structures of funding and development of new work and emerging artists across the UK.

Research groups

  • Political Performances Working Group - International Federation of Theatre Research
  • Performance and Philosophy Working Group - Performance Studies International

Other activities

I am external examiner at Northumbria University and on the editorial board for Theatre Research International.

Publications

Books

  • British Theatre Companies 1995 – 2014 (London: Methuen, 2015)
  • Acts and Apparitions: Discourses on the Real in Performance Practice and Theory 1990 – 2010 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2013) – AHRC funded project.
  • 'Point Blank: Nothing to Declare, Operation Wonderland, Roses & Morphine' (Bristol: Intellect, 2007).

Articles/Chapters in books:

  • 'Citational Theory in Practice: A Performance Analysis of Characterisation and Identity in Katie Mitchell’s Staging of Martin Crimp’s Texts’, Contemporary Theatre Review, 24:3, 373-377 (2014)
  • ‘“Make a Map, not a Tracing”: Contextual Dramaturgies and New Writing’ Contemporary Theatre Review, 23:2   (2013)
  • 'A 'Political Suspension of the Ethical': To be Straight with You (2007) and An Evening with Psychosis (2009)' Performing Ethos 1:2 (2010)
  • ‘Beyond Representation: Re-membering the ‘Ghosts’ of Recent History in Contemporary Performance’ in Critical Stages vol 2 (2010) [www.criticalstages.org/criticalstages2/18]
  • 'And their stories fell apart even as I was telling them: Poststructuralist Performance and the no-longer-dramatic playtext' in Performance Research, vol 14 (1) (2009)
  • 'Beyond Cynicism: Contemporary Performance and the Sceptical Imperative' in Contemporary Theatre Review,  vol 18 (3) (2008)
  • 'A New Tremendous Aristocracy: Tragedy and the Meta-tragic in Barker's Theatre of Catastrophe' in Theatre of Catastrophe, ed. Karoline Gritzner and David Ian Rabey (London: Oberon, 2006) p109-123.
  • 'Innocent Tourists? Neo-Colonialist Narratives in Contemporary Performance' in Contemporary Theatre Review on Globalization and Theatre, ed. Dan Rebellato and Jen Harvie (Vol 16, 1, 2006) p23-30.
  • 'English theatre in the 1990s and beyond' in Cambridge History of British Theatre – Volume 3 ed. Baz Kershaw (London: Cambridge University Press, 2004) pp 494 - 508.
  • 'The Politics of Catastrophe' in Modern Drama vol XLIII, no 1, (2000) pp.66-77.
  • 'Transgressing Boundaries: Postmodern Performance and the Tourist Trap' in TDR 162, (1999) pp.136-149.

Expertise

Contemporary theatre and performance, including playwrights such as Howard Barker, Caryl Churchill and Martin Crimp; verbatim and documentary performance and interactive and immersive performance;  production of new work,  the Arts Council and new work promoters.

Alternative contact number available for this expert: contact the press office

Expertise

Contemporary theatre and performance, including playwrights such as Howard Barker, Caryl Churchill and Martin Crimp; verbatim and documentary performance and interactive and immersive performance;  production of new work,  the Arts Council and new work promoters.

Alternative contact number available for this expert: contact the press office