Dr Gianna Bouchard MA, PhD, FHEA, PGCLTHE

Gianna Bouchard

Department of Drama and Theatre Arts
Senior Lecturer
Head of Drama and Theatre Arts

Contact details

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

I joined the Department in September 2017, having taught at Anglia Ruskin University since 2004, prior to which I worked as a research assistant and doctoral student at the University of Roehampton. My research focuses on the interface between medicine and performance.


  • BA Drama and Theatre Studies; University of Roehampton 
  • MA Critical Theory (The Body and Representation); University of Reading.
  • PhD funded by the AHRC; University of Roehampton
  •  Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education


I originally trained in musical theatre at the Italia Conti Academy in London, followed by a number of years teaching drama, classical ballet and modern dance. Going to university led me to my PhD at the University of Roehampton and a change in focus to theatre and performance.

My PhD was titled ‘Performing the Anatomised Body’ and initiated my interest in the connections between medicine and performance. My research has been published in Performance Research, Contemporary Theatre Review and a range of edited collections. I have also edited a special edition of Performance Research on medicine and a Methuen book titled Performance and the Medical Body.

My teaching has included a wide range of theoretical and practical modules at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, including those focused on performance studies, politics and performance, dance theatre, live art, and devising performance.


I have been teaching for over twenty years in a variety of contexts and disciplines, from ballet to contemporary theatre making. This has also covered all age ranges, from children to adults. I have been teaching in higher education since 2002, covering theory and practice. In the Department I teach on core and optional modules, including Theatre Practice, Performance: Theory, Practice and Critique, and in 2018/19 I am introducing two new modules to the curriculum: Dance Theatre, and Blood and Guts: Spectacles of the Body.

Postgraduate supervision

I am interested in supervising postgraduate projects in any aspect of performance and medicine, in live art, in the politics of identity and in contemporary performance practice. I am currently co-supervising the following practice-as-research PhD candidates:

Kelly Green: Chav Ballet: Developing a working-class female aesthetic through performance
Mehrdad Seyf: Interdisciplinarity as Cultural and Spatial Practice

Find out more - our PhD Drama and Theatre Studies  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


My research focuses on exploring specific medical discourses and practices, such as anatomical dissection, in order to analyse contemporary performance practice. My work has examined constructions of power and knowledge, visuality, spectatorship and theatricality in the work of ORLAN, Marissa Carnesky, Kira O’Reilly and the Bodyworlds Exhibition, for instance, and has been published in a number of journals and edited collections, including Performance Research and Contemporary Theatre Review. In February 2016, my co-edited book Performance and the Medical Body (with Dr Alex Mermikides) was published by Bloomsbury Methuen.

I am currently working on a monograph titled Performing Specimens: Biomedical Display in Contemporary Performance, to be published in 2019 by Bloomsbury Methuen. This explores the staging and the display of the ‘body as specimen’ in contemporary performance practice and within wider visual culture. I have recently completed a book chapter for Live Art in the UK: Contemporary Performances of Precarity, on the live artist Martin O’Brien, which explores some of these issues around specimenhood.

Other activities

  • Sept 2015 – Sept 2018, co-founder and convenor of the Performance and Science Working Group, for the Theatre & Performance Research Association

My recent seminar and conference presentations include:

  • September 2018 Paper at Theatre & Performance Research Association, University of Aberystwyth, ‘Themselves and Not Themselves’: Staging Medical Chimerism
  • January 2016 Invited speaker on research seminar panel on ‘Staging the Wreckage’ at University of Surrey
  • June 2015 Paper at Association of Medical Humanities conference, Dartington, on medical chimerism and performance
  • April 2015 Invited ethics panel member at Live Art Development Agency, for “Trust Me, I’m an Artist” event – public event about ethics and performance & invited specialist to interdisciplinary dialogue on failure in medicine and performance, Imperial College, London.
  • February 2015 Invited speaker at Cambridge University Medical Humanities Society & invited panel member for performance and medicine event at University of Kent
  • January 2015 Invited speaker at Medicine in Motion evening at Chisenhale Dance Space


Recent publications


Bouchard, G & Mermikides, A (eds) 2024, The Routledge Companion to Performance and Medicine. Routledge Companions, 1st edn, Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003036500

Bouchard, G 2020, Performing Specimens: Contemporary Performance and Biomedical Display. Performance and Science: interdisciplinary dialogues, 1 edn, Bloomsbury Methuen Drama . <https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/performing-specimens-9781350035676/>


Bouchard, G 2019, 'Murder in miniature', Performance Research, vol. 24, no. 5, pp. 93-100. https://doi.org/10.1080/13528165.2019.1671724

Bouchard, G 2018, 'Transplantations', Performance Research, vol. 14, no. 4, pp. 233-236.

Bouchard, G 2012, 'Skin Deep: Female Flesh in UK Live Art Since 1999', Contemporary Theatre Review, vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 94-105.

Bouchard, G 2010, 'Bodyworlds and Theatricality: 'Seeing Death, Live'', Performance Research, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 50-57.


Bouchard, G 2023, Labouring the Medical: Female Bodies for Sale on the Contemporary Stage. in V Appler & M Conti (eds), Identity, Culture, and the Science Performance Volume 2: From the Curious to the Quantum. 1st edn, Performance and Science: Interdisciplinary Dialogues, Bloomsbury Publishing, pp. 75–92. https://doi.org/10.5040/9781350234291.0012

Bouchard, G 2016, The Pain of Specimenhood. in G Bouchard & A Mermikides (eds), Performance and the Medical Body. Performance and Science: Interdisciplinary Dialogues, Bloomsbury Methuen Drama .

Bouchard, G 2010, Incisive Acts: ORLAN Anatomised. in S Donger & S Shepherd (eds), ORLAN: Hybrid Body of Artworks. Routledge. <https://www.routledge.com/ORLAN-A-Hybrid-Body-of-Artworks/Donger-Shepherd/p/book/9780415562348>

Bouchard, G 2009, Haptic Visuality: The Dissective View in Performance. in A Oddey & C White (eds), Modes of Spectating. Intellect.

Bouchard, G 2008, Be Not Faithless But Believing: Illusion and Doubt in the Anatomy Theatre. in M Bleeker (ed.), Anatomy Live: Performance and the Operating Theatre. MediaMatters, Amsterdam University Press, pp. 93-110.

View all publications in research portal