Dr Adam J. Ledger MA, PhD, FHEA

Photograph of Dr Adam J. Ledger

Department of Drama and Theatre Arts
Senior Lecturer

Contact details

+44(0)121 414 5998
+44(0)121 414 5781
Department of Drama and Theatre Arts
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Following a period of freelance work as a director and tutor in and around London, I was appointed as the first Lecturer in Drama and Theatre Studies at University College Cork, Ireland, in 2001. I moved to the University of Hull in January 2005 and to the University of Birmingham in 2011.

My theatre practice and research centres on directing, performance practice and the creation of new work, which informs my teaching and theatre-making outside of the University.

I became a Senior Lecturer in 2014.


  • 1992: Diploma in Acting, Webber Douglas Academy, London
  • 2000: MA Theatre and Performance Studies, Rose Bruford College
  • 2007: PhD Performance Practice, University of Exeter
  • 2011: Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy


Before joining the department at Birmingham as a Lecturer in Drama and Theatre Arts, I was a Lecturer in Drama and Theatre Studies at University College Cork, Ireland, and a Lecturer in Drama at the University of Hull.

Alongside my academic work, I have directed in several countries in a variety of situations and settings, including professional productions and tours, in drama schools and universities, in the community and with my own company.

I am co-artistic director of The Bone Ensemble and a trustee and board member of KILN Ensemble, and a member of the European Theatre Research Network.


My teaching and curriculum development work has been particularly practical in focus, based around performance preparation and realisation, with further seminar or study options concerning the history and philosophy of acting, the practice and theory of directing and text-based courses.

Postgraduate supervision

I have supervised in areas related to my research and teaching interests, and welcome all enquiries, particularly from those wishing to pursue practice-based research.


My research interests centre on performance practice, especially directing, acting (and how these are brought together through rehearsal), devising and performer training. My recent research has focussed on Odin Teatret and now especially concerns contemporary directing and performance-making practices.

I am currently preparing a monograph on contemporary directing, as well as book chapters on directors' practice for edited collections.

My ongoing practice as research activities include Where’s My Igloo Gone? with The Bone Ensemble, a family performance that explores how theatre can engage with climate change. This work has been funded by Arts Council England, the University of Birmingham, several Trusts and commissioning partners and is accompanied by an interactive installation. Other recent work includes Caravania!, an intimate, participatory performance for family audiences of up to six people at a time, which has toured extensively, including to the National Theatre.

Other activities

I have acted as external examiner for postgraduate and undergraduate programmes at other universities and developed distance-learning materials. I have worked with several European and Indian universities, with which I continue to collaborate.


Selected publications:

  • In preparation: (monograph) The Director and Directing: Craft, Process and Aesthetic in Contemporary Theatre (Palgrave Macmillan). 
  • In preparation (book section) ‘The Tree of Performance Knowledge: Eugenio Barba’, with Annelis Kuhlmann, in Great Directors: Peter Brook, Jerzy Grotowski and Eugenio Barba, ed. Paul Allain. Bloomsbury Methuen.
  • In press: (book chapter) ‘The thrill of doing it live’: devising and performing Katie Mitchell’s international multimedia productions’, in Contemporary Approaches to Adaptation, ed. Kara Reilly. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • 2017: (book chapter) 'Caravania!: intimate theatre for family audiences', Framing Immersive Theatre and Performance, ed. James Frieze, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • 2016: (book chapter) ‘The Women of Odin Teatret: Creativity, Challenge, Legacy’, in Women, Collective Creation and Devised Theatre, eds. Kathryn Syssoyeva and Scott Proudfit. New York: Palgrave.
  • 2016: (article) ‘It’s not about fucking it up’: The Trial of Ubu, the text and the director’, Contemporary Theatre Review, special issue on Simon Stephens.
  • 2015: commentaries on the work of Odin Teatret, www.routledgeperformancearchive.com
  • 2014: Foreword to Callery, Dymphna The Active Text, London: Nick Hern Books.
  • 2014 (2012) (article) 'Getting intimate in India: care and presence', Performing Ethos 3, 2, pp. 215-18.
  • 2013: (book chapter) ‘Women Directors in the UK’, International Women Stage Directors, eds. Anne L. Fliotsos and Wendy Vierow, Champaign: University of Illinois Press.
  • 2013: (book chapter) 'Stan's Cafe: the Vision of the Ensemble', Encountering Ensemble, ed. John Britton, London: Bloomsbury Methuen.
  • 2012: (monograph) Odin Teatret: Theatre in a New Century, Palgrave Macmillan.
  • 2011: (book chapter) ‘The Question of Documentation: creative strategies in performance research’, Research Methods in Theatre Studies, eds. Baz Kershaw and Helen Nicholson, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
  • 2010: (article) ‘'Does what?': reflections on acting, directing and rehearsing Martin Crimp’s Fewer Emergencies’, New Theatre Quarterly, Vol. 26, Issue 2 (May); reprinted in Romanian in Annals – Arts Series.
  • 2009: (book chapter) ‘Finding a way: considering the pedagogies of devising in the university context’, Teaching Theatre Today, 2nd ed., eds. Anne L. Fliotsos and Gail S. Medford, New York: Palgrave.
  • 2009: (article) ‘'The People of Ritual'’: Odin Teatret’s Festuge’, About Performance, No. 9.
  • 2008: (book chapter) ‘'Knowledge-in-action': some thinking (on my feet?) about theatre practice in U.K. higher education’, International Perspectives onLearning to Learn, ed. Werner Becker, Tönning: Der Andere Verlag (rewritten version of 2006b).
  • 2007:(article) ‘'The Cheap Flight Show': site-specific work, devising…and being a European’, Research in Drama and Education, 12.1: 98-104. A DVD-ROM to accompany the above is lodged with the Arts Humanities Data Service.
  • 2006: (article) ‘Looking up ‘secrets’: definitions, narrative and pragmatism in A Dictionary of Theatre Anthropology: the Secret Art of the Performer’, Studies in Theatre and Performance, 26.2: 147-59.
  • 2006b: (article) ‘Knowledge-in-action’: some thinking (on my feet?) about theatre practice in UK higher education’, Zeitschrift für Theaterpädagogik, 22. Jahrgang, Heft 49: 41-7.
  • 2005: (article) ‘'A spider web moved by the wind'’: a response to the Symposium of the 13th session of the International School of Theatre Anthropology’, Studies in Theatre and Performance, 25.2: 153-164.
  • ‘Michael Chekhov’, www.litencyc.com (encyclopaedia entry, 2000 words).
  • 2004-6. Again, Granary Theatre, Cork. Supporting DVD/DVD-ROM material. A new production of Again toured the UK in collaboration with Foursight Theatre in Spring 2006.
    The production is part of a body of practice as research, which includes PhD projects; projects in Austria (see 2007); in conjunction with Om Laboratoriet, Denmark (2007); and The Car Park Show, Caravania! and The Igloo Project with The Bone Ensemble.