Dr Adam J. Ledger FHEA, FRSA

Photograph of Dr Adam J. Ledger

Department of Drama and Theatre Arts
Reader in Theatre and Performance

Contact details

Department of Drama and Theatre Arts
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

My research centres on directing, performance practice and the creation of new work.

I have published widely on theatre practice, especially directing, and significantly on the work of Odin Teatret and Eugenio Barba. I have recently completed the monograph The Director and Directing: Craft, Process and Aesthetic in Contemporary Theatre (Palgrave Macmillan).

I am co-artistic director of The Bone Ensemble, where major projects include international tours of performance about environmental issues.

Adam Ledger is part of the Birmingham Plastics Network, an interdisciplinary team of more than 40 academics working together to shape the fate and sustainable future of plastics.  This unique team brings together chemists, environmental scientists, philosophers, linguists, economists, artists, writers, lawyers and experts in many other fields, to holistically address the global plastics problem.


  • 2018: Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts
  • 2011: Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy
  • 2007: PhD Performance Practice, University of Exeter
  • 2000: MA Theatre and Performance Studies, Rose Bruford College
  • 1992: Diploma in Acting, Webber Douglas Academy, London


Before joining the department at Birmingham, 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 and led projects internationally 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 a member of the 'scientific committee' of the Journal of Theatre Anthropology, and the 'Ship of Fools' scholars-in-residence initiative at the Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium; and part of the FRSA100 project.


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 enquiries, particularly from those wishing to pursue practice-based research in contemporary theatre-making.

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


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 have recently published a monograph on contemporary directing, The Director and Directing: Craft, Process and Aesthetic in Contemporary Theatre (Palgrave Macmillan).

My ongoing practice as research activities includes work with The Bone Ensemble, where I am co-artistic director. Recently, the company has created family performances about environmental themes - see https://theatre-environment.bham.ac.uk/. This work has regularly been funded by Arts Council England, the University of Birmingham, several Trusts, and commissioning partners. The company is now creating community performance work.

Other activities

I have acted as external examiner for other universities and developed distance-learning materials. I have worked with several European and Indian universities.


Recent publications


Ledger, A, Kuhlmann, A 2021, Eugenio Barba: L'albero della conoscenza dello spettacolo. translated by Leonardo Mancini, Il Contemporaneo, CuePress, Imola, Italy. <https://www.cuepress.com/catalogo/eugenio-barba>

Ledger, A 2019, The Director and Directing: Craft, Process and Aesthetic in Contemporary Theatre. 1 edn, Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-40767-2


Ledger, A, Kuhlmann, A, Christoffersen, EE, Turner, J, Campbell, P & Chemi, T 2022, ''The ship of fools': a critical laboratory', Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 37-39. https://doi.org/10.1080/19443927.2022.2033478

Ledger, A 2022, 'Compromising Skill: Fevered Sleep’s Men & Girls Dance', Contemporary Theatre Review, vol. 32, no. 1, pp. 105-109. https://doi.org/10.1080/10486801.2022.2009659

Ledger, A, Kuhlmann, A, Christoffersen, EE, Turner, J, Campbell, P & Chemi, T 2022, 'From the Centre to the Periphery', Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 156-158 . https://doi.org/10.1080/19443927.2022.2033463

Ledger, A 2022, 'Message in a Bottle?', Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 135-135. https://doi.org/10.1080/19443927.2022.2038954

Ledger, A 2020, 'Katie Mitchell and the Practice/ise of Rehearsal', Contemporary Theatre Review, vol. 30, no. 2, pp. 265-268. https://doi.org/10.1080/10486801.2020.1731494

Ledger, A 2018, 'Essais: Where’s my igloo gone?: ‘Trainings’ for/in participatory performance for family audiences', Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 282-286. https://doi.org/10.1080/19443927.2018.1475161

Ledger, A 2016, ''It’s not about fucking it up’: The Trial of Ubu, the text and the director', Contemporary Theatre Review, vol. 26, no. 3, pp. 345-356. https://doi.org/10.1080/10486801.2016.1183663

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Ledger, A 2020, Deborah Warner: Experiments in words, bodies and place. in M Delgado & D Rebellato (eds), Contemporary European Stage Directors (2nd ed.).. 2nd edn, Routledge.

Ledger, A & Kuhlmann, A 2018, The tree of performance knowledge: Eugenio Barba. in P Allain & S Shepherd (eds), The Great European Stage Directors: Grotowski, Brook, Barba. Great European Stage Directors, vol. 5, Bloomsbury, London, pp. 145-202, 221-232, 236-237. <https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/the-great-european-stage-directors-set-2-9781474254168/>

Ledger, A 2017, ‘The thrill of doing it live’: devising and performing Katie Mitchell’s international multimedia productions. in K Reilly (ed.), Contemporary Approaches to Adaptation in Theatre. Adaptation in Theatre and Performance, Palgrave Macmillan.

Ledger, A 2016, Caravania!: intimate theatre for family audiences. in J Frieze (ed.), Reframing Immersive Theatre: The Politics and Pragmatics of Participatory Performance. 1st edn, Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-36604-7

Ledger, A 2016, The Women of Odin Teatret: Creativity, Challenge, Legacy. in K Syssoyeva & S Proudfit (eds), Women, Collective Creation and Devised Theatre: The Rise of Women Theatre Artists in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries. 1st edn, Palgrave. https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-55013-2

Book/Film/Article review

Ledger, A 2020, 'Russian Theatre in Practice: the Director's Guide, ed. Amy Skinner', New Theatre Quarterly, vol. 36, no. 2.

View all publications in research portal