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.


  • 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.


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 include Where’s My Igloo Gone? with The Bone Ensemble, a family performance that explores how theatre can engage with climate change, and now Gulp!, a piece about the politics of water for family audiences. This work has regularly been funded by Arts Council England, the University of Birmingham, several Trusts and commissioning partners.

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.


Books (monographs)

  • The Director and Directing: Craft, Process and Aesthetic in Contemporary Theatre. Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.
  • Odin Teatret: Theatre in a New Century. Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.


  • ‘The Tree of Performance Knowledge: Eugenio Barba’, with Annelis Kuhlmann, in Great European Stage Directors (Vol. 5): Peter Brook, Jerzy Grotowski and Eugenio Barba, ed. Paul Allain. Bloomsbury Methuen, 2018.
  • ‘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, 2018.
  • 'Caravania!: intimate theatre for family audiences', in Framing Immersive Theatre and Performance, ed. James Frieze. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.
  • ‘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.
  • ‘Women Directors in the UK’, in International Women Stage Directors, eds. Anne L. Fliotsos and Wendy Vierow. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2013.
  • 'Stan's Cafe: the Vision of the Ensemble', in Encountering Ensemble, ed. John Britton. London: Bloomsbury Methuen, 2013.
  • ‘The Question of Documentation: creative strategies in performance research’, in Research Methods in Theatre Studies, eds. Baz Kershaw and Helen Nicholson. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2011.
  • ‘Finding a way: considering the pedagogies of devising in the university context’, in Teaching Theatre Today, 2nd ed., eds. Anne L. Fliotsos and Gail S. Medford. New York: Palgrave, 2009.
  • ‘'Knowledge-in-action': some thinking (on my feet?) about theatre practice in U.K. higher education’, in International Perspectives on Learning to Learn, ed. Werner Becker. Tönning: Der Andere Verlag, 2008.

Practice as research (major)

  • In development: Gulp!, The Bone Ensemble.
  • Where’s My Igloo Gone?, The Bone Ensemble; touring internationally 2016-19.
  • Caravania!, The Bone Ensemble, 2012-15.
  • The Car Park Show, The Bone Ensemble, 2010; UK and Denmark.
  • Again, Granary Theatre, Cork, The Bone Ensemble, Foursight Theatre, 2006.

Journal articles

  • Where’s My Igloo Gone?: ‘Trainings’ for/in participatory performance for family audiences’, Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, 9, 2 (2018): 282-6.
  • ‘It’s not about fucking it up’: The Trial of Ubu, the text and the director’, Contemporary Theatre Review, special issue on Simon Stephens, 26, 3 (2016): 345-356.
  • 'Getting intimate in India: care and presence', Performing Ethos 3, 2 (2014): 215-18.
  • ‘'Does what?': reflections on acting, directing and rehearsing Martin Crimp’s Fewer Emergencies’, New Theatre Quarterly, 26, 2 (2010): 121-132; reprinted in Romanian in Annals – Arts Series (2011).
  • ‘'The People of Ritual'’: Odin Teatret’s Festuge’, About Performance, No. 9 (2009).
  • ‘'The Cheap Flight Show': site-specific work, devising…and being a European’, Research in Drama and Education, 12, 1 (2007): 98-104. An accompanying DVD-ROM is lodged with the Arts Humanities Data Service.
  • ‘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 (2006): 147-59.
  • ‘Knowledge-in-action’: some thinking (on my feet?) about theatre practice in UK higher education’, Zeitschrift für Theaterpädagogik, 22, 49 (2006): 41-7.
  • ‘'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 (2005): 153-164. 


View all publications in research portal