Dr Caroline Wake

BA(Hons) PhD (UNSW) Grad. Cert. University Learning and Teaching
School of the Arts & Media, Forced Migration Research Network


+ 61 2 9385 0720
Room 246E, Level 2, Robert Webster
Kensington Campus
Fields: Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, Migration, Performing Arts and Creative Writing, Performance and Installation Art, Migrant Cultural Studies
Tags: Conserving Intangible Cultural Heritage, The Performing Arts (incl. Theatre and Dance)

Trained in theatre and performance studies, Caroline Wake now researches, teaches and supervises in the fields of performance, visual and cultural studies.


Caroline Wake is Lecturer in Theatre and Performance in the School of the Arts and Media. In broad terms, she researches the relationship between politics and performance and within that she has several interests. Firstly, in theatre and migration, including the participation, representation and self-determination of refugees and asylum seekers in contemporary theatre, performance, and visual art. Secondly, documentary theatres including autobiography and performed oral history. Thirdly, in the cultural afterlives of performance, including reviews, photographic and filmic documentation, archives, and representations of performance in other creative media (books, movies, memes and more). This work has been published in her edited book, Visions and Revisions: Performance, Memory, Trauma (2013, with Bryoni Trezise) as well as in journals such as Theatre Research International, Text & Performance Quarterly, New Theatre Quarterly, Modern Drama, and History & Memory.

Caroline is a Board Member (Awards Officer) of Performance Studies international (PSi), the discipline’s peak body. She is also Editor of Performance Paradigm, an open-access, peer-reviewed journal devoted to contemporary theatre, performance and visual art in the Asia-Pacific. Outside the university, Caroline serves as Board Member for PACT Centre for Emerging Artists and as a reviewer for RealTime arts magazine, where she has previously worked as online producer. In 2015, she wrote the UNSW submission to, and then appeared in person at, the Senate Inquiry into the Impact of the 2014 and 2015 Commonwealth Budget on the Arts. The submission was cited in the final report.

Caroline welcomes supervisions in any of the above areas or contemporary performance more broadly.

Research Interests

Contemporary theatre, performance, and visual art; visual culture; migration and migrant cultural studies; Australian studies; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander studies; critical legal studies

Current Research Grants

2018-22. Australian Research Council Linkage Project. iDesign: Reformulating Set Design Aesthetics via a Dialogical Model of Interactivity. CIs: Prof Dennis Del Favero, Prof, Maurice Pagnucco, Dr Caroline Wake, Dr Susanne Thurow, Prof, Dr Lawrence Wallen; Prof Maria Malvina Borgherini, Mr Kip Williams, Mr Michael Scott-Mitchell. ($542,916)

2017. Australian Research Council Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities. AusStage Phase 6: Researching Australian Live Performance: Venues, Visualisation, and Internationalisation. CIs: Prof Julian Meyrick, Prof Joanne Tompkins, Prof Rachel Fensham, A/Prof Maryrose Casey, Dr Glenn D'Cruz, Dr Gillian Arrighi, Dr Jonathan Marshall, Prof John O'Toole, Dr Bree Hadley, A/Prof Ian Maxwell, Dr Caroline Wake, Prof Peta Tait, Dr Margaret Hamilton, Ms Janine Barrand. ($465,000)

2016-18. Australian Research Council Discovery Project. Power and Performance: Revaluing Theatre in the 21st CenturyCIs: Prof Helena Grehan, Prof Edward Scheer, Dr Eddie Paterson, Dr Caroline Wake. PIs: Prof Peter Eckersall, Prof Janelle Reinelt. ($137,455)

2015-17. Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) Fellowship 2015. Restoring the Contemporary: Remembering Live Art at The Performance Space. CI: Dr Caroline Wake ($327,849)



Caroline teaches across theatre, performance, and media studies.

In Semester 1, 2018, she is convening ARTS2121 Theatre and Current Events and ARTS3132 Based on a True Story: Theatres of the Real.

In theatre and performance studies, she has previously tutored in:

  • ARTS1120 Introduction to Theatre and Performance;
  • ARTS1121 Reading Performance;
  • ARTS2120 Writing for Performance;
  • ARTS3124 Performance Production 2: Collaborative Making.

In media studies, she has previously convened and/or tutored in:

  • ARTS2091 Mobile Cultures;
  • ARTS2090 Publics and Publishing in Transition;
  • ARTS3091 Advanced Media Issues: New Media, Cultural and Social Change.

She has also given guest lectures and seminars in:

  • ARTS3120 Studies in World Performance;
  • ARTS3289 Documentary Film and HIstory;
  • ARTS4201 Uses of Theory.

Caroline completed her Graduate Certificate in University Learning and Teaching in 2017.

Honours and prizes

Caroline is the recipient of the 2014 Marlis Thiersch Prize for excellence in English-language articles anywhere in the world in the broad field of drama, theatre and performance studies. The article is "Between Repetition and Oblivion: Performance, Testimony, and Ontology in the Refugee Determination Process." Text & Performance Quarterly 33.4 (2013): 326-343 and is available here or here. The judges' comments are available here.

Affiliations and membership

Board Member
PSi (Performance Studies international) Awards Officer (2016-)
PACT Centre for Emerging Artists (2017-)

ADSA (Australasian Association for Theatre, Drama, and Performance Studies)
ASTR (American Society for Theater Research)
ATHE (Association for Theatre in Higher Education)
FIRT (International Federation for Theatre Research)
MLA (Modern Language Association)

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