Dr Theron Schmidt

School of the Arts & Media


+61 (2) 9385 3218
+61 (2) 9385 6812
Room 121, Level 1, Robert Webster
Kensington Campus
Fields: Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, Political Theory and Political Philosophy, Art Theory and Criticism, Performing Arts and Creative Writing, Performance and Installation Art

Theron Schmidt works internationally as a writer, teacher, and performer. He has published widely on contemporary theatre and performance, participatory art practices, and politically engaged performance.  He is a founding co-convener of the international Performance Philosophy network and assistant editor of Contemporary Theatre Review.  He also makes performance as a solo and collaborative artist.


My research and publication areas include contemporary theatre and performance, particularly the political and interventionist potential of theatre and performance practices, as well as using ideas from theatre and performance to read and shift our understanding of broader political questions.  I’m interested in the ways that certain problems of speech and gesture in the political realm can be considered as essentially theatrical problems – problems for theatre, but also ideas that theatricality makes problems of – such as problems of representation or of authenticity. 

Recent research has focused on the practice of artists such as Back to Back Theatre, Cassils, Tim Crouch, Richard Maxwell, Rabih Mroué, Nature Theatre of Oklahoma, Rimini Protokoll, and Christoph Schlingensief. I have published articles in Contemporary Theatre Review, Law Text Culture, and Performance Research. I am an Assistant Editor for Contemporary Theatre Review and am on the editorial boards for Performance Research and the International Journal of Screendance.  I am also a co-convener of the international Performance Philosophy network and founding co-editor of the Performance Philosophy journal.

In addition to my formal academic research, I have written widely about live art and performance for a variety of publications, including magazines and artist books. I’m also interested in innovative critical writing projects that foster interaction between artists, scholars, and publics. These have included magazine and online publications in Dance Theatre Journal, RealTime, Total Theatre, and Writing from Live Art; contributing essays to festivals and artist catalogues;  facilitating critical writing projects such as SPILL Stings in London, The Resonance Project and SCRIBE in Melbourne, and a series of symposia at the Chelsea Theatre (London); and running Open Space events in a variety of contexts.    


    Book Chapters

    • Schmidt T, 2017, 'Is This What Democracy Looks Like? The Politics of Representation and the Representation of Politics', in Fisher T; Katsouraki E (ed.), Performing Antagonism: Theatre, Performance & Radical Democracy, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 101 - 130, http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/978-1-349-95100-0_6
    • Schmidt T, 2016, '"When I think of him, I think of angels": Introducing JARMAN (all this maddening beauty)', in Caridad Svich: JARMAN (all this maddening beauty) and Other Plays, Intellect, Bristol and Chicago, pp. 15 - 19
    • Schmidt T, 2013, 'Together in the Here & Now: The Final National Review of Live Art, Glasgow', in Keidan L; Wright A (ed.), The Live Art Almanac Volume 3, Live Art Development Agency and Oberon Books, London, pp. 264 - 266
    • Paterson M;Schmidt T, 2013, 'A Dialogue on Infection', in Keidan L; Wright A (ed.), The Live Art Almanac Volume 3, Oberon/Live Art Development Agency, pp. 273 - 284
    • Schmidt T, 2013, 'Acting, Disabled: Back to Back Theatre and the Politics of Appearance', in Carroll J; Giles S; Jürs-Munby K (ed.), Postdramatic Theatre and the Political: International Perspectives on Contemporary Performance, Bloomsbury, pp. 189 - 207
    • Schmidt T, 2011, 'Culture Crash', in Brine D; Gantner V; Keidan L; Mitchell CJ; Mitchelson A; Pecelli MVP (ed.), The Live Art Almanac Vol. 2, Live Art Development Agency, pp. 165 - 168
    • Schmidt T, 2011, 'After this, birdsong', in Goat Island: A Last, A Quartet -- DVD and Reading Companion, Goat Island and Lucy Cash, pp. 16 - 25
    • Schmidt T, 2008, 'Helen Paris: Vena Amoris', in Brine D (ed.), The Live Art Almanac, Live Art Development Agency, pp. 123 - 124

    Journal articles

    Conference Papers



    Conference Presentations

    • Schmidt T, 2017, 'Blackout. Thinking with darkness', presented at Performing, Writing, Wellington NZ, 10 - 19 March 2017, http://www.performingwriting.com/
    • Schmidt T, 2017, '‘Almost limitless’ theatricality: Putting the audience to work in the Nature Theater of Oklahoma', presented at Performance Philosophy #3: How does performance philosophy act? ethos, ethics, ethnography, Prague CZ, 22 - 25 June 2017, http://web.flu.cas.cz/ppprague2017/
    • Schmidt T, 2016, 'What kind of work is this?', presented at Biennale of Sydney Performance Talks Series: Mini-Symposium, UNSW Sydney, 23 - 23 May 2016, https://www.arts.unsw.edu.au/events/biennale-mini-symposium/
    • Schmidt T, 2016, 'Theatre at work: The life and times of the Nature Theater of Oklahoma', presented at Scenes of the Real, University of Sydney, 27 - 28 July 2016, http://sydney.edu.au/arts/performance/about/events/index.shtml?id=8748
    • Schmidt T, 2015, 'Theatricality and Spectacle: Scenes from the Future of the Image', presented at Performance Research Seminar, Goldsmiths University of London, 28 - 28 January 2015
    • Schmidt T, 2013, 'Some people will do anything to keep themselves from being moved', presented at Performance Studies international #19: NOW THEN: Performance and Temporality, Stanford CA, 26 - 30 June 2013, https://psi19.stanford.edu/
    • Schmidt T, 2012, 'Outsider Theatre: Back to Back’s Hell House', presented at Quorum, Queen Mary University of London, 31 - 31 October 2012
    • Schmidt T, 2012, 'Troublesome Professionals', presented at Performance Studies international #18: Performance :: Culture :: Industry, Leeds UK, 27 June - 01 July 2012, http://www.psi-web.org/past-events/case-study-3/
    • Schmidt T, 2012, 'Acting, disabled: Back to Back Theatre and the Politics of Appearance', presented at London Theatre Seminar, 01 - 01 March 2012, https://londontheatreseminar.wordpress.com/2012/02/21/theron-schmidt/
    • Schmidt T;Cash L;Christopher K, 2011, 'Watching as memory – the films of Goat Island and Lucy Cash', presented at Performance Studies international #17: Camillo 2.0, Utrecht NL, 25 - 29 May 2011, http://www.psi-web.org/past-events/psi-17-utrecht-camillo-2-0/

    Edited Books

    • 2015, On Repetition, Performance Research, Aberystwyth