Duncan Marwick


I am a skilled theatre practitioner, improviser, puppeteer, director, performance teacher and have worked professionally as an actor since 1996 training at RWCMD and graduating in 1996 gaining wide-ranging work in Film, Television, Theatre, Voiceover and on Radio via advertising campaigns.

In 2003 I began to use performance skills to teach in Youth Theatres, Schools, Colleges and as a facilitator for Theatre Companies such as Proper Job Theatre and Red Ladder Theatre. Through these multiple experiences I recognised how formal actor training was transferrable to many different roles and could be used in numerous situations.

I was the leader of two degree level courses at Leeds City College and Lecturer in Drama Acting and Improvisation from 2012-2017, having begun lecturing there in 2005. This was driven by the completion of a Masters of the Arts at UoL in Performance, Culture and Context in 2011 and continuing doctoral research into the application of improvisation in both life and work which was begun in September 2016.

I am a facilitator and performer in the applied use of improvisation as a tool for training, resilience and change. Applied Improvisation is used for building confidence for participants using performance training that highlights how these concepts are used to powerful effect in corporate training and the health and wellbeing sector.

I started my performance training with The Scottish Youth Theatre and The (Royal) Welsh College of Music and Drama before a Masters in ‘Performance, Culture and Context’ at Leeds University. I am currently studying for a PhD, exploring Improvisation and Performance education.

I have been teaching since 2003 and is passionate about humans need to access improvisation and understand how to use it in the world.

Victoria (Royal Shakespeare Company), Inconceivable (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Trainspotting and MacBeth (York Theatre Royal), Doctors (BBC), The Young Person's Guide To Becoming A Rockstar (Channel 4), The Royal (Yorkshire T.V.)

Research interests

I am a founding member of ThreadBear Theatre (Playback Theatre) and MonkeyHeads, both improvisation collectives in West Yorkshire. The two companies are the basis for my continued practical research into the applications of improvisation for performer training.

MonkeyHeads is both a performance collective and a centre for Applied Improvisation. Projects have included Improving Communications for Clinicians, Customer Service for Waste Teams and Improving Presence for MBA students. They perform a 2prov format, mashing up a number of techniques to create a surreal soup of an experience. Based in Leeds in the UK, having delivered nationally and internationally, at retreats and both academic and professional conferences.

In ThreadBear Theatre we use Playback Theatre to bring your stories to life immediately with music and drama, inviting you to share your stories and see moments from your lives made into theatre, creating connections with each other along the way. Our events are a chance for people to reflect on their time together, or on a specific theme they wish to explore. We offer workshops for anyone interested in developing skills of listening, improvisation, fluidity, personal storytelling and music that are intrinsic to this form of theatre. We create a ritual space where any story however ordinary or extraordinary can be told and immediately made into theatre. Someone tells a story or moment from their life, chooses actors to play the different roles, then watches as their story is immediately recreated and given artistic shape and coherence. Everyone has a story, everyone is welcome, everyone can feel connected to each other. All you need to bring are curiosity, generosity and the courage to enjoy yourself. Playing back stories is what we do.

I am particularily interested in the applications of improvisation in corporate training for greater productivity, confidence, innovation, resilience and communication. This can be for any form of improvisation and he is building an understanding of the principles and fundamentals of such practice with a focus on Playback Theatre, Meisner Technique and Improv.


  • BA Theatre Studies (Acting)
  • MA Performance Culture and Context

Research groups and institutes

  • Audience, Engagement & Experience
  • Performance, Training, Preparation & Pedagogy