Dr Tony Gardner


I joined the University of Leeds in 2004 originally on the BA Acting programme from a background in theatre directing, following which I became Programme Leader for the new BA Theatre & Performance and led its initial development within the School. I obtained my PhD from the University of Manchester in 2000 on the work of French actor, director and theorist Antonin Artaud, and taught on the Theatre Studies programme at the University of Hull before moving to Leeds. My first degrees include a BA in Drama and Theatre Studies (Directing) along with an MA in Drama by Research from the University of Kent. Having travelled widely in earlier years and completing a European Baccalaureate while living in Luxembourg, I continue to have a strong affinity with the broader landscape of European theatre and culture, and speak both German and French languages. I have supervised a range of PhDs in the School, with topics as diverse as trauma in live art and theatre, the application of Oulipo techniques to performance practice, and the history of laboratory theatres in Europe, among others. 

Research interests

Apart from a specialism in the work of Antonin Artaud and 20th century French theatre more generally, my research interests have broadened in recent years to include live art and contemporary performance in theory and practice, with a special focus on durational performance and time-based work, as well as theories of time in performance. I have also become increasingly fascinated by the relationship between information and art, whether in the form of ‘information art’ or ‘algorithmic art’ exploring the intersection between ‘big data’ and performance, or through developments in creative AI and machine-based learning.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD Drama - Antonin Artaud's Affective Athleticism
  • MA Drama by Research
  • BA Drama & Theatre Studies

Student education

My teaching has mostly focused on the BA Theatre & Performance programme, for which I have also been Programme Leader twice, where I cover the range of theoretical, historical and practical subjects. I have been developing studio-based, ensemble approaches to the teaching of performance practice for many years, along with supervising performance projects and other creative outcomes. My ongoing commitment is to providing students with the tools to create their own, original work as the basis for forming independent performance companies after graduation – for which I also developed a company incubation and professional mentoring scheme. I have also taught on various MA programmes within the School, most recently with a focus on supervising independent negotiated projects as a springboard for future ambitions and employment.  I have worked in other numerous roles within the School, including as Deputy Director of Student Education, Assessment Lead, and School representative on committees such as Blended Learning.

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>