Professor Jonathan Pitches

Professor Jonathan Pitches


As Professor of Theatre and Performance in PCI I have research interests in all aspects of performer training and directing, in environmental performance and in blended learning. I co-edit the Journal of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training and have very recently finished editing two large book projects: Stanislavsky in the World (with Stefan Aquilina, Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, 2017) and Great Stage Directors - Copeau, Komisarjevsky and Guthrie (Bloomsbury Methuen Drama 2018). In addition, I have developed an all-consuming interest in the relationship between theatre, performance and mountains and started a 24 month AHRC-funded fellowship to write about this in October 2016. My formal partner on this project is Kendal Mountain Festival. I'm delighted to say that the monograph associated with this project - Performing Mountains (Palgrave 2018) was submitted to the publishers in September 2018.

I was appointed to the Chair of Theatre & Performance in the School in 2006, and finished a three and a half year period as Director of Research for PCI in 2014, leading the School's submission for the last REF. I led the Practitioner Processes Research group for nine years and now convene the Place and Performance Research Group in the School. I very much enjoyed being the first Blended Learning Champion for the faculty (2013-16) and continue to serve on committees and research in the area of Digital learning.

Throughout my time as an academic I have been interested in performer training, beginning with Russian approaches to actor training and expanding out more recently to the UK, US and China. Although not strictly a practice-led researcher, (my thesis was a 100,000 words long!) I have always based my research and writing on a deep curiosity and engagement with laboratory training practices and this interest has taken me to Japan, China, India, Malta, Prague and Australia to explore these practices with students and professional actors.


  • Director of Impact and Innovation

Research interests

I have research interests in all aspects of performer training and directing, in environmental performance and in blended learning. My specialisms include

  • Environmental Performance (Mountains)
  • Performer training methodologies, histories and  transmission routes
  • Histories of theatre directing
  • Blended learning and digital training including MOOCs
  • Founding Co-editor of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training Journal, Routledge
  • Founding co-convenor of TaPRA working group on Performer Training (2006-13)
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD
  • MPhil
  • BA Hons

Student education

I teach across the portfolio of modules within the School and from Undergraduate to PhD. Modules at UG and MA level have included: Interpreting Histories, Performance Perspectives, C20 and C21st Performer Training, Independent Research Projects, Research Perspectives, Conceptual Frameworks, Documenting Performance.

I have over ten PhD completions as a supervisor and have examined more than 25 doctoral theses across the range of formats:  conventional written theses, practice-led research, doctor of creative industries, PhD by publication

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Russian Centre
  • Place & Performance

Current postgraduate research students

<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="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>