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About Dr Shelley Piasecka

Her stage adaptation of Moby Dick (2017) was selected for discussion at a public event at the British Library discussing the life and work of Herman Melville. Shelley’s current academic research examines the role of drama and theatre in countering youth radicalisation in schools.

In addition to undergraduate teaching and postgraduate research, Shelley is the Programme Leader for the MRes in Arts and Media, a research network leader for the Performing Arts Department and a Postgraduate Tutor. Shelley joined the University of Chester in 2011, following a seven-year post at Staffordshire University.  Shelley supervises two PhD students and is happy to receive enquires from prospective MRes, MPhil/PhD candidates.

I am writer, academic and theatre director and my scholarly and creative outputs are connected in meaningful ways. I am interested in the intersections between theatre, government policy and education and since 2015 I have studied the role of theatre-in-education in countering youth radicalisation. Additionally, I am involved in the adaptation and direction of classic texts for the stage. I use theatre direction as a way to explore narrative structure, theatrical truth and notions of time, place and memory.

My Teaching expertise lies in the interpretation and direction of devised and scripted play texts, interdisciplinary performance practice, Live Art, Post Modern Performance Theory, Theatre Semiotics and play text analysis. For many years I have taken students on residential visits to New York City and performance festivals in the United Kingdom and Europe. I have a research interest in performance theatre, educational drama and performance ethnography.

Community Membership and Engagement:

Shelley is an active member of the Labour Party and is Treasurer for the South Cheshire Branch.  She was the Labour Party Local Candidate for the Ward of Bunbury and an Election Agent for the Ward of Willaston in the 2015 National Elections.

Shelley is a member of the Scouts Association and was Akela for the 26th Willaston Cub Pack. Over a six-year period Shelley has stage-managed two Gang Shows for the Crewe & District Scout Council and is a co-producer for the 2016 Gang Show at the Crewe Lyceum.

Teaching

In addition to teaching and research supervision, Shelley has directed many full-length student productions: 

2015     Staff Director    Antigone                                               University of Chester

2014     Staff Director    Elephants Graveyard                             University of Chester

2013     Staff Director    Lysistrata                                              University of Chester

2012     Staff Director    Attempts on her Life                              University of Chester

2011     Staff Director    Roses and Morphine                              University of Chester

2011     Staff Director    Site Specific Performance                      Staffordshire University

2010     Staff Director    The Visit                                               Staffordshire University

2011     Staff Director    Second to the Right, Site Performance    Staffordshire University

2010     Staff Curator    Live Art Showcase                                 Staffordshire University

2010     Staff Director    The Visit                                               Staffordshire University

2010     Staff Director    The Navvy Way, Site Performance          Staffordshire University

2009     Staff Curator    Live Art Performance                            Staffordshire University

2009     Staff Director    The Leopard, Site Performance              Staffordshire University

2009     Staff Director    The Last Days of Don Juan                    Staffordshire University

2009     Staff Curator    Live Art Showcase                                 Staffordshire University

2008     Staff Curator    Live Art Showcase                                 Staffordshire University

2007     Staff Director    Antigone                                               Staffordshire University

2006     Staff Curator    Live Art Showcase                                 Staffordshire University

2005     Staff Curator    Live Art Showcase                                 Staffordshire University

2004     Staff Director    Letter 17, Devised Performance             Staffordshire University

2004     Staff Director    Ghost Sonata                                        Staffordshire University

 

Research

Shelley is currently writing on the use of drama and theatre workshops to deliver the Government’s Prevent Strategy in schools and community settings. She is also interested in the STEAM Agenda and the political role of the arts in the modern-day English compulsory school curriculum.

Research and Creative Works

Piasecka, S. “Culture, Politics and Drama Education: The Creative Agenda 1997-2015”, Drama Research: International journal of drama in education, Vol 7, 1: 2-19, 2016

Piasecka, S. “In the Thick of It: Proximities of Belonging in Drama Research”, Drama Research, International Journal of Drama Education, Vol 5, 1: 1-14, 2014

Piasecka, S. “Fishing in Puddles: Place and Space in Performance Research”, International Journal of Art & Design Education, Vol 33: 235–241, 2014

Piasecka, M. “ Creativity, Live Art and the Primary School Curriculum”, Daniel Watt and Daniel Meyer-Dinkgrafe (Eds), Theatres of Thought: Theatre, Performance and Philosophy, 140-151, Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars, 2007

Creative Works (Writer and/or Director: STAGE)

Ada Nield Chew, Radical Suffragist: Pop-up protest performance to mark the centenary of the legal assent of the Representation of the People’s Act, written and directed by Shelley Piaseck. Shown at Manchester Metropolitan University, the Cornerstone Festival, Liverpool and the People’s History Museum, Manchester, 2018. Ada was an influential figure in the Suffragist movement, but her legacy is often overlooked.

 Moby Dick by Herman Melville and adapted and directed by Shelley Piasecka, Piasecki and Piasecka Theatre Company: North West and London showcase, 2017.

Flight to Arras by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, adapted for the stage by Simon Piasecki and directed by Shelley Piasecka, Piasecki and Piasecka Theatre Company: UK, Europe and Armenia, including a special memorial program to the Armenian Genocide at the High Fest International Performing Arts Festival, 2015.

My Romantic History, by D. C. Jackson, directed by Shelley Piasecka, Quintus Theatre Company. Small scale tour, North West, 2014. Quintus’ are graduates from the University of Chester, Performing Arts Department.

Additional Creative Works (STAGE)

Co-Director: The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, Nantwich Players, Nantwich, 2017

Stage Manager, Crewe and District Scout Gangshow, SWC Scouts, Crewe, 2011, 2013

Actor:  School Dilemmas, Teacher’s TV, Maverick TV Company, 2010

Performer: Secondsands, BET4 Performance, Arts Council Funded, UK and European tour, 2000-2002

Performer: Kontakt; La Revolution Francais; I Will You, 3rd International Festival of Experimental and Performance Art, Petersburg, Russia, 2000

Performer: Insideinout, BET4 Performance, UK and European tour, 1998-2000   

Actor: Womberang (Audrey), The Baggage Factory, England tour, 1998     

Actor Shakers Re-Stirred (Carol), The Baggage Factory, England tour, 1997 

Actor: Aladdin (Aladdin), Tin Box Theatre Company, Weston Park, Shropshire, 1998

Actor: Cinderella (Cinderella), Tin Box Theatre Company, Weston Park, Shropshire, 1997

Conferences

TEDx speaker: “The Role of Theatre-in-Education in Countering Youth Radicalisation”, UoC, 2018**

Research paper: “Adapting the letters of Ada Nield Chew for the stage”, for The Drama of the Suffrage Movement Conference, PHM, Manchester, 2018**

Speaker: “Theatre-in-Education in Countering Youth Radicalisation,” Celebrating Women’s Research, Faculty of Arts and Media, UoC, 2018**

Keynote speaker: “UK Counter-Terrorism and the Prevent Duty Strategy,” SWC Labour Party Branch Meeting, 2018**

Speaker (and co-organiser): The Christmas Lectures, Storyhouse, Chester, 2017**

Invited delegate, Race, Racism and Xenophobia Conference, The European Parliament, Brussels, 2017**

Co-Convener and speaker: Narratives and Alternative Stories Conference, UoC, 2017**

Invited panelist:  “Moby Dick: Piasecki and Piasecka Theatre Company”, Looking for Melville (public event), British Library, London, 2017**

Invited delegate: Beyond Text, Vic, Barcelona, 2017**

Research paper: “Adapting Moby Dick for the Stage”, Studies in 19th Century Literature, Keele University, 2017**

Research paper: “Theatre-in-education and the Prevent Duty Strategy”, Women of Crewe, MMU, 2016**

Research paper: “Adapting Antoine du Saint-Exupéry Flight to Arras”, presented by Professor Simon Piasecki, Adaptations Conference , Lille, France, 2016**

Research paper: “Work-based learning in Traditional Theatre Environments”, Learning and Teaching Staff Conference, UoC, 2015

Research paper: “Where have all the words gone? Challenges and Dilemmas in Performance-based Research”, Silence: A Semiotics of (in)Significance, Embodiments Conference, Liverpool University, 2015

Research paper: “Narrative Methodologies in the Performing Arts,” Troubling Narratives Conference, Huddersfield, 2014

Research paper: “Narrative Methodologies in the Performing Arts”, CCRAM, UoC, 2014

Research paper: “Sewing Shadows, Drama in the Primary School Curriculum, Heathcote Re-Considered, National Drama, International Conference, 2013

Research paper: “Fishing in Puddle: Place and Space in Performance Research”, IJADE, UoC, 2012

Learning and Teaching

Research Supervision MPhil/PhD – 5 Candidates

Principal Supervisor: Smark Naked: The Representations of Masculinity in Pro-Wrestling.

I co-supervise doctoral projects in the following areas: collaborative songwriting, an auto-ethnographic account; pedagogical approaches to law and ethics in undergraduate journalism; drama pedagogy and practice in Sweden.

MRes – 2 Candidates

A Foucauldian Analysis of Power in William Shakespeare’s Henry V

The Evolution of Dance Theatre: Pina Bausch to the Present Day

Directed UG Student Productions (STAGE, Public Audiences)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, William Shakespeare, Forum Studio Theatre, UoC, 2017

The Crucible, Arthur Miller, Forum Studio Theatre, UoC, 2016

Antigone, Jean Anouilh, Forum Studio Theatre, UoC, 2015

Elephant’s Graveyard, Gerorge Brant Forum Studio Theatre, UoC, 2014**

The Common Chorus, Tony Harrrison, Kingsway Campus, UoC, 2013

Attempts on her Life, Martin Crimp, Kingsway Campus, UoC 2012

Roses and Morphine, Liz Tomlin, Kingsway Campus, UoC, 2011

The Visit, Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Studio 1, Staffordshire University, 2010

The Navvy Way, Shelley Piasecka, Staffordshire University, 2010

The Leopard, Shelley Piasecka, Staffordshire University, 2010

The Last Days of Don Juan, Nick Dear, Studio 1, Staffordshire University, 2009

The Ghost Sonata, August Strindberg, Staffordshire University, 2009

Antigone, Jean Anouilh, Staffordshire University, 2007

Letter 17, Shelley Piasecka, Staffordshire University, 2004

Qualifications

2012     PhD: Sewing Shadows, Investigating Performance Research in the Primary School Curriculum. Supervised by Professor Robin Nelson, Professor Dean Garratt and Dr Russell Jones. Externally examined by Professor Tony Jackson. MMU Cheshire.

2005     MA by Research:  Live Art and the Post-16 Curriculum. MMU Cheshire.

1998     PGCE, Further and Higher Education. Wolverhampton University