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About Prof Paul Johnson, MA (Hons,) PGCert, PhD, FRSA.

Paul's academic background is in both arts and sciences; his first degree was in Physics and Theatre studies and his research has often explored the intersections and interactions between disciplines. He worked in applied theatre research at the Centre for Applied Theatre Research at the University of Manchester, on projects investigating theatre in museums, and how performing arts can engage young people in issues around biomedical science (funded by the Wellcome Trust). Paul has worked in theatre as a writer and director, as well as a variety of other roles from youth theatre workers to script reader for the Literary Department of the Birmingham Rep. 

He has been an active member of SCUDD, the subject association for Drama, and was Vice-Chair from 2007 – 2010. Paul is on the Strategic Advisory Board of Arts Connect (the Arts Council England bridge organisation for the West Midlands), the Board of Chester Visual Arts, and is a Fellow of the RSA.


Performance analysis

Research methods

Applied theatre, in particular theatre in museums and heritage sites

Acting for musical theatre

US experimental theatre/Off off-Broadway

Directing and devising companies and techniques

Mask improvisation

Performance techniques

Supervision of PhD and EdDoc projects in performing arts


Paul's areas of research interest are in interdisciplinary approaches to art and performance, such as science and philosophy; applied drama, including theatre and performance in museums and heritage sites and theatre with and for young people; and experimental performance in Europe and the USA. He is an active member of TaPRA (Theatre and Performance Research Association) and is Co-convenor of Science and Performance Working Group.

Published Work


Johnson, Paul and Dobkowska, S. (eds.) (2016) Justitia: Multidisciplinary readings of the work of Jasmin Vardimon Company Intellect: Bristol. 132 pages. ISBN 978-1-78320-529-5

Johnson, Paul (2012) Quantum Theatre: Science and Contemporary Performance CSP: Newcastle. 205 pages ISBN 978-1443841139 

Journal Articles

Johnson, Paul (2014) ‘Science, performance and transformation: performance for a ‘scientific’ age?’ International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media. Vol. 10, Iss. 2.

Jackson , Anthony, Johnson, Paul, Rees Leahy, Helen, Walker , Verity, (2003) 'Executive Summary Seeing it for Real: An Investigation into the effectiveness of theatre and theatre techniques in museums ' Toimijoiden Toreilla (journal of the Finnish Drama/Theatre & Education. Association). Helsinki: FIDEA, Spring 

Chapters in Books

Johnson, Paul (2014) ‘Ideology and the True/False Performance of Heritage’ in Chow B, Mangold A. (Eds.) Zizek and performance. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Pp142-153 ISBN 9781137410900

Johnson, Paul (2010) ‘The space of ‘museum theatre’: a framework for performing heritage’ in Jackson, A and Kidd, J. (Eds.) Performing Heritage: Research, practice and innovation in museum theatre and live interpretation Manchester University Press. Pp53-68 ISBN 0719081599

Johnson, Paul (2010) ‘Applying Popper: An evolutionary approach to performance’ in Meyer-Dinkgräfe, D and Watt, D. (Eds.) Ethical Encounters: Boundaries of Theatre, Performance and Philosophy CSP: Newcastle. Pp23-33 ISBN 978-1-4438-1695-3

Johnson, Paul (2010) ‘Art or Honesty? Breaking the rules of the game with immersive museum theatre’ in Townley, B. & Beech, N. (Eds.) The Discipline of Organizing Creativity: Exploring the Paradox Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Pp177-188 ISBN 9780521518536

Other Outputs

Johnson, Paul (2009) ‘Knickers and Vests Pilot Project Evaluation’ (30p.)

Johnson, Paul (2008) ‘Performing heritage: research and practice, University of Manchester, UK, 3-5 April 2008’ Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, Volume 13 Issue 3.

Johnson, Paul (2008) ‘Making it up as we go along: Construction of Narrative in Immersive Museum Theatre’ in The Narrative Practitioner Conference Proceedings 2007, Wrexham, Glyndwr University. 

Johnson, Paul (2007) ‘Who is the Tallyman’ in Triangles Work in Times of War (DVD)

Johnson, Paul (2007) ‘‘How to scare the audience and the curator: a new model for museum theatre’ in Triangles Work in Times of War (DVD)

Jackson, Anthony and Johnson, Paul (2002) ‘Performing Arts and the Wellcome Trust: a report into the use of the performing arts in engaging young people with issues related to biomedical science’ (42p.)

Jackson , Anthony, Johnson, Paul, Rees Leahy, Helen, Walker , Verity, (2002), Seeing it for Real: An Investigation into the effectiveness of theatre and theatre techniques in museums University of Manchester CATR.


MA (Hons,) PGCert, PhD, FRSA.