Dr Richard Allen


Senior Lecturer in Fine Art

Department of Art and Design

Contact Details

email: r.allen@worc.ac.uk
tel: 01905 542038

My work investigates the agency and theatricality of objects through the making of performances, films, essays and publications. I ask questions about how performance objects; devices, props, instruments, machines, apparatuses and artefacts are appropriated into the making of art works and encounters in everyday life. Current research explores museum dioramas, floor plans, architectural facades, military decoys, noise cancelling headphones, end of the pier machines, and the weird object world of Donald Trump.

I have written about the bio-objects of Tadeusz Kantor, the scenographic landscapes of Philippe Quesne and Vivarium Studio, and Katrina Palmer's site-specific audio walk The Loss Adjusters for an issue of the Theatre and Performance Design Journal (Routledge) on good vibrations in sound design. I have recently edited an edition of Performance Research on anthropomorphism and objects with Dr Shaun May (Kent) and I presented a performance lecture called Phantom Stages about theatrical floor plans as part of a group show called Hidden Lines of Space in Berlin.

I am currently developing a site-based performance project in response to a number of abandoned Little Chef locations throughout the UK with MAYK (Bristol). My performances play with how narratives and animations are formed between objects, performers and spectators, often working with theatrical props, stage hardware and novelty objects. I have presented work at the National Review of Live Art (Glasgow), Kunstverein am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz (Berlin), University of Buffalo Department of Art (New York), Mayfest (Bristol), and Chapter Arts Centre (Cardiff).

I joined the Fine Art department at Worcester in 2012 as a graduate from Wimbledon College of Art with an MA in Visual Performance (2008) and a PhD in Performance Practice from Aberystwyth University (2014). I am currently third year lead for the BA Fine Art course and I am co-founder of theFabrication Research Group, an interdisciplinary collective of artists, academics and designers who investigate questions and ideas relating to practices and processes of fabrication, concerning both the making of objects and the making of fictions, the construction of things and the narratives told about them. I run a performance platform at the Garage Studios called PiLOT where visiting artists are invited to test out a new piece of work alongside students from the BA Fine Art degree. 

Website: brokenapparatus.com



FAPR1101 Studio Practice
FAPR2102 Fine Art Projects 2
FAPR3102 Fine Art Projects 3
FAPR3100 Exit Portfolio

My teaching is underpinned by my research practice and seeks to equip students with a diverse and critical tool kit of strategies for making and thinking about art. I have a particular interest in practice-based research methodologies and strategies of writing through practice for both undergraduate and postgraduate students.

My wider teaching and research interests include: site-specific art, material culture studies, object-oriented philosophy and sound art.

I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


Phantom Stages. Performance Lecture at Hidden Lines of Space (Group Show).Kunstverein am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin. July 2017.

Ricochet. Sound Installation. Sonic Actions, Brighton. May 2017.

The Bones of Breakheart Quarry. Screen based video installation (varying dimensions), wall mounted with speakers. 3 minute (repeated loop) with sound. SSSB Conference, Southampton. March 2017.

The Measure of All Things: Rethinking Humanism through Art (Group Show). Filmed performance: Panoramic Sea Happening (After Kantor). University of Buffalo New York Department of Art Gallery. February 2017.

Panoramic Sea Happening (After Kantor). Commission for Kantorbury, Kantorbury, organised by the The European Theatre Research Network (ETRN) and the Polish Cultural Institute, University of Kent, 18 -19 September 2015.

Ghost Machine. A MAYK and Bristol Old Vic Ferment Co-Commission as part of SENSE at Mayfest, Bristol May 2013.

Garage Band. Site-Specific Performance made in association with MAYK for Mayfest 2012. 24th-27th May. 61 Conduit Place Bristol.

House. As artist is residence with Showroom Artist Collective at Aberystwyth Arts Centre. May 2010.

Stage Fright. Installation and Performance. Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, November 2009.

Lament of the Noise Makers. Installation and Performance Presentation. Chapter Arts Centre, Experimentica Festival. Cardiff, October 2008.

The Galapagos Man. The National Review of Live Art, Tramway, Glasgow, February 2008.


MAYK Thought Residency. December 2017

Researcher on Object Retrieval
UCL (University College London)
October 15th 2009 October 21st 2009

Artist in residence, Central School of Speech and Drama. Theatre Materials/Material Theatres International Conference, London, April 2008.

Re-enactment of the original Aberystwyth 1968 Fluxus Leaflet Concert by Brian Lane with Professor Heike Roms (Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies, Aberystwyth University). Castle Theatre, Aberystwyth, November 2008.


Book Chapters

An Inventory of Syncopal Objects. In: Syncope in Performing and Visual Arts. Editions Le Manuscrit Savoirs, pp. 111-130. Co-authored with James Fisher.

Watchtowers (Artist Pages). In: The Artist Borderpanic Compendium. The Live Art Development Agency, London, UK. (Forthcoming 2018)

Edited Journals

On Anthropomorphism. Co- edited journal: Performance Research Vol. 20, No. 2: London: Routledge with Dr Shaun May (Kent). April 2015.

Journal Articles

The Theatricality of Objects: Object Theatre Beyond the Puppet.Ånd i hanske: Norway January 2017.

Theatrical Latency: Walking Katrina Palmers The Loss Adjusters. Article in Theatre and Performance Design Journal, London: Routledge, May 2016.

The Object Animates: Displacement and Humility in the Theatre of Philippe Quesne, Performance Research Journal 18.3 On Scenography. London: Routledge, June 2013.

Kantors Anthropological Machine. Studia Dramatica, (Issue 1. pp 76 92),
March 2012.

Rethinking Anthropomorphism in Puppet Notebook On Object Theatre Issue 22. Winter 2012 -2013. London: British UNIMA.

Appearing to Play: A Memory Toy Theatre to Cut-Out and Collect
Artists pages in On Appearance, Performance Research Journal Vol 13.4 London: Routledge, 2008.

Contributor to Blue Pages published by The Society of British Theatre Designers

Book Reviews

Aesthetic of Absence: Texts on Theatre by Heiner Goebbels. Theatre and Performance Design Journal, London: Routledge, December 2015.

Conference Papers

The Weird World of Donald Trump: A Video Essay. Glasgow Buzzcut, The Pearce Institute, Glasgow, 5th April 2017.

Ghost Train. Co-author Dr James Fisher
University of Worcester, November 2015 (Fabrication Research Group launch event).

On Not Knowing: Teaching Fine Art Practice. HEA Learning and Teaching Conference, University of Worcester, October 2014.

Thinking with Objects, invited speaker to Talking Objects Symposium, Radar, Loughborough University, 9th March 2012.

Reports from an Unidentified Space Station: Is Participation the Big Dumb Object of Performance? Relation and Participation Symposium, Aberystwyth University 2nd 4th May 2011.

Showroom Detours, Performance Studies International Conference # 15. Misperformance: Misfiring, Misfitting, Misreading. Zagreb, Croatia. June 24 28, 2009.

Showroom Short-cuts, Living Landscapes International Conference, Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth, June 18 -21, 2009.

Towards a Theatre of Objects: Theatre-Machines and the Violence of Transformation, Objects of Engagement, Royal Holloway, June 12th 2008.

Participation, Performance and Philosophy, National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, 2009. Symposium organisation with Dr Laura Cull (University of Surrey) held in conjunction with the PSi Performance and Philosophy working group and the CTPP (Centre for Theatre, Performance and Philosophy, TFTS Aberystwyth).

Committee/Network Memberships

  • Green Voices Research Group (Worcester)
  • Fabrication Research Group (Worcester)
  • International Object Theatre Network (AHRC)
  • PSi (Performance Studies International)


Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy July 2017

PhD in Performance: Theatre Machines: A practice-based enquiry into the performance of objects. Aberystwyth University 2014
Supervisors: Professor Mike Pearson and Professor Adrian Kear
Examiners: Professor Nicholas Ridout (Queen Mary) and Dr Joslin McKinney (Leeds)

MA Theatre (Distinction) Visual Language of Performance. Wimbledon College of Art, University of the Arts London. September 2006 September 2007

BA Drama (First Class Hons) University of Exeter, 2002 - 2005.