Dr Sylvan Baker, MA, PhD, FRSA

Job title

Lecturer Community Performance Applied Theatre


I have been a practitioner and researcher working across the fields of applied theatre, socially engaged arts and social justice for the past 30 years. My practice has taken place across the UK and globally in sites in Brazil, and the USA, in a diverse range of contexts and communities and has a specific interest in international interventions in site of conflict and transitional justice.

Before coming to Central, I was Artistic Director of Youth Action’s Rainbow Factory, the largest cross community Arts project in N. Ireland. From 2000-2006, I was Associate Director of London Bubble Theatre company where I worked on participatory projects with children, young people and adults and on Bubble’s intergenerational promenade theatre performances. I completed my MA in Drama, Applied Theatre at Central in 2007.

In 2005 I began working with the arts and social justice research centre, People’s Palace Projects, (PPP) where I coordinated the UK partnerships projects between Brazilian Social Project AfroReggae and arts organisations from across the UK including the Barbican; Southbank Centre; Theatre Royal Stratford East; Contact, Manchester; The Lawnmowers and The Sage, Gateshead. This work explored the knowledge transfer of artistic practice between AfroReggae, who are based in the improvised favela communities of Rio de Janeiro and artists in the UK. I became Associate Director of PPP in 2010 and completed a practice research PhD on my work with AfroReggae in 2014.

I am an Associate Artist for the Clod Ensemble’s Performing Medicine. Performing Medicine is a programme of courses, workshops and events, which use the arts to provide training to medical students and practising health professionals in the NHS. One of our current Performing Medicine collaborations is with Guys & St Thomas’ Simulated and Interactive Learning Centre (SaIL) to develop embodied interventions for staff with the NHS and contributed to the publication of the Circle of Care by Clod and the SaIL Centre. I became a FRSA and Education & Creative Learning Associate at the RSA in 2015.

Before joining the team at Central, I taught BA and MA students for the Drama department at Queen Mary, where I am an Artistic Fellow, and MA students at Goldsmith College and Queen’s University of Belfast.


Drama, Applied Theatre and Education, BA

Applied Theatre, MA

Teaching Areas

  • Applied and socially engaged theatre
  • Race and Ethnicity in performance
  • Arts & Health, Medical Humanities, public health
  • Arts and Criminal Justice
  • Research methodologies and ethics
  • Arts and Social Justice
  • Practice-Based research
  • Applied Theatre in sites of Conflict
  • Verbatim and Documentary Performance
  • Drama Facilitation
  • Theatre & International Development
  • Participatory Theatre with an emphasis on Young People’s & Intergenerational performance
  • Social Exclusion

Research Areas

  • Verbatim Performance
  • Inclusion, Diversity and Social Exclusion
  • Socially Engaged Arts and Performance
  • International Applied Theatre Practice
  • Young People’s Theatre
  • Racial and Ethnic Identity
  • Digital Applied arts practice
  • Applied Puppetry
  • Pedagogy


2017 Expert witness, All party Advisory Committee- Children and Young People, Palace of Westminster.

2015-2017 Co Director/Researcher, The Verbatim Formula, Participatory verbatim Theatre project with young people with experience of care (see Ruth Hardy, ‘The Verbatim Formula,”'It's Child's Play”: The Performance that Lets Young People in Care Share Their Stories,' Guardian, 21 January 2016).

2015 Director, Becontree 100, Photographic and multi arts intervention in Barking and Dagenham for Art Council England Creative People Places.

2010-2013 Director, Cultural Warriors, International Artistic Residency with AfroReggae, Brazil, Southbank Centre, Barbican, Contact, Manchester & Sage Gateshead.

2004 Director, George, London Bubble - intergenerational project that explored identity and ‘Britishness’ winner of the Home Office Community Cohesion award 2004.

Register of Interest

Arts Advisory Board member Paul Hamlyn Foundation

London Bubble (Charity No 264359) – Trustee