Dr Tony Fisher, BA, MA, PhD

Job title

Reader in Theatre and Philosophy, Associate Director of Research (Research Degrees)


I am a theatre academic and researcher but also have a highly interdisciplinary background – first having trained in fine art then film-making, before going on to study philosophy, writing my doctoral thesis on problems of history and phenomenology in Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time. I also worked as a scriptwriter for several years in the UK film industry and have an ongoing interest in making experimental documentary film.

After completing a degree in fine art I moved to New York, where I studied at the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Programme with Hal Foster, Yvonne Rainer and Ron Clark. It was during my time in New York that I encountered theatre and performance for the first time – particularly through the work of the Wooster Group. Returning to the UK, I became involved in film-making before eventually returning to higher education, going on to complete an MA and PhD in philosophy at the University of Essex. I took up a full-time post at Central in 2007 where I ran Central’s MA in dramatic writing, as well as convening its PhD programme. In 2016, I moved on from the course leadership of MA Writing for Stage and Broadcast Media to work closely with the School’s Director of Research, as the Associate Director of Research (Research Degrees) in further developing Central’s research profile.

As a researcher, I have published work in various journals that explore the intersections of philosophy, performance, politics and theatre history. I have recently completed a monograph that examines – in the form of a ‘critical history’ or ‘Foucauldian’ genealogy - the long and profound influence that government had on the development of the modern European stage. I have also published a number of essays on political aspect of theatre and performance. A further edited collection is in the pipeline, co-edited with Kélina Gotman (Kings), on the continuing influence of Foucault on theatre and performance scholarship.


Research Degrees (PhD)

Teaching Areas

  • Cultural history of the European stage
  • Theatre and continental philosophy
  • Theatre and politics
  • Research skills and methods
  • Film and theatre

Research Areas

  • Theatre and continental philosophy
  • Performance philosophy
  • Democracy and theatre
  • The cultural, social and political history of the stage
  • Theatre, the public sphere and the State

PHD Supervision

I have supervised 10 PhD theses engaged in questions of theatre, philosophy and politics, including: cinema and violence, postdramatic theatre and deconstruction, Heideggerian readings of clown practice and comic performance, Deleuze and Blast Theory, philosophical approaches to actor training, political philosophy and performance, and the phenomenology of radio listening. I currently supervise projects on lecture performance practices, the history of the ABTT, and film-theatre pedagogy. I have examined 10 PhDs on areas including the politics of visual art, collaborative labour in contemporary performance practices, and the work of art as stage.

Key Publications

2019. Beyond Failure: New Essays on the Cultural History of Failure in Theatre and Performance, co-edited with Eve Katsouraki, London: Routledge.

2018. “Theatre at the Impasse: Political Theology and Blitz Theatre Group’s Late Night” in Performance Philosophy Journal, Vol.4, No1, pp.139-156.

2017. Theatre and Governance in Britain, 1500-1900, Democracy, Disorder and the State, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

2017. Performing Antagonism: Theatre, Performance and Radical Democracy, co-edited with Eve Katsouraki, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

2015. ‘Thinking without Authority – Performance Philosophy as the Democracy of Thought’, Performance Philosophy Journal, 1, pp.175-184.

2013. ‘Castellucci’s Theatre of the ‘Abject/Sublime’: or, the Theatre of Failed Transcendence’, Somatechnics 3.1, pp. 31-49.

2012. Rehearsing Boal, co-authored with Joel Anderson in bilingual volume Theater und Subjektkonstitution / Theatre and the Making of Subjects, based on the proceedings of the Kongress der Gesellschaft für Theaterwissenschaft conference in Mainz.

2011, ‘Radical Democratic Theatre, Performance Research, 16.4 On Philosophy and Participation (Winter), pp.15-26.

2011. ‘Aesthetics and the Political – an essay on Francis Alys’s “Green Line” Cultural Critique, Issue #78 (Spring).

2010, “Heidegger and the Narrativity Debate” in Continental Philosophy Review, volume 43, number 2, pp. 241-265.

2009, “Bad Faith and the Actor – Onto-mimetology from a Sartrean Point of View” in Sartre Studies International, Volume 15, No.1, pp. 74-91.


2013.  Director, Zdenka’s Journey – an experimental documentary that follows one woman’s journey through the nightmare of the Holocaust (ongoing).

Register of Interest

Nothing to declare.