Theron Schmidt

Lecturer

Dr Schmidt teaches creative activism, performance writing, and collaboration, and has published widely on contemporary performance, participatory art, and political theatre.

Areas of research:

  • radical pedagogy, forms of gathering and organisation derived from activist and social movements, planetary performance pedagogies
  • writing for performance, performance writing, collaborative writing
  • politics and theatricality, ‘theatre of real people’, ethics of representation and spectatorship
  • live art, experimental dance and performance, art and agency in relation to marginalised voices and experiences

I live and work on unceded Gadigal and Bidjigal lands, where I teach creative activism, performance writing, and collaborative practice at UNSW Sydney. My academic research and my approaches to teaching are rooted in several decades of ongoing practice as a multidisciplinary artist in Europe, the USA, and Australia, as well as prior work supporting activist movements and art for social change. I am committed to modes of research, learning, and making that are collaborative and experiential, alive in the thick of things and responsive to the complex and contested entanglements of diverse bodies, politics, histories, and alliances.

I hope to make bridges between scholarly research and creative and activist practices, in the belief that creative perspectives can shift not only what but also how we know, as well as whose knowledge and experience counts and is heard. To this end, I have organised several international gatherings that bring together artists and scholars; edited and co-authored with a diverse range of collaborators; facilitated creative and critical writing workshops in a range of contexts internationally; supervised numerous Honours, Masters, and PhD projects in creative practice as well as traditional research; and produced a major publication AGENCY: A Partial History of Live Art in which I interviewed 35 artists from around the world on the theme of social and political agency.

I welcome proposals for Honours and postgraduate research in experimental performance, art and activism, contemporary theatre, and socially engaged practices, including both traditional theses and research by creative practice. I’m happy to have a conversation about what this might involve – do get in touch at t.schmidt@unsw.edu.au

Impact and engagement

I have published widely about contemporary performance for a variety of publications, including numerous academic articles as well as magazines and artist books, and also as part of innovative critical writing projects that foster interaction between audiences, artists, and critics. I have been a writer-in-residence and facilitated critical writing programmes in response to festivals such as Performance Saga (Bern), Spill Festival (London), Experimentica (Cardiff), and the National Review of Live Art (Glasgow).

My multi-part workshop for artists and practice-based researchers, “How we talk about the work is the work”, is designed to stimulate creative and multifaceted ways of responding to artistic practice. This workshop has been hosted by Nextwave Festival (Melbourne), RMIT University, Concordia University Montréal, AUT/University of Auckland, and University of Wisconsin-Madison. I have also given public talks and engagement as part of Liveworks Festival of Performance (Sydney), ArtsHouse Melbourne, and the Big Anxiety Festival (Sydney).

I am a core convenor of the interdisciplinary Performance Philosophy research network, and founding Editor of the journal Performance Philosophy, which champions Open Access and open source alternatives to for-profit publishing economies. I am an Associate Editor for field-defining journal Performance Research. As Assistant Editor for Contemporary Theatre Review, I created the public-facing Interventions website, which foregrounds innovative and responsive uses of digital media in relation to issues in contemporary theatre and politics.

Outside of my academic work, I have also presented solo and collaborative creative work as part of MONA FOMA in Tasmania, Arts House in Melbourne, Performance Arcade in Wellington, and Performance Studies International Performing Climates in Melbourne; and previously in the UK at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Nottdance, The Place, Chisenhale Dance Space, Chelsea Theatre, and Camden People’s Theatre, amongst others.

Journal articles
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Schmidt T, 2020, 'What if we think of the classroom as a work of art? Performance, collaboration, and social engagement considered as pedagogic practices', Arts and Humanities in Higher Education: an international journal of theory, research and practice, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1474022220966944
2020
Schmidt T; Cervera F; Schwadron H, 2020, 'Towards Planetary Performance Pedagogy: Digital Companions in Multipolar Classrooms', Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, vol. 12, pp. 20 - 39, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19443927.2020.1829694
2020
Schmidt T, 2020, 'Real Theatre: Essays in Experience', CONTEMPORARY THEATRE REVIEW, vol. 30, pp. 417 - 418, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10486801.2020.1772594
2020
Schmidt T, 2019, 'Christoph Schlingensief: Staging Chaos, Performing Politics, and Theatrical Phantasmagoria, by Anna Teresa Scheer (review)', New Theatre Quarterly, vol. 35, pp. 95 - 95, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0266464X18000702
2019
Schmidt T, 2019, 'Anna Teresa Scheer, Christoph Schlingensief: Staging Chaos, Performing Politics, and Theatrical Phantasmagoria London: Bloomsbury, 2018. 296 p. £75.00. ISBN: 978-1-350-00105-3.', New Theatre Quarterly, vol. 35, pp. 192 - 192, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0266464X19000198
2019
Damian Martin D; Schmidt T, 2019, 'Sites of Appearance, Matters of Thought: Hannah Arendt and Performance Philosophy', Performance Philosophy, vol. 5, pp. 1 - 7, http://dx.doi.org/10.21476/pp.2019.51291
2019
Damian Martin D; Green S; Nizard C; Schmidt T; Shulman M; Solga K, 2019, 'Tactics: practical and imagined', Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, vol. 24, pp. 438 - 445, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13569783.2019.1615833
2019
Schmidt T; Daddario W, 2018, 'Crisis and the Im/possibility of Thought', Performance Philosophy, vol. 4, pp. 1 - 8, http://dx.doi.org/10.21476/PP.2018.41225
2018
Daddario W; Dhamankar J; Loayza M; McKenzie J; Meerzon Y; Nauha T; Schmidt T; Stojnić A, 2018, 'What is Refugee?', Performance Philosophy, vol. 4, pp. 206 - 233, http://dx.doi.org/10.21476/PP.2018.41198
2018
Schmidt T, 2018, 'How we talk about the work is the work: Performing critical writing', Performance Research, vol. 23, pp. 37 - 43, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13528165.2018.1464751
2018
Schmidt T, 2018, 'What’s left on the page', Performance Research, vol. 23, pp. 343 - 346, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13528165.2018.1514775
2018
Cull Ó Maoilearca L; Gotman K; Katsouraki E; Schmidt T, 2017, 'Editorial - Performance Philosophy Vol 2(2)', Performance Philosophy, vol. 2, pp. 162 - 171, http://dx.doi.org/10.21476/PP.2017.22132
2017
Schmidt T, 2017, 'Editorial - Performance Philosophy Vol 3(1)', Performance Philosophy, vol. 3, pp. 1 - 3, http://dx.doi.org/10.21476/PP.2017.31169
2017
Schmidt T, 2017, 'What Kind of Work Is This? Performance and Materialisms in the Gallery', Performance Paradigm, vol. 13, pp. 7 - 28, https://www.performanceparadigm.net/index.php/journal/article/view/191
2017
Schmidt T, 2016, 'The Illuminated Theatre: Studies on the Suffering of Images, by Joe Kelleher (review)', TDR/The Drama Review, vol. 60, pp. 158 - 159, http://dx.doi.org/10.1162/DRAM_r_00603
2016
Cull Ó Maoilearca L; Schmidt T; Watt D, 2016, 'Editorial - Performance Philosophy Vol 2(1)', Performance Philosophy, vol. 2, pp. 1 - 4, http://dx.doi.org/10.21476/PP.2016.21121
2016
Kartsaki E; Schmidt T, 2015, 'Editorial : On Repetition', Performance Research, vol. 20, pp. 1 - 3, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13528165.2015.1095886
2015
Schmidt T, 2015, 'The philosopher as stage-hand', Performance Philosophy, vol. 1, pp. 106 - 108, http://dx.doi.org/10.21476/PP.2015.1111
2015
Schmidt T, 2015, '"We're People Who Do Shows": Back to Back Theatre: Performance, Politics, Visibility, edited by Helena Grehan and Peter Eckersall (review)', TDR: The Drama Review, vol. 59, pp. 190 - 192, http://dx.doi.org/10.1162/DRAM_r_00442
2015
Schmidt T, 2015, 'Some people will do anything to keep themselves from being moved', Performance Research, vol. 20, pp. 4 - 9, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13528165.2015.1095891
2015
Schmidt T; Pinder J; Owen L; Zimmerman AL; Roberts D; Hope S; Amsler S, 2014, 'Beyond Glorious: The Radical in Engaged Practices', Contemporary Theatre Review, vol. 24, pp. 284 - 288, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10486801.2014.895537
2014
Schmidt T, 2014, 'Christoph Schlingensief: Art without Borders, edited by Tara Forrest and Anna Teresa Scheer (review)', Contemporary Theatre Review, vol. 24, pp. 125 - 126, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10486801.2013.864064
2014
Schmidt T, 2013, 'Outsider Theatre: A journey through Back to Back’s Hell House', Performance Research, vol. 18, pp. 139 - 148, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13528165.2013.789263
2013
Schmidt T, 2013, 'Troublesome Professionals: On the speculative reality of theatrical labour', Performance Research, vol. 18, pp. 15 - 26, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13528165.2013.807161
2013
Schmidt T, 2012, 'Site-Specific Performance, by Mike Pearson (review)', Modern Drama, vol. 55, pp. 278 - 280, http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/mdr.2012.0027
2012
Schmidt T, 2012, 'The Theatre of Richard Maxwell and the New York City Players, by Sarah Gorman (review)', Contemporary Theatre Review, vol. 22, pp. 422 - 424, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10486801.2012.697724
2012
Cash L; Schmidt T, 2011, '"Everything we do is done by invitation. That invitation comes from oneself or from another person." (John Cage)', Dance Theatre Journal, vol. 24, pp. 2 - 3, http://gateway.webofknowledge.com/gateway/Gateway.cgi?GWVersion=2&SrcApp=PARTNER_APP&SrcAuth=LinksAMR&KeyUT=WOS:000309145700001&DestLinkType=FullRecord&DestApp=ALL_WOS&UsrCustomerID=891bb5ab6ba270e68a
2011
Schmidt T, 2011, 'This Is Happening in Real Time: A Response to Beside the A Side by Graeme Miller and John Smith', Dance Theatre Journal, vol. 24, pp. 5 - 9
2011
Schmidt T, 2011, 'Christoph Schlingensief and the Bad Spectacle', Performance Research, vol. 16, pp. 27 - 33, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13528165.2011.606047
2011
Schmidt T, 2010, 'Anti-messianic Theatre: Confronting Expectation at London's SPILL Festival', Dance Theatre Journal, vol. 23, pp. 22 - 27
2010
Schmidt T, 2010, '"We Say Sorry": Apology, the Law, and Theatricality', Law Text Culture, vol. 14, pp. 55 - 78, http://ro.uow.edu.au/ltc/vol14/iss1/5
2010
Schmidt T, 2010, 'Unsettling Representation: Monuments, Theatre, and Relational Space', Contemporary Theatre Review, vol. 20, pp. 283 - 295, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10486801.2010.488834
2010
Paterson M; Schmidt T, 2009, 'Critical Border-Crossing: Open Dialogues at Performance Saga / BONE 11', Dance Theatre Journal, vol. 23, pp. 5 - 9
2009
Schmidt T, 2008, 'Richard Maxwell and the Paradox of Theatre', Platform, vol. 3, pp. 8 - 21, https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/dramaandtheatre/documents/pdf/platform/031/maxwell.pdf
2008
Schmidt T, 2008, 'Surviving Words: Writing about Doran George's The Mourner's Dance', Dance Theatre Journal, vol. 23, pp. 35 - 41
2008
Book Chapters
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Schmidt T; Damian Martin D; Green S; Nizard C; Shulman M; Solga K, 2020, 'Tactics, Practical and Imagined', in Solga K (ed.), Theatre and Performance in the Neoliberal University Responses to an Academy in Crisis, Routledge, New York and London, pp. 233 - 241, http://dx.doi.org/10.4324/9781003007289-20
2020
Schmidt T, 2020, 'The art of making an appearance: towards a theatrical politics', in Allsopp R; Kipphoff K (ed.), Blind Spot: Staring down the void, Performance Research Books, Aberystwyth, pp. 146 - 159
2020
Schmidt T; Paraha T, 2020, 'Blackout: Thinking with darkness', in Cull Ó Maoilearca L; Lagaay A (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Performance Philosophy, pp. 437 - 446, http://dx.doi.org/10.4324/9781003035312-51
2020
Schmidt T, 2019, 'How Does Theatre Think Through Work?', in Bleeker M; Kear A; Kelleher J; Roms H (ed.), Thinking Through Theatre and Performance, Bloomsbury, London, pp. 158 - 170, https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/thinking-through-theatre-and-performance-9781472579638/
2019
Schmidt T, 2019, 'Introduction', in Schmidt T (ed.), Agency: A Partial History of Live Art, Intellect, Bristol, pp. 10 - 14
2019
Schmidt T, 2019, 'Bodies', in Schmidt T (ed.), Agency: A Partial History of Live Art, Intellect, Bristol, pp. 17 - 20, https://www.intellectbooks.com/agency
2019
Schmidt T, 2019, 'Spaces', in Schmidt T (ed.), Agency: A Partial History of Live Art, Intellect, Bristol, pp. 73 - 78, https://www.intellectbooks.com/agency
2019
Schmidt T, 2019, 'Institutions', in Schmidt T (ed.), Agency: A Partial History of Live Art, Intellect, Bristol, pp. 129 - 134, https://www.intellectbooks.com/agency
2019
Schmidt T, 2019, 'Communities', in Schmidt T (ed.), Agency: A Partial History of Live Art, Intellect, Bristol, pp. 193 - 196, https://www.intellectbooks.com/agency
2019
Schmidt T, 2019, 'Actions', in Schmidt T (ed.), Agency: A Partial History of Live Art, Intellect, Bristol, pp. 251 - 254, https://www.intellectbooks.com/agency
2019
Schmidt T, 2017, 'Is This What Democracy Looks Like? The Politics of Representation and the Representation of Politics', in Fisher T; Katsouraki E (ed.), Performing Antagonism: Theatre, Performance & Radical Democracy, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 101 - 130, http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/978-1-349-95100-0_6
2017
Schmidt T, 2016, '"When I think of him, I think of angels": Introducing JARMAN (all this maddening beauty)', in Caridad Svich: JARMAN (all this maddening beauty) and Other Plays, Intellect, Bristol and Chicago, pp. 15 - 19
2016
Schmidt T, 2013, 'Together in the Here & Now: The Final National Review of Live Art, Glasgow', in Keidan L; Wright A (ed.), The Live Art Almanac Volume 3, Live Art Development Agency and Oberon Books, London, pp. 264 - 266
2013
Schmidt T, 2013, 'Acting, Disabled: Back to Back Theatre and the Politics of Appearance', in Carroll J; Giles S; Jürs-Munby K (ed.), Postdramatic Theatre and the Political: International Perspectives on Contemporary Performance, Bloomsbury, pp. 189 - 207
2013
Paterson M; Schmidt T, 2013, 'A Dialogue on Infection', in Keidan L; Wright A (ed.), The Live Art Almanac Volume 3, Oberon/Live Art Development Agency, pp. 273 - 284
2013
Schmidt T, 2011, 'After this, birdsong', in Goat Island: A Last, A Quartet -- DVD and Reading Companion, Goat Island and Lucy Cash, pp. 16 - 25
2011
Schmidt T, 2011, 'Culture Crash', in Brine D; Gantner V; Keidan L; Mitchell CJ; Mitchelson A; Pecelli MVP (ed.), The Live Art Almanac Vol. 2, Live Art Development Agency, pp. 165 - 168
2011
Schmidt T, 2008, 'Helen Paris: Vena Amoris', in Brine D (ed.), The Live Art Almanac, Live Art Development Agency, pp. 123 - 124
2008
Edited Books
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Schmidt T, (ed.), 2019, Agency: A Partial History of Live Art, Intellect, Bristol and Chicago
2019
Schmidt T; Kartsaki E, (ed.), 2015, On Repetition, Performance Research, Aberystwyth
2015
Conference Presentations
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Schmidt T, 2017, 'Blackout. Thinking with darkness', presented at Performing, Writing, Wellington NZ, 10 March 2017 - 19 March 2017, http://www.performingwriting.com/
2017
Schmidt T, 2017, '‘Almost limitless’ theatricality: Putting the audience to work in the Nature Theater of Oklahoma', presented at Performance Philosophy #3: How does performance philosophy act? ethos, ethics, ethnography, Prague CZ, 22 June 2017 - 25 June 2017, http://web.flu.cas.cz/ppprague2017/
2017
Schmidt T, 2016, 'What kind of work is this?', presented at Biennale of Sydney Performance Talks Series: Mini-Symposium, UNSW Sydney, 23 May 2016 - 23 May 2016, https://www.arts.unsw.edu.au/events/biennale-mini-symposium/
2016
Schmidt T, 2016, 'Theatre at work: The life and times of the Nature Theater of Oklahoma', presented at Scenes of the Real, University of Sydney, 27 July 2016 - 28 July 2016, http://sydney.edu.au/arts/performance/about/events/index.shtml?id=8748
2016
Schmidt T, 2015, 'Theatricality and Spectacle: Scenes from the Future of the Image', presented at Performance Research Seminar, Goldsmiths University of London, 28 January 2015 - 28 January 2015
2015
Schmidt T, 2013, 'Some people will do anything to keep themselves from being moved', presented at Performance Studies international #19: NOW THEN: Performance and Temporality, Stanford CA, 26 June 2013 - 30 June 2013, https://psi19.stanford.edu/
2013
Schmidt T, 2012, 'Acting, disabled: Back to Back Theatre and the Politics of Appearance', presented at London Theatre Seminar, 01 March 2012 - 01 March 2012, https://londontheatreseminar.wordpress.com/2012/02/21/theron-schmidt/
2012
Schmidt T, 2012, 'Troublesome Professionals', presented at Performance Studies international #18: Performance :: Culture :: Industry, Leeds UK, 27 June 2012 - 01 July 2012, http://www.psi-web.org/past-events/case-study-3/
2012
Schmidt T, 2012, 'Outsider Theatre: Back to Back’s Hell House', presented at Quorum, Queen Mary University of London, 31 October 2012 - 31 October 2012
2012
Schmidt T; Cash L; Christopher K, 2011, 'Watching as memory – the films of Goat Island and Lucy Cash', presented at Performance Studies international #17: Camillo 2.0, Utrecht NL, 25 May 2011 - 29 May 2011, http://www.psi-web.org/past-events/psi-17-utrecht-camillo-2-0/
2011
Other
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Schmidt T, 2014, The global politics of the stage: review of LIFT Festival 2014 (RealTime 122), http://realtimearts.net/article/issue122/11663
2014
Schmidt T; Paterson M, 2012, Culture Will Eat Itself: Review of Trashing Performance 2011 (RealTime 107), http://realtimearts.net/article/107/10542
2012
Schmidt T, 2009, Culture Crash: Things As They Are: Review of SPILL Festival 2009 (RealTime 91), http://realtimearts.net/article/issue91/9444
2009
Schmidt T, 2008, Welsh Border Crossing: Review of Experimentica 07 (RealTime 83), http://realtimearts.net/article/issue83/8887
2008
Schmidt T, 2008, It's Happening (Again): Review of Allan Kaprow: 18 Happenings in 6 Parts (Re-doing), Performa 07 (RealTime 83), http://realtimearts.net/article/issue83/8870
2008
Schmidt T, 2008, The Theatre of Live Art: Review of Augusto Corrieri, Quartet (RealTime 84), http://realtimearts.net/article/issue84/8924
2008
Schmidt T, 2008, Gift Economy: Review of Shelia Ghelani, Covet Me, Care For Me (RealTime 84), http://realtimearts.net/article/issue84/8922
2008
Schmidt T, 2008, Playing with the Audience: Review of Kunstenfestivaldesarts 2008 (RealTime 86), http://realtimearts.net/article/issue86/9140
2008
Reports
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Schmidt T, 2016, PSi #21 Fluid States - Australia: A report on our mobility, http://fluidstates.org/article.php?id=207
2016
Paterson M; Schmidt T, 2013, Getting It Out There: The future of touring and distribution for contemporary theatre and Live Art, Live at LICA and Live Art UK, http://www.liveartuk.org/uploads/documents/giot.pdf
2013
Conference Papers
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Schmidt T, 2012, 'The state of images', in Minors HJ (ed.), How Performance Thinks, How performance thinks, London UK, pp. 155 - 160, presented at How performance thinks, London UK, 13 April 2012 - 14 April 2012, http://fass.kingston.ac.uk/activities/item.php?updatenum=2136
2012

I teach practice-based courses such as ARTS2120 Writing for Performance and ARTS3124 Collaborative Making, and I created the new course ARTS2128 Art and Social Change which combines historical and contemporary case studies of creative activism with hands-on experimentation drawing on individual experience.

I also contribute to courses on Acting and Performing, Reviewing the Arts, and introductory courses in theatre analysis and performance studies. I have previously taught courses on devised theatre; nineteenth and twentieth-century drama; performance and philosophy; Live Art and physical theatre; theatre and the contemporary city; and advanced topics at Masters and Honours levels. 

At postgraduate level, I have experience supervising practice-based research projects; research into contemporary theatre and new forms of performance encounters; intersections between activism, creative practice, and social engagement.