John Keefe

John Keefe has worked as a lecturer in theatre-performance-film, a theatre director and a performance dramaturg since 1979.

John Keefe profile image

John Keefe

John Keefe has worked as a theatre director, performance dramaturge and lecturer in theatre and film since 1979. He has developed projects and material on ‘physical theatre’ and on the role of the performance dramaturg for Mime Action Group/Total Theatre, the Directors Guild of Great Britain and the Dramaturgs Network.

He received his Scottish Diploma in Liberal Studies in 1975, BA (Hons) in Philosophy & Literature (University of Warwick, 1978) and MA in Theatre & Drama Arts (University of Leeds, 1979). He was awarded his PhD by Prior Output in 2013; 'A Spectatorial Dramaturgy: Ethical Principles of Recycling, Habitus and Estrangement'. He is currently a senior lecturer at London Metropolitan University.

John has published widely on issues of the ‘new and recycling’ in theatres, the stage body, and the body/embodied mind in relation to the spectator, and is currently working on a new project in these fields.

Research interests

John Keefe’s research interests centre on ‘physical theatres-the physical in theatres’; the ethical position of the spectator and how the spectator is located in the theatre-film experience; from this ‘spectatorial dramaturgy’, the shaping of the mimetic work and the spectatorial responses by the framework of genetic, cognitive-neurological and material-cultural inheritances that make all humans qualified agents, recycling poachers and nomads; theatre sites and spaces in relation to  theatre-spectatorial dramaturgy.

Areas of expertise

  • Theatre
  • Film
  • Performance
  • The ethical position of the spectator
  • Spectatorial dramaturgy
  • Recycling and reworking ideas and materials in theatres and performance
  • Qualities of the physical in theatres and performance

Boltanski's Dilemma:Mimetics, distance and spectating suffering', in "Performing Ethos", 11, Intellect, 2021

Staging and Re-cycling: Retrieving, reflecting and re-framing the archive", Routledge, 2020

The Shakesperian Theatre, 'techne' and the Spectator', in "Literary London" 14:1, LLS, 2017

The Film Spectator as 'Bricoleur', "What Would You Have Done", Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012

Further publications include The Spectator, The New, and a Disrupting Creative Participation in Media Transformations 11 (Vytautas Magnus University: 2015) and (with Simon Murray) Physical Theatres: A Critical Introduction, 2nd revised, enlarged edition (Routledge: 2016).

His most recent piece is The Shakespearian theatre, techne and the spectator: continuity, change and presence (Literary London Journal, 14:1, 2017).

Playing it again: Re-cycling as theatre, history, memories', in "Art History & Criticism", Vytautas Magnus University, 2010

Berkoff's 'Londons': Staging psycho-geographies of the feared and the ecstatic', in "Literary London" 7:2, LLS, 2009

Re-cycling sources', in "Recycling in Arts, Education and Contemporary Theatre", Norwegian Theatre Academy, 2009

Moving into Performance", Mime Action Group, 1995

His research interests lie in the embodied mind/embodied simulation in spectatorship; spectatorial dramaturgy; ethics of spectatorship; physical theatres, and the new and the archive.

Research portfolio

 What Would You Have Done?
John Keefe Explorations of Ethics in Film Studies

Explorations of Ethics in Film Studies 

 Physical Theatres: A Critical Introduction
John Keefe Physical Theatres A Critical Introduction

Book Launch 

 Physical Theatres: A Critical Introduction
John Keefe Physical Theatres A Critical Introduction Cover

Image from book cover