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Neil Mackenzie

Senior Lecturer
Drama and Contemporary Performance

In addition to my lecturing role, I am also the Artistic Director of the Flare International Festival of New Theatre, , and the Artistic Director of Plane Performance, a performance collective formed in 1992 ( My role with Flare has involved directing the Flare festival in 2011, 2015 and 2017, and the Flare Weekender in 2012 and 2014.

I was also the Performance Programmer at Axis Arts Centre in Crewe from 2009-2019, I directed the Manchester International Student Theatre (MIST) Festival (2007), and I curated the Live0 series of graduate showcases (2001-2007) presented at greenroom, Manchester. I'm regularly invited to international theatre festivals across Europe, I sit on the board of directors of Reckless Sleepers performance company, I'm a member of the Live Art North West (LANWest) programmers network, and I'm an Associate Member of Live Art UK.

Academic and Professional Qualifications

MA Contemporary Theatre Practice, Lancaster University
BA (Hons) English and Drama, Leicester University

Previous Employment

Senior Lecturer Contemporary Arts
Manchester Metropolitan University

Senior Lecturer/Chair of Performance Arts
Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education

Lecturer Performance Arts
Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education

Shaftesbury Hall Theatre, Cheltenham

Undergraduate Teaching

BA (Hons) Drama and Contemporary Performance represents a unique opportunity to make, study and perform innovative new theatre and performance, in the centre of Manchester. Drama and Contemporary Performance at Manchester Met is all about your development as a theatre artist, performer, thinker and professional, and in close contact with the city’s vibrant theatre and performance scene. Working with leading theatre academics, artists and professionals, and drawing on established local, national and international networks, you will be part of a close knit course community, working in one of the most vibrant sectors of a city internationally acclaimed for its creativity. Drama and Contemporary Performance has a unique focus on cutting edge practices across contemporary performance and dramatic theatre. Combining artistic practice, academic enquiry and professional development, the degree has close relationships with Contact Theatre, HOME, The Royal Exchange and other Manchester-based theatre venues and organisations, as well as a number of international partners. Focused on finding exciting connections between different contemporary perspectives and theatrical/performance practices, the course builds on many years of experience in the teaching of Drama and Contemporary Theatre and Performance (CTP), and in the development of artists, performers, producers and teachers, in related fields and at all levels. When you leave you will have been introduced to a range of possible futures, and you will have actively engaged with some relevant career paths. You will also be part of a network of emerging and established practitioners, and have developed the skills and confidence that comes with the wealth of artistic, academic and collaborative experiences on offer. But above all you will have greatly enhanced your creative practice, your understanding of theatre and your intellectual potential, and you will take with you a real world appreciation of how to make the most of it all.

Postgraduate Teaching

MA/MFA Contemporary Performance is a taught Masters programme that promotes the development of innovative, and professionally sustainable, contemporary performance practice. It is aimed at artists/graduates working within and across radical theatre and/or dance practice (whether categorized as Theatre, Dance, Dance Theatre, Performance, Physical Theatre or Live Art). The programme looks to enrich and develop participants practice, as contemporary performance makers, whilst enhancing their knowledge of, and connections with, the professional networks available to them both in the region, and European and international contexts. The programme includes regular teaching contact, and intensive, blocks of study that offer practical and theoretical ways into studying both the making of performance, and the role of the performer as maker. It offers students the opportunity to work directly with those currently working in the field, whilst developing their own practice within a major supervised individual project, which is collectively showcased.

Postgraduate Research Supervision

Crouch, Jason PhD (completed) Mediated Messages: Constructions of intimate communication through the use of digital technologies, and the extent to which such encounters can be conceptualised as one-to-one performance.

Membership of Professional Associations

Live Art UK - Associate Member

LANWest - Member


Research Interests

With acknowledged expertise in international experimental theatre, my research interests currently divide into two distinct areas within the broad field of contemporary theatre-based performance practice. The first of these engages specifically with the development and application of deconstructive strategies in the relationship of theoretically embedded performance and canonical text in the live theatrical situation, articulated mostly through my performance work with Plane Performance with whom I am director and founder member. For further information, please see the following publications:

Mackenzie, N. (2013) 'Perceptual Instabilities: scenographic and performance dualities, and their impact, in Plane Performance’s Three Sisters', in Shirley, D. and Turner, T (ed.s) 'Performing Narrative: narration,'denarration', fracture and absence in contemporary performance practice' MMU Performance Research Publications, Manchester.

Tomlin, E. (2013) 'Acts and Apparitions - Discourses on the Real in Performance Practice and Theory, 1990-2010' Chapter 5, Manchester University Press

Karen Jürs-Munby, K. (2009) 'Did you mean post-traumatic theatre?: The vicissitudes of traumatic memory in contemporary postdramatic performances', Issue 5.2 (October 2009)

Turner, J (2007) 'Acts of Creative Vandalism? Plane Performance Deconstruct the Canon' NTQ 23:3 (August 2007)

Lehmann, H-T (2006) 'Post-dramatic Theatre' Routledge

The second area is concerned with performance curation, and draws on my role as Artistic Director/Curator of the Flare International Festival of New Theatre, whilst also drawing on my programming of Axis Arts Centre, and collaboration on the Curating Knowledge project. This area examines recent trends in international avant-garde theatre, and engages in debates around the curation of new theatrical performance and the identification and value of 'aesthetic criteria' utilised in selection.

Conference Organisation

Text and Theatre International Symposium, Axis Arts Centre, MMU Cheshire, 26/27 March 2010

Neil Mackenzie is a member of the Art and Performance Research Hub.


Mackenzie, N., 2022. 'Socks or Bare Feet', Performance Studio, Grosvenor East, 1/7/2022.

Mackenzie, N., 2021. 'Shadows outside the Cave', Grosvenor East Performance Studio, 9/7/2021.

Mackenzie, N., 2010. 'Three Sisters by Plane Performance', National Tour, 8/3/2013.

Book Chapters

Mackenzie, N.K., 2013. 'Perceptual Instabilities: scenographic and performance 'dualities', and their impact, in Plane Performance's Three Sisters'. In Performing Narrative - narration, 'denarration', fracture and absence in contemporary performance practice., Institute for Performance Research.

Conference Papers

Mackenzie, N.K., 2017. 'Watching Flares - Some thoughts on challenging theatre experiences and audience reception.', 20/2/2017 - 20/2/2017.

Other Outputs

Mackenzie, N., 2017. 'The Flare International Festival of New Theatre 2015/2017'.

Mackenzie, N.K., 2015. 'The Flare International Festival of New Theatre 2015'.

Boehm, C., Linden, J., Gibson, J., Carver, G., Clennon, O., Mackenzie, N., 2014. 'Community, Identity and Locality: Sustainability & impact of university-housed, small-scale arts centres. A panel discussion.'.

Mackenzie, N.K., 2014. 'The Flare Weekender 2014'.

Mackenzie, N.K., 2013. 'Three Sisters by Plane Performance, touring theatre practice, presented at University of York St John, University of Central Lancashire, Z-arts Manchester, Axis Arts Centre, Prema Arts Centre Gloucestershire.'.

Mackenzie, N.K., 2012. 'Curating Flare'.

Mackenzie, N.K., 2012. 'The Flare Weekender 2012 (exhibition)'.

Mackenzie, N.K., 2011. 'The Flare International Festival of New Theatre 2011 (Exhibition)'.

Mackenzie, NK., Egan, K., Fenemore, A., 2010. 'Traviata by Plane Performance, devised theatre composition, presented at the Text and Theatre Symposium MMU Cheshire.'.

Mackenzie, N.K., Wetherell, P., 2009. 'After Dubrovka, collaborative performance installation and symposium, presented at Grand Theatre Lancaster, Dancehouse Manchester and Phoenix Arts Centre Exeter.'.

mackenzie, N., Linden, J., 2009. 'Curating Knowledge - a discursive platform that aims to highlight the links between research activity and contemporary arts practices, and takes into account the different relationships the public can have with them.'.

Mackenzie, NK., Egan, K., 2008. 'Manchester International Student Theatre Festival, presented at Greenroom, Zion Arts Centre, Capitol Theatre, supported by Arts Council England, MMU and Greenroom.'.

Mackenzie, N.K., 2007. 'Epilogue by Plane Performance, devised theatre composition, presented at PARIP International Symposium, Bretton Hall, University of Leeds, supported by Arts Council England.'.

Mackenzie, N.K., Wetherell, P., 2006. 'North East, collaborative site-based theatre composition, presented at Greenroom Manchester, supported by Arts Council England.'.

Mackenzie, N.K., 2004. 'Round-about by Plane Performance (Performance)'.

Mackenzie, N.K., 2003. 'Calling Rachmaninov (Performance)'.

Mackenzie, N.K., 2002. 'SET - on watching Brief Encounter (Performance)'.

Mackenzie, N.K., 2000. 'Three Degrees of Frost (Performance)'.