Dr Jamie Harper

Dr Jamie Harper

Lecturer in Drama

School of Society and Culture (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business)



Jamie Harper is a UK-based theatre director, play designer and performance researcher. He studied English Literature at the University of Sheffield and trained on the Directors’ Course at LAMDA. He is a previous winner of the JMK Directors’ Award and the National Theatre Cohen Bursary for which he was Resident Director at the National Theatre Studio. His theatre credits include The Return of Colmcille for Derry’s UK City of Culture Festival; Invasion for Tooting Arts Club (Time Out Critics' Choice); Our Town at the Rose Theatre, Kingston; Beyond the Pale at Southwark Playhouse; A Real Humane Person Who Cares and All That at the Arcola; Invisible Storms at the Cock Tavern (Time Out Critics' Choice); The Six-Days World at The Finborough; The Things Good Men Do at the Lyric Hammersmith and A Lie of the Mind at BAC.

In 2013, he received a Winston Churchill Trust Travelling Fellowship to research the intersection of game design and drama at University of Miami. Following this project, he has focused on creating participatory performance works that incorporate play. Most recently he has focused on play projects related to ecological themes, including The Food Telescope (with Aslaug Ullerud) for the Oslo Architecture Triennale and Green Gold, a board-game commissioned by Fern, a Brussels-based pressure group advocating for forest restoration. He is an active member of the Nordic Larp (live action role-play) community and has presented larp works at festivals including Grenselandet in Oslo, Blackbox CPH in Copenhagen and Minsk Larp Festival in Belarus. He recently completed a practice-led PhD in participatory performance at Newcastle University.



Teaching interests

Jamie teaches a wide range of practical and theoretical approaches to drama, theatre and performance

Staff serving as external examiners

Jamie serves as external examiner for Acting and Theatre-making degree courses at the University of West London.



Research interests

Jamie's research focuses on participatory performance forms including live action role-play, interactive and immersive theatre, game design and socially engaged arts practices.

Other research

In addition to conducting academic research, Jamie has provided research consultancy, using playful methods to interrogate problems or uncover possible opportunities. He recently created a board game about climate change and land use for Fern, a Brussels-based environmental think-tank advocating for forest restoration. He is currently working with The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre in Hampshire on a Play Artist in Residence scheme, which explores the use of play in enhancing community engagement with the venue.

Grants & contracts

De Montfort University, Higher Education Innovation Fund

October 2021 – March 2022 (£7000)

A grant to support the development of educational resources using digital tools, promoting the resilience of primary school children.


University of Chester, Digital Research Grant

July – December 2020 (£1300)

A grant to support an investigation of the aesthetics of immersive performance in virtual spaces through a residency with the digital art collective THIS IS FAKE in Zeitz, Germany in September 2020.


Newcastle University, Education Innovation Fund

January – June 2019 (£2500)

A research grant to support the development of teaching materials employing play strategies to enhance student participation in practical performance modules on the BA (Hons) English Literature course.


Newcastle University, Iland Travel Award

August 2018 (£1000)

A travel grant to participate in Larpers of the World, a project focused on the use of live action role-play to promote civic participation with students in Belarus.

Creative practice & artistic projects

Green Gold (Brussels. Fern, 2021)

A role-playing board game about forests and climate change. Commissioned by Fern, a Brussels-based environmental think-tank advocating for forest restoration and the rights of forest communities.

Authentic Spaces (Zeitz, Germany. THIS IS FAKE, 2020)

A research residency about the overlap of virtual reality technologies and performance installations in ‘real world’ locations.

The Food Telescope (Oslo Architecture Triennale, 2019)

A participatory performance about the ecological, biological, and cultural impact of food. Produced as part of Home Planet, a series of interactive works about sustainable cities. Designed in collaboration with Aslaug Ullerud.

Ridge Walk (Milton Keynes. Arts for Health Milton Keynes, 2018)

A residency commission to produce participatory art works with residents of the Peartree Bridge community of Milton Keynes.

Migrations of Cool (London. Arebyte Gallery, 2017)

A street game about the role of artists in processes of gentrification. Developed as part of the Crowd ControlFestival of Collective Behaviour.

Washing Machine (Newcastle. Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, 2017)

A live action role-play about what we want our lives to have meant by the time we reach the end of our lives.

Nudge (London. Headlong Theatre, 2016)

A live action game using digital technology to simulate the political dynamics of online ‘social credit’ systems, Runner-Up for Headlong Theatre’s Digital Artist Award. Designed in collaboration with Duncan Hay.

Here is the Place (London. Serpentine Galleries, 2016)

A series of play workshops about friendship groups for children transitioning from primary to secondary school. Designed in collaboration with Adam James.

The Lowland Clearances (London. Camden People’s Theatre, 2016)

A live action role-play about housing in London. Supported by The Peabody Trust and the Bartlett School of Architecture. Designed in collaboration with Duncan Hay.

I declare at my own risk (Margate. Turner Contemporary Gallery, 2015)

A performance piece by Roma writer and performer Alina Serban. Supported by Arts Council England, Tara Arts, and the Romanian embassy in the UK.

People Vs Democracy (London. Free Word Centre, 2015)

A live action game about power, produced in collaboration with Article 19. Supported by Arts Council England.

The Hundred We Are (London. The Yard Theatre, 2014)

A play by award-winning writer Jonas Hassen Khemiri. Supported by Arts Council England and Kulturrådet, the Swedish Arts Council.

The Return of Colmcille (Derry. Walk the Plank, 2013)

A series of street theatre performances for Derry’s UK City of Culture programme.

Invasion (London. Tooting Arts Club, 2011)

A play by award-winning writer Jonas Hassen Khemiri. Selected as Time Out Critics’ Choice.




Key publications


Harper, Jamie. [Forthcoming] “Framework Design: A Curatorial Approach to Teaching Participatory Performance Methods.” In Experiential Theatres: Praxis-Based Approaches to Training 21st Century Theatre Artists, edited by Sean Bartley and William W. Lewis. New York: Routledge.


Harper, Jamie. [Forthcoming] “Performing Resilience: Anchorage and Leverage in Live Action Role-Play Drama.” Journal of Contemporary Drama in English.


Harper, Jamie. 2022. “Interrupting Immersive Immediacy: Pursuing Reflexive Hypermediacy in the Play of Participatory Performance.” The Drama Review 66(1): 145-164.


Harper, Jamie. 2021. “Learning to Play with Memory: Participatory performance and the pedagogical potential of self-documentation.” Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance 27(1): 19-39.


Harper, Jamie. 2021. “From Excavation to Reconfiguration: Emergent co-creation in playful performance.” Well Played: A Journal of Video Games, Value and Meaning 10(2): 74-93.


Harper, Jamie. 2020. “In Search of Lost Weather: Temporal reflexivity and ecological awareness in participatory performance.” Ambiances: International Journal of Sensory Environment, Architecture and Urban Space, Issue 6.


Harper, Jamie. 2019. “Meaningful Play: Applying game and play design practices to promote agency in participatory performance.” International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media 15(3): 360-374.

Harper J (2022) 'Framework Design: A Curatorial Approach to Teaching Participatory Performance' Experiential Theatres Routledge 46-52 , DOI