Dr John Matthews

Dr John Matthews

Associate Professor in Theatre

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



Associate Professor in Theatre and the Programme Leader for BA Acting


John's first professional role was in BBC film drama while still a schoolboy in South Wales and his most recent parts have been on BBC radio, where he voiced Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury in John Nettles' production of Sir Walter Raleigh. Alongside, John has also appeared in experimental performance and in first casts of new writing at The Pleasance and Theatre 503. 

John is recognised internationally for his research in the field of training and, as well journal articles and edited collections he has authored three highly acclaimed books on the subject - Training and Performance, Anatomy of Performance Training and The Life of Training. John was the inaugural Research Fellow of the Stanislavski Centre and was a recipient of an AHRC Leadership Fellowship. Awarded his PhD by University of Surrey, John holds a First Class honours degree from University of London, where he was awarded the Prize for Excellence in the Field of Drama as an undergraduate.



Teaching interests

John's teaching is informed by his research in training practices and theories. He also teaches masters level students on the philosophy of training practice while offering PhD supervision in the areas of acting, training, embodiment and emergent technology in training practices.

Staff serving as external examiners

John has served as an External Examiner for undergraduate programmes at UK HEI as well as for PhD level students at University of London. He has served on QQA Audit panels and validation events in addition to writing new programmes at undergraduate and postgraduate level.



Research interests

John's research interests include acting and training theory and practice as well as philosophy of performance. His most recent work has focused on performance ontology and the role of temporality in training.

In addition to these specialisms, John also supervises doctoral research in the area of new technologies and AI in performance training practice.

Research groups

Other research

John has published on the subject of ethics in performance and his co-edited collection, A Life of Ethics and Performance, is now available in a second paperback edition.

Grants & contracts

AHRC Research Fellowship, 2013-2015 Research Fellow of the Stanislavski Centre, 2009-2011

Creative practice & artistic projects

John's most recent artistic project has been for a BBC radio 4 xtra production about the journey of the Pilgrim Fathers on the Mayflower from Plymouth to America



Key publications

Key publications are highlighted

Matthews J & De Guevara VL (2019) 'Auditions and … more auditions' Stanislavski Studies 7, (2) 145-158 , DOI Open access
Ladron de Guevara VM & Matthews J (2018) 'Auditions and..' Stanislavski Studies , DOI Open access
Matthews J & Ladron de Guevara V (2017) 'Auditions and stress' Stanislavski Studies 5, (2) 217-231 , DOI Open access
Matthews J (2012) 'What is a Workshop?' Theatre, Dance and Performance Training
Matthews J (2009) 'Acting Freely' Performance Research 14, (2)
Matthews J (2019) The Life of Training. Methuen Drama
Matthews J (2019) The Life of Training. Bloomsbury Publishing , DOI
Matthews J (2014) Anatomy of Performance Training.
Matthews J (2011) Training for Performance. Methuen Drama
Matthews J (2011) A Life of Ethics and Performance. Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Matthews J (2011) 'A Life of Ethics and Performance' in Matthews J; Torevell D A Life of Ethics and Performance Cambridge Scholars Publishing


Reports & invited lectures

‘HEART’, radio broadcast of a public lecture on Resonance FM                                  

‘BODY OF WORK’ a five part, week long series of ‘lunchtime lectures at The Old Operating Theatre Museum, London                                      


'THE SIGNIFICANCE OF STRESS IN DRAMA SCHOOL TRAINING’ Research Seminars on Theory, Practice & History of Performance at Goldsmiths University of London

‘TRAINING IN THE CLINIC, THE CLOISTER AND THE STUDIO’, Spirituality, Education and Exegesis Lecture Series at Liverpool Hope University

‘ASKEOLOGICAL INVESTIGATIONS’, How To Act, international conference at Central School of Speech and Drama

‘THE BODY IN THE MAGIC BOX’ The Centre of Theatre Research in Europe at Roehampton University

‘INSCRIBING THE PALIMPSEST FLESH’ The Changing Body Symposium, international conference at Exeter University

Conferences organised

Material Engagements Conference, British Library Sound Archive,  Dec06 – May 07, Co-organiser

Other academic activities

John reviews proposals and manuscripts for Methuen Drama and Palgrave MacMillan publishing houses as well as peer reviews papers for Theatre, Dance and Performance Training and the Stanislavski Studies journal. 

Additional information

John likes to surf and swim in the beautiful seas and rivers of the south west. He enjoys yoga and cycles to work.