Tom is a Senior Lecturer in Acting & Performance within the College of Social Sciences and Arts at Sheffield Hallam University, specialising in site-specific, participatory, relational, and digital performance practices. His research expertise includes contemporary performance, English language theatre in Wales, 21st-century national theatre, site-specific performance, practices of location, and participatory approaches to climate change and the eco-social.
Having trained with Mike Pearson, Eddie Ladd, Simon Whitehead, Dead Good Guides, and Fern Smith, Tom has worked with National Theatre Wales (ARK), Pearson/Brookes (The Persians, Coriolan/Us), MKA Theatre of New Writing (Hot!Hot!Hot!), Bryan McCormack (Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow.); Rimini Protokoll (Outdoors); Miranda Whall (The Proposal); Volcano Theatre Company / Emergence (Doin' Dirt Time); Cape Farewell (ArtCOP21); Good Cop Bad Cop (The Occupation); and Sam Christie (Notes from the Edge of the East).
Tom was awarded a Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarship for collaborative industry-based research entitled Locating National Theatre Wales: A Practice-Based Enquiry into the Theatre Map of Wales and Practices of Location. His PhD thesis took the form of a multimedia deep map of the company’s launch year (2010-2011) and featured documentation from a parallel participatory mapping project in mid-Wales (2012-2013). This research was co-supervised by Professor Adrian Kear, Emeritus Professor Mike Pearson, and founding NTW Artistic Director Dr John E. McGrath. His arising practice at Ty’n yr Helyg Theatre featured in an Arts Council Wales’ report entitled How Artists are Responding to Sustainability in Wales (2014). It identified how this participatory project provided a safe space for conversations about sustainability and our responsibility to act as global citizens.
Tom was appointed Postdoctoral Research Assistant for the Arts and Humanities Research Council's Towards Hydrocitizenship project (Bath Spa University, 2014-2017). This transdisciplinary UK-wide exploration of hydro-social issues was set against the backdrop of climate change and the Anthropocene, and Tom was responsible for developing the project’s core digital strategy, including hydrocitizens.com, an online community that was recognised by the International Network for Contemporary Performing Arts (IETM) as an example of international best practice for the ways in which it intelligently connected dispersed creative individuals around water-related issues (IETM 2015).
As a core member of the Cymerau case study in Borth and Talybont in mid-Wales, Tom was part of the team responsible for the creation of Map Dwr (Water Map), the project’s key participatory arts engagement methodology and strategy. This was also the digital strategy for recording and disseminating the wider project activity, and formed a creative digital entity in itself, and was devised through co-working of the Cymerau Hydrocitizenship Case Study team with specific reference to previous participatory arts mapping work undertaken in my PhD.
Tom is the co-founder and Co-Artistic Director of the UK/Australian performance collective Doppelgangster (2015-present). The company formed with support from National Theatre Wales and has an explicit focus upon social and environmental justice. Regularly presenting work with his collaborators, Tom's selected performances have included: Doppelgangster’s TITANIC (Paris, 2015); Baby (London, 2016); Puntila Matti (Sydney, 2017); Everybody Loses (Aberystwyth, 2017); Atlantis (Sheffield, 2018); Cold War (Prague, 2019); and Radio Plague (online, 2020).
In 2016, Tom co-curated the inaugural Hot!Hot!Hot! Climate Arts Festival with Doppelgangster and award-winning Melbourne based new-writing company MKA Theatre. This ten-day programme involved a multi-disciplinary artist takeover of a former college building in Brunswick, Melbourne; and was produced in partnership with Site-Works and Creative Victoria.
Doppelgangster runs a unique artist development and mentoring programme entitled DeepWater. As part of this initiative, Tom works with company collaborators to create three unique productions with young artists on the BA Acting & Performance at Sheffield Hallam University. These include Marie Roget (Off the Shelf, 2017); TREEFXXXERS, (Season for Change, and the National Tree Charter, 2018); and, Choke Me (Off the Shelf, 2019).
A Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Tom incorporates his industry experience, professional practice, and digital expertise, into undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and learning. His specialist areas of interest are practices of location, site-specific performance, relation and participation, the digital Humanities, social media as a pedagogical tool in drama education, artistic approaches to climate change and the eco-social.