Skip to content

Dr Tom Payne


Senior Lecturer, Course Leader BA (Hons) Acting & Performance


Tom is a performance maker, writer, dramaturg, filmmaker, and digital creative. He is Co-director of the UK/Australian performance company Doppelgangster and has worked extensively in the creative industries. Tom is Course Leader for the BA (Hons) Acting & Performance, and draws upon his professional experience to support work-based learning on the degree, and is also a Recruitment Lead, and Social Media Lead, within the Stage and Screen subject area. In his research and professional practice, Tom's performance-making strategies seek to engage audiences with questions of social and ecological justice. Tom is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and
has taught drama, theatre, performance, and media communication and production in Further and Higher Education since 2001.


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, 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.


Department of Humanities

College of Social Sciences and Arts

Tom teaches on the BA (Hons) Acting and Performance, on the following modules:

  • Building a Professional Portfolio 
  • Media for Acting & Performance
  • Performance Commission
  • DIY Filmmaking
  • Change Makers Festival


Current Research Projects

Everybody Loses: The Death Diary of Karl Patterson Schmidt by Doppelgangster [Practice-as-Research]. Premiere, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Aberystwyth, 2017. 

Cold War by Doppelgangster [Practice-as-Research]. Premiere, Divadlo Inspirace, Prague, 2019.


Journal articles

Udall, J., Shaw, B., Payne, T., Gilmore, J., & Bushaj, Z. (2021). An unfinished lexicon for autonomous publishing. Ephemera: theory and politics in organization, 21 (4).

Buser, M., Payne, T., Dudley, L., & Edizel, Ö. (2018). Blue space as caring space – water and the cultivation of care in social and environmental practice. Social and Cultural Geography.

Tom Payne, (2017). Dramatizing the Anthropocene through Social Media: The Spatiotemporal Coordinates of Hydrocitizens. Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities, 5 (1), 100.


Payne, T., & Manderson-Galvin, T. (2017). Everybody Loses. Performance Tour Live theatrical performance.


Payne, T., & Manderson-Galvin, T. (2019). Everybody Loses: Elegy in the Anthropocene. Presented at: Theatre and Performance Research Association, University of Exeter

Payne, T., & Manderson-Galvin, T. (2019). Everybody Loses. Presented at: Creating Knowledge Conference, Sheffield Hallam University

Payne, T., & Manderson-Galvin, T. (2018). An Archaeology of Making: The Processes behind Doppelgangster’s ‘Everybody Loses. Presented at: Theoretical Archaeology Group Conference, Chester University

Payne, T., & Manderson-Galvin, T. (2018). Everybody Loses: ‘A Piercing Twin Wound’. Presented at: International Conference on Environmental Humanities, Universidad de Alcalá, 2018


In addition to teaching on the BA (Hons) Performance, Tom has been involved in the following projects here at Sheffield Hallam University:

Radio Plague (2020) by Doppelgangster. Presented at the Prague Fringe Festival (online). Role: co-creator and performer.

Choke Me (2019) by Doppelgangster. Presented at Off the Shelf Festival, Sheffield. Role: co-creator and co-director.

Cold War (2019) by Doppelgangster. Presented at the Prague Fringe Festival. Role: co-creator and performer.

TREEFXXXERS (2018) by Doppelgangster. Presented as part of Season for Change, and the National Tree Charter. Performance Lab, Sheffield. Role: co-creator and co-director

ATLANTIS (2018) by Doppelgangster. Developed with support from Sheffield Theatres and presented at the Performance Lab, Sheffield.
Role: co-creator and performer.

Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow. (2017-18) by Bryan McCormack. Presented at the Brownstone Foundation, Paris. Role: digital documentation and performer. 

Everybody Loses (2017) by Doppelgangster. Developed with support from Aberystwyth Arts Centre and MKA Theatre. Premiered at Aberystwyth Arts Centre. International tour includes: Paris, London, Madrid, Athens, Singapore, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney.
Role: co-creator and performer. Role: co-creator and performer.

Marie Roget by Doppelgangster (2017) by Doppelgangster. Presented at Off the Shelf Festival. The Winter Gardens, Sheffield. Role: co-creator and co-director.

Puntila / Matti (2017) by Doppelgangster. Presented at KXT Sydney. Role: dramaturg.In addition to teaching on the BA (Hons) Performance, Tom has been involved in the following projects here at Sheffield Hallam University:

Postgraduate supervision

Tom is the second supervisor on a Departmental PhD project, and welcomes PhD proposals that reflect his areas of expertise.

Tom completed the Doctoral Supervisor Development Programme (Sheffield Hallam University, 2018).


Hallam-related social media:

Cancel event

Are you sure you want to cancel your place on Saturday 12 November?