Michael Balfour

Theatre and Performance
Head of School

Michael Balfour is Head of School and Professor of Theatre and Performance at UNSW.

Michael’s research explores applied theatre and performance work in a range of social contexts. He is currently lead investigator on Future Stories, a collaboration between UNSW, Griffith Film School and Queensland Childrens’ Health which explores the social benefits of co-designing virtual reality (VR) experiences with children in hospital. He has received numerous competitive national grants for projects including theatre and performance-based work in prisons, creative approaches to supporting the mental health of returning servicemen from Iraq and Afghanistan, and arts-based work with newly arrived refugee communities. Michael’s work with creative approaches to working with people with mid to late stage dementia won a Creative Partnerships Award, and he was also the recipient of the Arts and Health National Leadership Award in 2017.

Michael has authored or edited 8 books, and over 50 book chapters and academic journal articles. His most recent publications include Performing Arts in Prisons: Creative Perspectives (Intellect, 2019), and Applied Theatre: Understanding Change (Springer, 2018) with Kelly Freebody, Michael Anderson and Michael Finneran. He is the series editor of the Bloomsbury Methuen applied theatre book series, that brings together leading international scholars to engage with and advance key themes in the field of applied theatre.

Before joining UNSW, Michael was Chair, Applied Theatre and Deputy Head of School, School of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences at Griffith University, Brisbane. He has also held positions at the University of Exeter, the University of Winchester and the University of Manchester.



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