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.

Subject areas

Publications

Books
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Freebody K; Balfour M; Finneran M; Anderson M, (eds.), 2018, Applied theatre: Understanding change, Springer
2018
Balfour M; Bundy P; Burton B; Dunn J; Woodrow N, 2015, Applied theatre resettlement: Drama, refugees and resilience, Bloomsbury Methuen
2015
Balfour M, (ed.), 2013, Refugee performance: Practical encounters, Intellect
2013
Balfour ML, 2012, Permissions
2012
Thomson J; Hughes J; Balfour M, (eds.), 2009, Performance: In place of war, University of Chicago Press
2009
Balfour M; Somers JW, (ed.), 2006, Drama as social intervention, Captus University Publications
2006
2004, Prison theatre: Theory and practice, Intellect
2004
Balfour M, 2004, Theatre in prison: Theory and practice
2004
2001, Theatre and war: Performance in extremis, 1934-1945, Berghahn Books
2001
Book Chapters
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Balfour M; Dunn J, 2020, 'Locating hope: Exploring departures in applied theatre work with people with advanced dementia.', in Breed A; Prentki T (ed.), , Routledge
2020
Balfour M, 2019, 'The politics of care: Play, stillness and social presence', in Eckersall P; Grehan H (ed.), , Routledge
2019
Balfour M; Freebody K, 2018, 'Theories of change: Cultural value and applied theatre', in Freebody K; Balfour M; Finneran M; Anderson M (ed.), , Springer, pp. 19 - 31
2018
Balfour M, 2018, 'Music projects with veteran and military communities', in , pp. 555 - 572, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190219505.013.2
2018
Balfour M; Dunn J; Martin K, 2017, 'Playful engagement: Exploring the features of applied theatre approaches to engaging Individuals living with dementia', in McCormick S (ed.), , Bloomsbury Methuen, pp. 128 - 149
2017
Balfour M, 2017, 'Music projects with veteran and military communities', in Bartleet B-L; Higgins L (ed.), , Oxford University Press, pp. 101 - 131
2017
Balfour M, 2016, 'The art of facilitation: Tain’t what you do (it’s the way that you do it)', in Preston S (ed.), , Bloomsbury Methuen, pp. 151 - 164
2016
Hassall L; Balfour M, 2016, 'Transitioning home: Research-based theatre with returning servicemen and their families', in Belliveau G; Lea GW (ed.), , Intellect, pp. 103 - 116
2016
Balfour M, 2015, 'A fragile dance: Art and place making in times of war and not war', in Fleming M; Bresler L; O Toole J (ed.), , Routledge, pp. 305 - 314
2015
Whyte T; Matthew C; Balfour M; Murphy L; Hassall L, 2015, 'Getting to know the story of the Boathouse Dances: Football, freedom and rock ‘n’ roll', in McDonald J; Mason R (ed.), , Intellect, pp. 81 - 97
2015
Balfour M, 2015, 'The difficult return: Supporting returning veterans through an arts-based social leadership program', in Johnson G; Dempster N (ed.), , Springer, pp. 389 - 408
2015
Balfour M, 2014, 'Performing the promised land: The festivalising of multi-cultures in the Margate Exodus Project', in Bennett A; Taylor J; Woodward I (ed.), , Ashgate Press, pp. 207 - 228
2014
Balfour M; Woodrow N, 2013, 'On stitches', in Balfour M (ed.), , Intellect, pp. 15 - 34
2013
Balfour ML, 2012, 'Refugee performance: Encounters with alterity', in , pp. 213 - 228
2012
Conference Papers
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Balfour M, 2019, 'Shakespeare in prisons conference, Old Globe Theatre, San Diego, Friday 23rd–25th March 2018', in Research in Drama Education, pp. 209 - 210, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13569783.2018.1542295
2019
Edited Books
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Balfour M; Bartleet B-L; Davey L; Rynne J; Schippers H, (eds.), 2019, Performing arts in prisons, Intellect, https://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/distributed/P/bo40060231.html
2019
Journal articles
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Hatton N; Dunn J; Balfour M, 2019, 'Editorial', Research in Drama Education, vol. 24, pp. 1 - 5, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13569783.2018.1548928
2019
Dunn J; Balfour M; Moyle W, 2019, 'Quality of life or ‘quality moments of life’: Considering the impact of relational clowning for people living with dementia', Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, vol. 24, pp. 38 - 52, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13569783.2018.1544889
2019
Balfour M, 2019, 'The difficult return: The arts and social health of returning military personnel. [Special edition: Arts and the military]', Arts in Psychotherapy, vol. 62, pp. 61 - 67, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aip.2018.11.003
2019
Balfour M, 2017, 'Arts, activism and human rights [Special edition in partnership with Amnesty International]', Journal of Arts and Communities, vol. 8, pp. 75 - 92, http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/jaac.8.1-2.3_2
2017
Balfour M; Stewart D, 2016, 'Perspectives and contexts of arts, social health and the military', Journal of Arts and Health, vol. 7, pp. 87 - 95, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17533015.2014.999247
2016
Davey L; Day A; Balfour M, 2015, 'Performing desistance: How might theories of desistance from crime help us understand the possibilities of prison theatre?', International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, vol. 59, pp. 798 - 809, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0306624X14529728
2015
Balfour M; Westwood M; Buchanan ML, 2014, 'Protecting into emotion: Therapeutic enactments with military veterans transitioning back into civilian life', Research in Drama Education, Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, vol. 19, pp. 165 - 181, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13569783.2014.911806
2014
Dunn J; Balfour M; Moyle W; Cooke M; Martin K; Crystal C; Yen A, 2013, 'Playfully engaging people living with dementia: Searching for Yum Cha moments', International Journal of Play, vol. 2, pp. 174 - 186, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21594937.2013.852052
2013
Balfour M, 2012, 'Refugee performance: Encounters with alterity', Journal of Arts & Communities, vol. 2, pp. 177 - 195, http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/jaac.2.3.177_1
2012
Balfour M, 2012, 'Mapping realities: Representing war through affective place making', New Theatre Quarterly, vol. 28, pp. 30 - 40, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0266464X12000036
2012
Balfour M, 2010, 'Developing the capacities of applied theatre students to be critically reflective learner-practitioners', Australasian Drama Studies, vol. 57, pp. 54 - 63
2010
Balfour M, 2009, 'The difficult return: Contexts and developments in drama-based work with returned military personnel', Applied Theatre Researcher/IDEA Journal, vol. 10, pp. 1 - 11
2009
Balfour M, 2009, 'The politics of intention: Looking for a theatre of little changes', Research in Drama Education: Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, vol. 14, pp. 347 - 359, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13569780903072125
2009
Balfour M, 2007, 'Performing war: ‘Military theatre’ and the possibilities of resistance', Performance Paradigm, vol. 3, pp. 1 - 9
2007