School of Arts

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Professor Paul Allain

Professor of Theatre and Performance

Dean of the Graduate School



Paul Allain is Professor of Theatre and Performance at the University of Kent, Canterbury. He collaborated with the Gardzienice Theatre Association from 1989 to 1993 and published the book Gardzienice: Polish Theatre in Transition (1997). He co-edited the Cambridge Companion to Chekhov (2000) and his book  The Art of Stillness: The Theatre Practice of Tadashi Suzuki was published by Methuen (2002; second revised and expanded edition with DVD 2009) and Palgrave Macmillan, USA (2003). Routledge published his Companion to Theatre and Performance, co-written with Jen Harvie in 2006, second edition 2014.

He has published several edited collections on Grotowski as part of the British Grotowski project. in 2012 published Andrei Droznin's Physical Actor Training with Routledge, a DVD/booklet. He has contributed extensively to the Routledge Digital Performance Archive.  In 2015 his coedited book and online collection Voices from Within: Grotowski’s Polish Collaborators  was published. His coedited Acting with Grotowski: Theatre as a Field for Experiencing Life, by Zbigniew Cynkutis (Routledge 2015) was launched in New Delhi, India in November 2014, at the Polish Cultural Institute.

 In 2015 he gained funding from the Leverhulme Trust to make films about physical acting for Methuen Drama Bloomsbury. These are published here with a companion website here. He is currently Research Mentor for the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama, 2015-19 and has been selected as a REF panel member for REF 2021, both criteria and assessment phases.

Current administrative duties

Professional Associations/Memberships

  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts
  • Editorial Board Member: Contemporary Theatre Review, Polish Theatre Perspectives, Theatre Dance and Performance Training
  • Society of Authors
  • REF 2021 Panel Member
  • Member, Academia Europaea

General practice

  • Project Lead for ETRN project, Playing Identities, Performing Heritage
  • Jury member and Guest Lectures/workshops 17th University Theatre Festival, Tehran, Iran, May 2014
  • Co-director of The Massacre at Paris, with the Marlowe Theatre and Fourth Monkey, Canterbury Cathedral Crypt, March 2014
  • Producer of Schechner's Imagining O, performed at Kent and touring to Kerala, India in 2012.
  • Organiser and initiator of student and staff exchange with the Moscow Art Theatre School - Leverhulme-funded staff exchange 2008-2010
  • Member of documentation team of and partner in EU funded project 'Tracing Roads Across' with the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards 2003-2006
  • Digital Theatre+ Advisory Board member
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Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Allain, P. (2009). The Theatre Practice of Tadashi Suzuki A CRITICAL STUDY WITH DVD EXAMPLES. A&C Black Publishers Ltd.
Allain, P. (2006). Routledge Companion to Theatre and Performance. Routledge.
Allain, P. (2002). The Art of Stillness - The Theatre Practice of Tadashi Suzuki. Palgrave.
Allain, P. (2000). The Cambridge Companion To Chekhov. Gottlieb, V. ed. Cambridge University Press.
Allain, P. (1998). Gardzienice Polish Theatre in Transition. Harwood Academic Press.
Edited book
Allain, P. and Tyabji, K. eds. (2015). Acting With Grotowski: Theatre As a Field for Experiencing Life. [Online]. Abingdon, Oxfordshire: Routledge. Available at:
Allain, P. and Ziolkowski, G. eds. (2014). Voices from Within. Grotowski's Polish Collaborators. London: Routledge Taylor and Francis.
Allain, P. ed. (2010). Grotowski and Company. Malta, Holstebro, Wroclaw: Icarus Publishing Enterprise.
Allain, P. ed. (2009). Grotowski's Empty Room: A Challenge to the Theatre. University of Chicago Press.
Banu, G., Ziolkowski, G. and Allain, P. eds. (2009). Peter Brook, With Grotowski: Theatre Is Just a Form. Grotowski Institute, Wroclaw.
Banu, G., Ziolkowski, G. and Allain, P. eds. (2009). With Grotowski. Theatre Is Just a Form. Grotowski Institute.
Allain, P. ed. (2009). Grotowski's Empty Room. Calcutta: Seagull Books.
Allain, P. and Ziolkowski, G. eds. (2005). Contemporary Theatre Review: Polish Theatre After 1989: Beyond Borders. Routledge, part of the Taylor & Francis Group.
Allain, P. and Bennett-Worth, S. (2018). Turning back to Training. Performance Research [Online] 23:240-241. Available at:
Allain, P. (2016). Thick Description/Thin Lines: Writing about process in Contemporary Performance. Contemporary Theatre Review [Online] 26:485-495. Available at:
Allain, P. (2015). The Archive. Contemporary Theatre Review [Online] 25:32-35. Available at:
Allain, P. and Barbe, F. (2009). On the Shoulders of Tradition, East and West: a Conversation between Paul Allain and Frances Barbe. Studies in Theatre and Performance 29:149-159.
Allain, P. (2007). Goat Theatre Macbeth. Contemporary Theatre Review 17:255-258.
Allain, P. (2005). Grotowski's ghosts. Contemporary Theatre Review:46-59.
Allain, P. and Ziolkowski, G. (2005). Polish Theatre After 1989: Beyond Borders. Contemporary Theatre Review [Online]. Available at:
Allain, P. (2002). After Grotowski - the next Generation. New Theatre Quarterly 28:59-66.
Allain, P. (2002). After Grotowski. Total Theatre 14.
Allain, P. (1999). The Grammar Of The Feet. Total Theatre.
Allain, P. (1998). Suzuki Training: An Update. Drama Review [Online] 42:66-89. Available at:
Allain, P. (1995). Coming Home: The New Ecology of The Gardzienice Theatre Association of Poland. Drama Review [Online] 39:93-121. Available at:
Allain, P. (1994). Movement Directing. Total Theatre 6.
Allain, P. (1993). Gardzienice in the Suzuki Empire. Polityka.
Allain, P. (1992). Gardzienice: At the Cultural Crossroads. New Theatre Quarterly.
Allain, P. (1992). 'Polishing up on the Classics'. The Stage.
Allain, P. (1991). A Love Letter from Britain. Teatr.
Allain, P. (1991). Modesty and Vigour. Plays and Players.
Allain, P. (1991). Rep Paralysed by Spending Cuts. The Stage.
Allain, P. (1990). Two articles on contemporary Polish theatre. Plays International.
Allain, P. (1990). Theatre in Poland. Performance Magazine.
Allain, P. (1990). On the Border of Europe and Asia. Zycie Warszawa.
Allain, P. (1989). Gardzienice: a Practical Account. Music Theatre Dance Journal:29-33.
Book section
Allain, P. (2013). Ways of Hearing. In: Wisniewski, T. ed. A Between Almanach for the Year 2013. Maski Press, Gdansk/Sopot, 2013. Available at:
Allain, P. (2010). Piotr Borowski and Poland's Studium Teatralne: Where Process becomes Performance. In: Delgado, M. M. and Rebellato, D. eds. Contemporary European Theatre Directors. Oxon: Routledge Taylor and Francis, pp. 165-184.
Allain, P. (2008). Destarsi con One breath left. In: Opere E Sentieri. Vol. 3: Testimonianze E Riflessioni sull'arte Come Veicolo. Bulzoni, pp. 129-140.
Allain, P. (2007). Destarsi Con One Breath Left. In: The Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards Visioni. Bulzoni.
Allain, P. (2006). Waking with one breath left. In: Attisani, A. ed. Tracing Roads Across. EU funded.
Allain, P. (2006). The Nature And Culture Of Performance. In: A Performance Cosmology: Testimony from the Future, Evidence of. Routledge.
Allain, P. (2002). The Gardzienice Theatre Association. In: Acting (Re)Considered (2nd ed.). Routledge.
Allain, P. (2002). Gardzienice's Performance of Otherness. In: Studies in Language, Literature and Cultural Mythology in Poland: Investigating The Other. Edwin Mellen Press, pp. 99-114.
Allain, P. (2010). Review about Tadeusz Kantor. New Theatre Quarterly [Online] 26:301-301. Available at:
Allain, P. (2008). Review of Jerzy Grotowski by James Slowiak and Jairo Cuesta and Etienne Decroux, by Thomas Leabhart. Contemporary Theatre Review [Online] 18:115-117. Available at:
Allain, P. (2007). Macbeth. Didaskalia 7:89.
Allain, P. (2007). Review of Krzysztof Miklaszewski, Encounters with Kantor. Contemporary Theatre Review 17:115-116.
Allain, P. (2005). Review of Samuel L Leiter, Frozen Moments: Writings on Kabuki 1966-2001 and Faye Chunfang Fei's Review of Samuel L Leiter, Frozen Moments: Writings on Kabuki 1966-2001 and Faye Chunfang Fei's Chinese Theories of Theater and Performance from Confucius to the Present. New Theatre Quarterly 21:199-199.
Allain, P. (2005). Review of Hidden Territories, Wlodzimierz Staniewski with Alison Hodge. Theatre Research International:0-0.
Allain, P. (2004). Review of Edward Braun, A Concise History of Polish Theater from the Eleventh to the Twentieth Centuries, Lampeter: Edwin Mellen Press, 2003. Theatre Research International:84-85.
Allain, P. (2004). Review of Daniel Meyer-Dinkgraffe, Approaches to Acting Past and Present. New Theatre Quarterly 20:95-95.
Allain, P. (2002). Review of Dymphna's Callery's Through the Body. New Theatre Quarterly 18:0-0.
Allain, P. (2002). Japanese theatre and the international stage. New Theatre Quarterly 18:197-197.
Allain, P. (2001). Review of Modern Czech Theatre. New Theatre Quarterly 17:0-0.
Allain, P. (2000). New sites for Shakespeare: Theatre, the audience, and Asia. New Theatre Quarterly 16:391-392.
Allain, P. (1998). Review of Kathleen M. Cioffi "Alternative theatre in Poland 1954-1989". New Theatre Quarterly [Online] 8:292-293. Available at:
Allain, P. (1997). Review of Harold B. Segel "Pinocchio's progeny". New Theatre Quarterly [Online] 13:95-96. Available at:
Allain, P. (1997). Review of Michael Huxley and Noel Witts,eds. "Twentieth century performance reader". New Theatre Quarterly [Online] 13:399-399. Available at:
Allain, P. (1990). Review of two performances by Scena Plastyczna of Lublin. Performance Research:0-0.
Allain, P. (1989). Review of Gardzienice's Avvakum. Event South West Magazine:0-0.
Conference or workshop item
Allain, P. (2010). On Ensembles. In: Ensemble Theatre.
Show / exhibition
Allain, P. (2009). Dust: Grotowski's Last performance. [45 B + W photos].
Allain, P. and Campo, G. (2009). Jerzy Grotowski: Theatre and Beyond. An Exhibition. [Drawings, photos, set, costumes, props, original materials from a performance].
Allain, P. (2008). British Grotowski Project. Three year AHRC funded practical and theoretical project with multiple outcomes. [Project]. Available at:
Allain, P. (2004). The Intercultural Training of Tadashi Suzuki Savarese, N. and Brunetto, C. eds.
Allain, P. (2002). 'Sztuka bezruchu', ('The art of stillness'- edited extracts from the book of this name). [Online]. Available at:
Allain, P. (1999). Obituary of Jerzy Grotowski.
Allain, P. (1999). Interview with Piotr Borowski: Artistic Director of Studium Teatralne, Warsaw.
Grieve, J. (2017). The Efficacy of Symbolic Action Investigating the Creation and Effect of Symbolic Action on Performers and Audiences in the Performance, The Passion of Lady Vendredi.
Ang, G. (2017). Sourcing Within: A Reflexive Investigation of a Creative Path.
Howe, W. (2015). A Cinema of Happenings: Exploring Improvisation As Process in Filmmaking.
Cutugno, C. (2014). Intercultural Performance and Dialogue. From Richard Schechner Performance Studies Onwards.
Visual media
Allain, P. and Camilleri, F. (2018). Physical Actor Training - an Online A-Z. [films online]. Bloomsbury, Methuen Drama. Available at:
Allain, P. (2012). Andrei Droznin's Physical Actor Training. [DVD and Booklet]. Routledge Tay;or and Francis. Available at: (ISBN).
Marotti, F., Tinti, L. and Allain, P. (2005). Il Principe Costante Di Jerzy Grotowski Riconstruzione, With Subtitles in English. [DVD]. Centro Teatro Ateneo - University of Rome 'La Sapienza'.
Allain, P. (2000). Suzuki Training- an Introductory File. [CD-ROM and Video]. Arts Archives, The Fifth Series, Exeter.
Allain, P. ed. (2018). The Great European Stage Directors Volume 5: Grotowski, Brook, Barba. [Online]. Vol. 5. London, UK: Bloomsbury, Methuen Drama. Available at:
Total publications in KAR: 78 [See all in KAR]
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I teach a range of courses as well as actor training throughout the programme and at masters level.  I focus on physical approaches to movement and body work, drawing largely on the Grotowskian lineage and the approach of Gardzienice, with whom I collaborated from 1989-93.

I also work on an intercultural approach, with special reference to the work of Brook, Schechner and Barba, as well as contemporary Asian practices, especially the Suzuki method and his directorial approach.

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Paul is a world-leading expert on Polish theatre and Jerzy Grotowski. After collaborating with Gardzienice Theatre Association, on whom he wrote the first book in English which came out of his PhD at the University of London, he worked extensively in the UK as Movement Director, most notably with Katie Mitchell on nine productions. He has published several books, DVDs and articles on theatre and actor training as both author and editor. From 2006-9 he led the British Grotowski Project, which culminated in an international conference and a series of publications. He has also collaborated with the Moscow Art Theatre School on a Leverhulme-funded network, ending in a conference hosted by the Royal Shakespeare Company on Movement and Actor Training. In 2009 he received an award for services to Polish culture from the Polish government and in 2018 won the Witkacy Award, for promoting Polish theatre overseas. In 2015 he gained funding from the Leverhulme Trust to make films about physical acting for Methuen Drama Bloomsbury. These are published here with a companion website here. He is currently Research Mentor for the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama, 2015-19 and has been selected as a REF panel member for REF 2021, both criteria and assessment phases.

Current research interests include:

  • Contemporary Japanese theatre, especially the theatre practice of Tadashi Suzuki
  • Theories of Performer Training and Performing 
  • Polish, Russian and East European Theatre, the work of Gardzienice, Studium Teatralne and practices after Grotowski 
  • Intercultural Performance
  • Digital tools in performance research
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I have successfully supervised to completion several postgraduate research students (7 PhDs, 8 MAs and one MPhil) including in the following areas:

  • vocal action in contemporary theatre practice (PaR
  • Zeami, noh and Grotowski's total act
  • the politics of contemporary Polish theatre
  • catharsis in the theatre (PaR)
  • Vassiliev and Grotowski (PaR)
  • Grotowski's influence on British theatre
  • film improvisation (PaR)
  • Kunauka and Japanese theatre after Suzuki
  • Schechner's Performance Studies in Italy (cotutelle)
  • Grotowski and Sufism
  • Paratheatre as a mode for theatre encounters
  • Sourcing within for the performance act (PaR)

I am keen to supervise in any areas related to these topics as well as my core expertise: contemporary performance, actor and performer training, practice as research, Polish and East European theatre, vocal practices.

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Last Updated: 13/11/2018