Dr Lucy Amsden

Job: Lecturer in Drama

School/department: School of Humanities and Performing Arts

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH

T: 0116 250 6125

E: lucy.amsden@dmu.ac.uk


Personal profile

I have joined DMU in 2020. I love working with undergraduate students and supporting them to find their own interests and discoveries in theory and practice. In the last few years I have specialised in teaching contemporary acting and performance practice, including teaching at University of Warwick, University of Birmingham and Glasgow Kelvin College. 

My research specialism is in actor training; specifically clown at Ecole Philippe Gaulier. I have experienced training with Gaulier in the areas of Clown, Bouffon and Le Jeu. I care about the place drama and theatre has in the world, what are the philosophies and politics contained in the stories being told and retold, what impact participating in theatre has on individuals professional and amateur, who is listening to whom and how drama can open our hearts to others.

Research group affiliations

Institute of Drama, Dance and Performance Studies

Research interests/expertise

  • Actor Training; Clown and physical performance; Popular Performance Traditions; Performance in hospitals; Performance and Healthcare Training
  • My research integrates practice, including participant-observation in training, practice-based experiments, critical reflection and practical research outcomes. 

Research Presentations:

  • ‘The smallest mask in the world: Clown and Red Nose’ Popular Performance Working Group, TaPRA, University of Exeter, Sept. 2019
  • ‘Play in Clown and Bouffon at Ecole Philippe Gaulier’, State of Play, Edge Hill University, November 2018
  • ‘Crossing the line: Bouffon’, Popular Performance Working Group, TaPRA, University of Aberystwyth, Sept. 2018
  • ‘The Clown Master’, a film about Gaulier’s clown training on BBC Newsnight, broadcast 23rd Sept 2015

Selected Publications

  • ‘Monsieur Marcel and Monsieur Flop: Failure in Clown Training at Ecole Philippe Gaulier’ Theatre, Dance and Performer Training Volume 8 Issue 2, July 2017
  • ‘When they laugh your clown is coming: learning how to be ridiculous in Philippe Gaulier’s pedagogy of spectatorship’ Theatre, Dance and Performer Training, 7: 1, May 2016
  • ‘I’m not really a clown: critical reflection on a Clown Cabaret Scratch Night’ Scottish Journal of Performance, 2: 2, June 2015

Areas of teaching

  • Popular Performance
  • 20th-century and Contemporary Theatre Practice (UK-based )
  • Acting and Performing
  • Practice-as-research and dissertation supervision


  • PhD Theatre Studies, University of Glasgow, 2015
  • MPhil Drama and Theatre Arts, University of Birmingham, 2011
  • BA (Hons) Drama and Theatre Arts, University of Birmingham, 2007

Courses taught

Popular Performance, Theatre for Social Change