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Jonathan Bussell

PhD by Research



How to give students a professional experience during productions while still teaching technique to actors in training? An investigation into discovering strategies that can be used when directing students.

This study aims to focus on strategies and processes within higher education when working with students on practical, group based, theatre projects where the practical work is being assessed. Predominately this will be looking at student productions and how best to approach some of the frictions within different possible approaches. The research will analyse where student productions fit within training in general looking at ways to make the process and assessment beneficial to the students’ educational journey.


Jonny studied Philosophy at Newcastle University and then went on to study MA Acting at Arts Educational Schools London. After graduating Jonny has worked as an actor and director predominately in the North East performing in productions such as ‘Revenger’s Tragedy’ and ‘The Duchess of Malfi’. Jonny recently directed ACE funded ‘Bankers’ at Alphabetti Theatre in Newcastle. The play looked at the links between the 2008 banking crisis and the rise of foodbank usage.

As a writer Jonny’s first full length play ‘The Centre’ was produced at Arc in Stockton, his play ‘The Bag’ toured the North East and Scotland with Northumberland Theatre Company and his short plays have been performed at venues such as Live Theatre, The Cockpit Theatre and Theatre 503. He was the writer of ‘Just Checking’ and ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ two plays looking at OCD in conjunction with Vivid Theatre Company and Newcastle University that were performed at Northern Stage and Arc.

Jonny is currently Faculty Leader for Stage & Screen at The Northern School of Art.


  • TAPRA 2019- Presenting- Strategies to encourage risk taking and experimentation in student work.
  • TAPRA 2018- Presenting- Techniques to encourage collaboration and inter-disciplinary approaches in curriculum.
  • PAD 2018- Paper- Analysis of approaches to directing student productions.

External Activity

  • Trustee for Moving Parts Newcastle Puppetry Festival
  • External Examiner BA (Hons) Acting and Performance at Grimsby College Accredited by Hull University
  • External Examiner BA (Hons) Acting at Leicester College Accredited by DMU

Contact details

Jonathan Bussell
Postgraduate researcher
School of Arts and Creative Technologies
University of York