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Kiran Tanna

PhD by Creative Practice



Staging Conspiracy Theory: exploring staged responses to conspiracy theory in contemporary theatre and performance practice

My research asks how contemporary theatre practitioners might create critical, ethical and productive responses to conspiracy theory and conspiracy theory culture. Approaching this question, I conduct participatory research with various communities who have stakes in the representation of conspiracy theory. I then produce practical responses to my findings. Straddling the roles of researcher, practitioner and occasional subject, I emphasise my position as a researcher and the relationships that I form with those communities with which I work. My work will be presented as three public performances, alongside a written thesis.



I am an artist, educator, researcher, performer and creative producer, based between the UK and Australia. Working in arts and culture, I cofounded and currently direct the multimedia-performance company, VIAPERFORMANCE. Our work has toured internationally and has been supported by various local authorities, English Heritage and Arts Council England. I am also an associate director with several UK-based theatre companies, and one half of the comedy-horror double-act, Harold and Arthur. I have been a resident artist at several institutions. I also write, perform and tour music as Mary and The Ram. Working in academia, I cofounded Theatre Pages Magazine at York St John University and worked as the magazine's editor from 2011 to 2015. I have also worked as a technical demonstrator, visiting lecturer and practitioner at universities in the UK and Australia. My research has been supported by several scholarships, and by the European Research and Development Fund.


Research Interests

My research has investigated staged performances of personal, political, social and philosophical uncertainty. I have undertaken several practice-based research projects, exploring these subjects in relation to various cultural phenomena since 2012.

Playing on these themes, my current research focusses on representations conspiracy theory and conspiracy theory culture in contemporary theatre and performance.

External Activity

External Activity

2009 – Prize awarded by the Philip Latimer Fund for Excellence in Communication.

2012 – Shortlisted for the Theatre Royal Graduate Prize.

2012 – Scholarship awarded by the SPARK Graduate Fund at York St John University.

2013 – Creative Research Grant awarded by The York St John Centre for Creative Business.

2013 – Performance Commission, Illuminating York. Supported by Arts Council England and English Heritage.

2014 – Research grant awarded by the European Research and Development Fund.

2014 – Presentation at the Student Research Conference, York St John University.

2014 – Major Performance Commission, Illuminating York. Supported by Arts Council England.

2016 – Member of the Association of British Theatre Technicians.

2017 – Performance Commission, Hull City of Culture. Supported by Arts Council England.

2018 – Fellow of the Institute for Science and Technology.

2020 – presently working towards fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.



Selected performances and publications include:

Theatre Pages, issues 1 through 9. Published by York St John University. 2011-2015. Contributor and Editor

Bodies and Baggage, by Henry Naughton, Kiran Tanna and Richard Wade, with York St John University. Four-day workshop and performance series at The Sibiu International Festival of Theatre. 2010. Performer and Workshop Leader.

Natural Movements I through III, by VIAPERFORMANCE. Performance series at Create Festival, Bar Lane Studios and Peace Festival. Various performances, 2011-2012. Co-director, Producer and Performer.

Little Gods, Sunset Dance, by VIAPERFORMANCE. Four-day performance series commissioned by The City of York, for Illuminate York. 2013. Co-director, Producer and Performer.

Then Chocolate It Shall Be, by VIAPERFORMANCE. Four day performance series commissioned by The City of York, for Illuminate York. 2014. Co-director, Producer and Performer.

Lines of Flight, Parts One and Two, by Kiran Tanna. Performance series at City Screen Picturehouse York and York Museums Trust, St Mary’s Church. 2014. Writer, Director and Performer.

This Time It Lives, by Harold and Arthur. One week run at City Screen Picturehouse York, commissioned by Ben Rosenfield for Oh No Not This. 2015. Co-writer, Co-director, Producer, and Performer.

Shore Leave, by VIAPERFORMANCE. One-week residency and three-day durational performance at Bridlington Spa, commissioned by Hull City of Culture. 2017. Co-director, Producer and Performer.

The Pact, by Harold and Arthur. Performed at Edinburgh Fringe 2017. Co-writer, Co-director, Producer and Performer.

Horror Show, by Harold and Arthur. UK Tour (31 dates) 2018-2019. Co-writer, Co-director, Producer, and Performer.

Kiran Tanna

Contact details

Kiran Tanna
PhD by Creative Practice
School of Arts and Creative Technologies