Prof Mike Pearson

B.A. (Archaeology, Wales); M.A. (Education, Wales); PhD (Wales)

Prof Mike Pearson

Emeritus Professor

Contact Details


1968-71 undergraduate studies – BA Archaeology, University College Cardiff 1971-73 postgraduate studies – MA Education, University College Cardiff

Between 1972 and 1997, I worked as a professional theatre maker with Transitions Trust community arts project (1971-72) and RAT Theatre; and as a co-director of Cardiff Laboratory Theatre (1973-80) and Brith Gof Theatre Company (1981-97). I continue to create theatre as a solo artist; with artist/designer Mike Brookes in Pearson/Brookes; with National Theatre Wales; and with senior performers’ group Good News From The Future.

I became a lecturer in the Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies, University College Aberystwyth in 1997. Between 1999-2014, I was Professor of Performance Studies, Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies, Aberystwyth University.In 2006, I gained a PhD (by publication) on ‘Convergences of performance and archaeology’ from the University of Wales. In 2009, I became an Honorary Fellow of Falmouth University. Between 2012-14, I was a Leverhulme Major Research Fellow.

Additional Information

For a list of my books and some recent performance work please refer to the RESEARCH section.

I have been a visiting scholar/lecturer at Rutgers, State University of New Jersey (2002); Johannes Goethe University of Frankfurt (2003 and 2006) and Roskilde University, Denmark (2014). My recent keynote addresses have included the International Federation for Theatre Research world congress (2014), Harvard University (2014) and the Prague Quadrennial (2014).I was Principal Investigator on Carrlands: mediated manifestations of site-specific performance in the Ancholme valley, North Lincolnshire (2006-7) (AHRC Landscape and Environment programme smaller research grant); and Co-Investigator on AHRC funded projects The snows of yesteryear (2012-13) and Challenging Concepts of “Liquid” Place through Performing Practices in Community Contexts (2011-14).

I was a member of the AHRC peer-review panel for Drama, Dance and Performing Arts (2005-7) and of the AHRC Landscape and Environment programme national steering group (2007-12).

I have been on the editorial boards of Cultural Geographies About Performance (University of Sydney, Australia); Performance Matters (Simon Fraser University, Canada) and the Palgrave Macmillan Performing Landscapes series.


I have supervised 8 successful PhD projects to completion. Since 2008, I have examined PhD candidates including practice-based projects at Roehampton University, London; University of Plymouth; University of Glamorgan; Murdoch University, Australia; University of Sydney, Australia; Cardiff Metropolitan University; Glasgow University, Huddersfield University and Falmouth University.


My research interests include performance practice particularly devised performance, physical theatre and site-specific work; performance history particularly in documentation and restaging; performance, place and landscape; performance and archaeology; biography, personal narrative and memory in performance; folklore and traditional performance practices; the archaeology of Antarctic exploration.

I have a particular interests in practice-based research and in interdisciplinarity. I have collaborated closely with geographers – presenting papers on several occasions and a commissioned performance (Warplands, 2011) at the Royal Geographical Society annual conference – and with archaeologists, particularly Professor Michael Shanks (Stanford University) with whom I shall complete a five-day residency at the Bard Graduate Center in New York in December 2016.I am the author of 5 books: Marking Time: Performance, archaeology and the city (Exeter UP 2012); Mickery Theater: An Imperfect Archaeology (Amsterdam UP 2011); Site-Specific Performance (Palgrave MacMillan 2010); In Comes I: Performance, Memory and Landscape (Exeter UP 2006) and co-author with Michael Shanks of Theatre/Archaeology (Routledge 2001).

As a theatre maker, I have worked worldwide – throughout Europe, in South America and in Hong Kong. I have co-directed three recent major theatre productions with National Theatre Wales: The Persians (2010); Coriolan/us (2012) and Iliad (2015).

For more information on my research activities, please refer to the ADDITIONAL INFORMATION section.


Daniels, S, Pearson, M & Roms, HP 2010, 'Editorial: Fieldworks' Performance Research, vol 15, no. 4, 1, pp. 1-5. DOI: 10.1080/13528165.2010.539871
Pearson, M 2010, Site-Specific Performance. Springer Nature.
Pearson, MJ, Brookes, M & Banham, SJ, The Persians: A production of a new version of Aeschylus’s The Persians: presented in the opening programme of National Theatre Wales (NTW). It involved the convergence of the approaches of site-specific work and of attendant devised performance and physical theatre, with those of scripted drama and conventions of stage practice; the application of advanced media and technology in a landscape setting; and levels of involvement for audiences in restricted contexts, outside the constraints of public licensing, 2010, Performance, National Theatre Wales, SENTA military ranges, Sennybridge.
Pearson, MInternational Theatre Collection: Mickery Theatre.
Pearson, MJ & Brookes, MJ, Welsh Landscapes (tellings), 2009, Performance, Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff.
Pearson, MJ 2009, 'Professor Gregory's Villa' and piles of pony poop: early expeditionary remains in Antarctica. in C Holtorf & A Piccini (eds), Contemporary Archaeologies: Excavating Now. 1 edn, Peter Lang, pp. 83-94.
Pearson, M 2007, In Comes I: Performance, Memory and Landscape. University of Exeter Press.
Pearson, M & Brookes, M, Carrlands: mediated manifestations of site-specific performance in the Alchome Valley, North Linconlshire, 2007, Digital or Visual Products.
Pearson, M 2006, 'No Joke in Petticoats: British Polar Expeditions and Their Theatrical Presentations' TDR, vol 48, no. 1, pp. 44-59. DOI: 10.1162/105420404772990664
Brookes, MJ, Pearson, MJ & Thomas, E, Who are you looking at?, 2004, Performance.
Brookes, M & Pearson, MJ, There's someone in the house, 2004, Performance, Exeter.
Brookes, M, Pearson, MJ & Thomas, E, Rain Dogs, 2002, Performance, Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff.
Pearson, MJ & Shanks, M 2001, Theatre/Archaeology: Disciplinary Dialogues. Taylor & Francis.
Brookes, MJ & Pearson, MJ, Polis, 2001, Performance.
Brookes, M & Pearson, MJ, Carrying Lyn, 2001, Performance, Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff.
Ames, M & Pearson, M 2016, 'Capel: The Lights are On: A Conversation...Margaret Ames and Mike Pearson' Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, vol 21, no. 4, pp. 492-505. DOI: 10.1080/13569783.2016.1220251
Brookes, M & Pearson, M, ILIAD, 2015, Performance.
Pearson, M & Roms, HP 2014, Performing Cardiff: Six Approaches to a City and its Performance Past. in N Whybrow (ed.), Performing Cities . Springer Nature, Basingstoke, pp. 120-140.
Pearson, M 2014, The Lesson of Anatomy 1974/2014. Self-Published.
Pearson, M, The Lesson of Anatomy, 2014, Performance.
Pearson, M 2014, Mickery Theater: An Imperfect Archaeology. 1 edn, Amsterdam University Press.
Hinchcliffe, D, Calow, J, Mansfield, L & Pearson, MJ 2014, Betwixt and between: prefix, metaphor and performance. in J Calow, D Hinchcliffe & L Mansfield (eds), Speculative Strategies in Interdisciplinary Arts Practice. ICIA Books, Underwing Press, pp. 59-72.
Shanks, M & Pearson, M 2014, 'Autosuggestion: Between performance and design' Performance Research, vol 19, no. 3, pp. 101-110. DOI: 10.1080/13528165.2014.935188
Pearson, M & Roms, H 2014, Performing Cardiff: Six Approaches to a City and Its Performance Pasts. in N Whybrow (ed.), Performing Cities. Springer Nature, pp. 120-138. DOI: 10.1057/9781137455697_7
Pearson, M 2013, Theatre/archaeology – return and prospect. in A Cochrane & IA Russell (eds), Art and Archaeology: Collaborations, Conversations, Criticisms. Springer Nature, New York, pp. 199-230.
Roms, H & Pearson, M, Marking Time – a journey into Cardiff’s performance pasts, 2013, Performance, Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff.
Pearson, M 2013, Marking Time: performance, archaeology and the city. University of Exeter Press, Exeter.
Pearson, M 2013, 'One letter and 55 footnotes: the assassination of Llwyd ap Iwan by the outlaws Wilson and Evans' Parallax, vol 19, no. 4, pp. 63-73. DOI: 10.1080/13534645.2013.845400
Pearson, MJ 2013, Perfformio safle-benodol. in L Lewis & A Jones (eds), Ysgrifau ar Theatr a Pherfformio. Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru | University of Wales Press, Aberystwyth a Chaerdydd, pp. 142-158.
Pearson, MJ 2012, Haunted House: staging The Persians with the British Army. in J Tompkins & A Birch (eds), Performing Site-Specific Theatre: Politics, Place, Practice. Performance Interventions, Springer Nature, pp. 69-83.
Brookes, MJ & Pearson, MJ, Coriolan/us: A production of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus (incorporating texts from Bertolt Brecht’s Coriolan) commissioned by National Theatre Wales (NTW) in association with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) for the World Shakespeare Festival/London 2012 Cultural Olympiad., 2012, Performance, St Athan, South Wales.
Pearson, MJ 2012, Neither here nor there... let's talk about adult matters. in G Giannachi, N Kaye & M Shanks (eds), Archaeologies of Presence. Taylor & Francis, pp. 257-272.
Pearson, MJ 2012, 'Raindogs: narrating the city' Cultural Geographies, vol 19, no. 1, pp. 55-69. DOI: 10.1177/1474474011412130
Ladd, E, Pearson, M, Babot, P, Greenhalgh, B, Hassall, L & Stitt, A, Trace: Displaced: Maes e-ofn, 2011, Performance, Unknown Publisher, Eisteddfod, Genedlaethol Caerdydd.
Pearson, MJ 2011, Deserted Places, remote voices: performing landscape. in S Daniels, D DeLyser, JN Entrikin & D Richardson (eds), Envisioning Landscapes, Making Worlds : Geography and the Humanities. Taylor & Francis, pp. 280-286.