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School of English and Drama

Dr Daniel Oliver, BA (Nottingham Trent), MA, PhD (Queen Mary)


Teaching Fellow



I am a performance artist and scholar. My research focuses on contemporary participatory performance and on awkwardness. My performance practice is participatory and awkward.

My own experience with dyspraxia has lead to an invested interest in neurodiversity and its place in contemporary performance practices and scholarship.

I completed my BA in Contemporary Arts at Nottingham Trent in 2003. I have been a practising Performance Artist since then. In 2005 I moved from Nottingham to London. I completed my MA in Theatre and Performance at Queen Mary in 2010 and started my PhD here straight after.

I'm on Twitter @canibedaniel

Undergraduate Teaching

I have taught on:

  • DRA248: Adaptations
  • DRA344: Practice-based Research Project

Postgraduate Teaching

I have also taught on the MA in Theatre and Performance on the following modules:

  • DRA7004: Performance LAB
  • DRA7010: Performing Mental Health


Research Interests:

  • Performance Art and Live Art
  • Negative Affects – esp. awkwardness
  • Dysfunction in Contemporary Performance and Live Art
  • Audience Participation
  • The Social Turn
  • Neurodiversity – esp. dyspraxia
  • Performance and Psychoanalysis
  • Performative writing

Recent and On-Going Research

My research investigates the efficacy of awkwardness in contemporary performance and live art. This interest is entwined with a personal investment in neurodiversity. Embracing neurodiversity means celebrating the vast range of ways of emotionally and cognitively experiencing and describing the world, and not always trying to ‘fix’ or dismiss modes of being and doing commonly understood as ‘dysfunctional’ (for example, due to autism, dyspraxia, dyslexia, aspergers and other ‘hidden’ disabilities). My on-going practice-based research (performances, workshops, Long Tables) explores this position in relation to contemporary performance and live art, and is directly related to my own experience of dyspraxia.



Book Chapter

Oliver, Daniel, ‘Getting Involved with the Neighbour’s Thing: Žižek and the Participatory Performance of Reactor (UK), in Žižek and Performance, ed. by Broderick Chow and Alex Mangold (Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), pp. 154-164

Journal Articles

Ferris, Luke and Daniel Oliver, ‘Dyspraxic Collaboration’, Contemporary Theatre Review: Interventions, Issue 27.2 (June 2017).

Oliver, Daniel, ‘Weird Seance Extras (Revisited)’, Performance Research, 21:3 (2016), 122-123, DOI: 10.1080/13528165.2016.1176744

Oliver, Daniel, ‘Live Art and Neurodiversity: A Live Art Development Agency Study Room Guide’ (Forthcoming – commissioned by LADA)

Gerard, Mira., Mayberry, Tommy., Merlin, Ilya., Oliver, Daniel, ‘Off-Kilter Affects and Sublime Split-Subjects: A Group Self-Interview by some Žižekian Performers’, International Journal of Žižek Studies, Vol. 9, No. 1

Oliver, Daniel, ‘“You’re Funnier When You’re Angry”: Affirmation, Responsibility and Commitment in David Hoyle’s Live Performance Practice’, Performance Research, 19 (2014), 109–15

Oliver, Daniel, ‘Post-Relational Paranoid Play in Reactor’s Big Lizard’s Big Idea Project’, Platform 7.2 (Autumn 2013) <>

Oliver, Daniel, ‘Car Crashes, The Social Turn, and Glorious Glitches in David Hoyle’s Performances’, Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies 8.3 (August 2012) <>

Public Engagement

I have hosted a series of public discussions around neurodiversity and performance using Lois Weaver’s ‘Long Table’ format. These were supported by Arts Council England. They have occurred at Queen Mary, as part of Peopling the Palace; the Royal College of Art, London; Lakeside Theatre, Essex University and Reactor Halls, Primary, Nottingham; Live Art Bistro, Leeds.

I have given various public performative lecture on awkwardness, participatory performance and neurodiversity. These have occurred at the Awkward Bastards 2 conference in Birmingham (available here), Normal? – Festival of the Brain in Folkestone, and as part of the Bad Vibes Club at Open School East, London (available here).



I have performed my own solo and collaborative performance art projects across the UK and overseas since 2003, always with a focus on dysfunction, audience participation and DIY aesthetics. My current performance projects include Weird Séance (supported by Arts Council England) – a series of raucous, roughly layered participatory performances about participatory performance that are rejigged, added to, undone and perverted for each new site and context. It has been performed at at the Barbican as part of the SPILL Showcase 2015, Steakhouse Live, Toynbee Studio; Duckie, Royal Vauxhall Tavern, London; Colchester Art Centre; Norwich Art Centre; Reactor Halls, Primary, Nottingham; Live Art Bistro, Leeds; Lakeside Theatre, Essex University; Forest Fringe, Edinburgh; International Zizek Studies Conference, Cincinnati; Peopling the Palace, Queen Mary University of London, The Poetry Library, Royal Festival Hall, London; Whitstable Biennale; Lewisham Arthouse and the Latitude Festival. I am currently developing a new performance project called Chiperalataartparty that explores the idea of dyspraxic time-travel and a post-apocalyptic neurodivergent utopia.

Other performance-related projects include Awkwoods, a three-day immersive workshop for artists interested in exploring awkwardness. We spend the entire time living and working together in a room pretending that we are in the woods whilst trying to embrace and sustain awkwardness rather than overcoming or diluting it. This was initially a DIY project supported by the  Live Art Development Agency that took place in London. It was subsequently supported by Arts Council England and took place at Live Art Bistro in Leeds and Reactor Halls, Primary in Nottingham. I am currently working on a version specifically for dyspraxic artists and performers.