School of English and Drama

Dr Eirini Kartsaki, BA (Aristotle's University, Greece), MA, PhD (QMUL)


Teaching Fellow in Drama and Performance Studies



I studied Theatre at undergraduate level in Greece, Artistotle’s University, Fine Art Department. I undertook my MA and PhD in Performance at QM while at the same time performing as a solo practitioner or in collaboration with others in London and beyond. My PhD examines repetition in contemporary performance and my practice interrogates notions of desire, promiscuity and the body. I worked at the University of Bedfordshire and Anglia Ruskin University before joining Queen Mary as a Teaching Fellow in 2015.


I have a keen interest in transformative pedagogy that focuses on the teacher’s political, ethical and professional responsibility towards the students. I work with pedagogic structures that enable students to better understand themselves, and the world around them. I use performance to open a discussion around agency, identity, cultural discourses and practices. 

Undergraduate Teaching

I have taught on:

  • DRA117: Practices
  • DRA259: Cultural Politics and Performance
  • DRA261: London Performance Now
  • DRA344: Practice-based Research Project


Research Interests:

  • Contemporary performance and Live Art
  • Repetition in performance, art and writing
  • Notions of desire and promiscuity
  • Feminist performance practice
  • Autobiography and Performance Writing
  • Solo work

Recent and On-Going Research

My research comprises of four themes around contemporary performance and feminist practice. I have written extensively on repetition, desire and pleasure in performance and I am now embarking on a new project around feminist practices from the 1970s till the present. I draw on my expertise in desire to consider sexuality and identity politics in work by female artists both in performance and visual culture.

Theme One: Repetition in Art and Performance

This theme has emerged from my doctoral thesis and concerns critical and historical considerations of repetition in art and performance. My research has resulted in a monograph (Palgrave, published July 2017), an edited interdisciplinary book (Intellect, 2016), a co-edited issue of Performance Research (2015), three articles and a chapter in a book. These will also be significant output for REF2021. My research explores the use of repetition in movement, speech and structure. It proposes that experiences of repetition are unending and pose questions about difficult pleasures. I ask: What is it in performances of repetition that persuades us to return to them again and again? How might we unpack their complexities and come to terms with their demands upon us? I answer these questions by encountering a number of case studies spanning avant-garde practices (Gertrude Stein and Samuel Beckett), dance-theatre (Pina Bausch and Rosas), contemporary performance practice (Lone Twin Theatre) and contemporary writing (Sophie Calle).   

Theme Two: Feminist Performance and Visual Culture

I have been interested in the historical avant-garde and more specifically the work of Gertrude Stein and the ways I which it refuses patriarchal structures of making meaning and creates a specific language to discuss experience. In my current research project, I look at feminist avant-garde practices of the 1970s and more specifically works by Renate Bertlmann, Hannah Wilke, Yayoi Kusama and Louise Bourgeois. I extend the considerations of these artists to the present to investigate how the use of protrusions in visual culture and performance practice (Kira O’Reilly and Julia Bardsley for example) are working towards a feminist discourse that opens a dialogue around experiences of female sexuality in contemporary culture. I intend to submit a full-length article for peer review at Signs: Women in Culture (July 2017) and develop this into a book proposal to be submitted to Palgrave Macmillan in January 2018. I have already had a provisional meeting with Palgrave about the book.

Theme Three: Desire, Pleasure, Excess

This theme has emerged from a consideration of spectatorship and the possible pleasures that performance promises. I am interested in processes of desiring which never end and the ways in which performance seems to perpetuate this process. An unfulfilled promise sits on the centre of my consideration of desire and I draw on Lacan to think about the shape of desire. To date, this research has resulted in an article in Performance Research: On Repetition which discusses the circular shape of pleasure in dance-theatre and a book chapter in my interdisciplinary edited collection On Repetition: Writing, Performance and Art, which uses Samuel Beckett and art historian T.J. Clark to examine the infinite endings and unfinished finitudes of repetition. In my work, I think about the experience of theatre as affective sensation and draw on psychoanalysis, semiotics and performance studies to argue that what we ultimately desire is desire itself.


Theme Four: Performance Writing

The theme stems from my passion for writing; writing in my research is ‘on’ and ‘about’ performance and opens a productive dialogue with the processes of making and thinking. I am invested in experiences of reading as performance. I am committed to rigorous theory, which is made personal. I use affective writing to consider what performance does to us and to one’s body. My writing stems from the embodied experience of performance and does not try to re-create it, but rather to point at other experiences that seem useful in accounting for certain modes of spectatorship.




2017 Repetition in Performance: Returns and Invisible Forces, Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.

Edited Book

2016 On Repetition: Writing, Performance and Art, Bristol: Intellect, 2016

Articles in peer-reviewed journals

2015 Kartsaki, E., ‘Circular Paths of Pleasure in Berrettini’s iFeel2’ in Performance Research: On Repetition, vol. 20, issue 5,

2014 Kartsaki, E. and Zerihan, R., ‘Slots, slaps, sluts and other cheap thrills: promiscuity, ethics and one-to-one performance’ in Performing Ethos, One-to-one Encounters: Desire, Reciprocity and Ethics, Special issue, Intellect,

2012 Kartsaki, E., ‘Repeat Repeat: Returns of Performance in the Work of Lone Twin Theatre’, in Choreographic Practices, vol. 3, issue 1, ed. by Vida Midgelow and Jane Bacon, Intellect,

2013 Kartsaki, E., ‘La Ribot’s Panoramix: Revealing and Concealing Exposures’, Activate E-journal, Volume 2, Issue 2, Roehampton University,

2009 Kartsaki, E., ‘Writing and re-writing: Performance Retuns, Activate E-journal, vol. 1, issue 1, Roehampton University,    

Chapters in peer-reviewed books

2015 Kartsaki, E., ‘Farewell to Farewell: impossible endings and unfinished finitudes’, in Kartsaki, E, ed. On Repetition: Art, Writing and Performance, Intellect Books, Bristol, forthcoming

2013 Kartsaki, E., ‘Trilogy, Lone Twin Theatre’ in Reverberations: Britishness, Aesthetics and Small-Scale Theatres, ed. by Patrick Duggan and Victor Ukaegbu, Intellect.


2015 Kartsaki, E. and Schmidt, T. eds. Performance Research: On Repetition, vol. 20, issue 5,

2012 Kartsaki, E., Lobel, B. and Zerihan, R., eds., Performing Ethos, One-to-one Encounters: Desire, Reciprocity and Ethics, Special issue, Intellect. Editorial: ‘Generous Gestures and Frustrated Acts: Ethics in One-to-One Performance’,


2014 Kartsaki, E., ‘Mis-appropriation and re-appropriation. An Interview with Oreet Ashery’ in Performing Adaptations, Intellect.


2014 Kartsaki, E., Review of Zerihan, R. and Chatzichristodoulou, M., 2012, Intimacy Across Visceral and Digital Performance, Palgrave Macmillan in Contemporary Theatre Review, 


2017 Herpes, Tender Loin#7, Steakhouse Live, curated by Katy Bird and Aaron Wright, Artsadmin Café

2017 Herpes, Coocoolili Presents, Jamboree, Cable Street Studios, London

2017 How to Keep our Friends from Drowning, with Joe Kelleher, Chisenhale Dance Space, London

2016 Over You by Tante&Tante Be Festival, Birmingham

2016 Duet with Emma Bennett, I’m With You, Barbican Centre

2016 Quite the best news in some considerable time by Nick Ridout and Lindsay Goss, Queen Mary University of London

2015 Over You by Tante und Tante, Sound Acts, Athens International Showcase

2015 Over You by Tante und Tante, Chisenhale Dance Space, London

2015 No Pillow Talk, CRASSH University of Cambridge

2014 How to be a fig, Sadler’s Wells, Lilian Baylis Studio, London

2014 How to be a fig, Cambridge Junction, Cambridge

2014 My Horny Clown, Cruising for Art, Vogue Fabrics, London

2014 My Horny Clown, Night Watch, Cambridge Junction

2014 No Pillow Talk, Thomas Hirshhorn, Eternal Flame, Palais de Tokyo, Paris

2014 No Pillow Talk, Kathy Acker Study Day, Roehampton University, London

2014 No Pillow Talk, ]Performance Space[ , London

2012-2013 Toothache Duets, durational online project in collaboration with Louise Douse

2013 I’ve slept with twenty men, two chickens and it’s only 8 o’ clock, Chisenhale Dance Theatre, London

2013 I’ve slept with twenty men, two chickens and it’s only 8 o’ clock, Cambridge Junction

2012 Lola and Stephen, Episode 2, a collaboration with Owen G. Parry, Hayward Gallery

2011 Lola and Stephen, Episode 1, a collaboration with Owen G. Parry, I’m With You, Vogue Fabrics

2011 Party for Freedom, in collaboration with Naked as a Jaybird and Oreet Ashery

2010 At Dusk, I Am Yours, Doll Gallery Space, Lausanne, Switzerland

2010 Pussy Pocket, Soho Theatre, Scratch Interact, London

2010 Peep Whole, Arcola Theatre, Live Art Speed Date, London

2009 Never but All Alone, Cruising for Art by Brian Lobel, V&A Museum

2009 Down Below, The Rag Factory, London

2008 Spit Spat Spat, Stoke Newington International Airport, London

2008 Cock Tales and Ballads, East End Collaborations, Arnolfini, Bristol and Camden People’s Theatre

2008 Pommes et Parapluies, Biennale d’art contemporain de Lyon, France