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Paul Elsam

01642 34-
Job title:
Senior Lecturer in Performance for Live & Recorded Media
School of Computing, Media & the Arts
Computing, Media & the Arts research

About Paul Elsam

Paul Elsam

Paul Elsam
Senior Lecturer in Performance for Live & Recorded Media, School of Computing, Media & the Arts
T: 01642 34-
Research: Computing, Media & the Arts research

Dr Paul Elsam trained as an actor at Manchester Polytechnic School of Theatre, and has worked widely as a performer in theatre, radio, film and television, including in BAFTA and Olivier-nominated productions on stage and screen. He has directed professionally with UK touring group ImpAct, and has also directed a range of public student productions, often staged ‘in the round’.

Alongside his work at the University, Paul has been tutor in Acting Technique on the Drama UK-accredited degree and Master's in Acting at ALRA North, and an invited guest practitioner / academic at institutions including SCAD in the United States. In September 2013 Paul acted as script dramaturg and production consultant on the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW) production of Alan Ayckbourn's 'Private Fears in Public Places', directed by Dr. Paul Castagno. In April 2014 he returned as a Visiting Artist at the National Student Drama Festival.

Research interests

Paul is especially interested in historiographical issues around post-war theatre and performance, including practitioners and groups whose work does not form a central part of the traditional post-war narrative of British theatre. This interest encompasses a range of areas of change including the use of theatre space, the actor / audience relationship, and the promotion of new writing.

Paul was a member of the Steering Committee for the EPSRC-funded Creative Speech Technology network ('CreST') based at the University of York; he contributed to the Network’s ARTiculate Roadshows during 2012-13. Paul has presented research papers at a variety of events and venues, including the universities of Leeds and Hull, the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, the British Library, and the Society for Theatre Research. During 2014 he presented conference papers at the University of Surrey and at Paris-Sorbonne University.

During 2015 Paul is continuing to develop research interests in both the use of emotion within actor training, and in theatre historiography. The latter subject will include focus on the work of Jean Newlove, Laban expert and theatre innovator, who recently visited Middlesbrough as a guest of Teesside University.

Enterprise interests

Paul has an ongoing interest in using drama as a means to support and enhance communication skills within both business and social contexts. He has for many years freelanced as a facilitator working variously with senior managers within a range of organisations, with looked-after children and care leavers, and with arts workers preparing to engage with young people.


Alongside reviews and academic articles (such as the 2011 article "Harold Pinter’s ‘The Birthday Party’: the ‘lost’ second production" in Intellect's "Studies in Theatre and Performance"), Paul is author of the bestselling Methuen handbook Acting Characters (2006 and 2011), which guides actors towards greater physical and vocal versatility.The book features Forewords from Sir Ben Kingsley and Sir Alan Ayckbourn, and is available in Russian translation.

In October 2013 Bloomsbury Academic published Paul's monograph "Stephen Joseph - Theatre Pioneer and Provocateur". In 2014 the book was also published in paperback. Reviews described the text as an 'informative study of the man and artist [which] fills a void in the scholarship on post-WW II British fringe theater' (Prof. J. Fisher in CHOICE, USA), and as the work 'of a theatre historian with a keen dramaturgical sense of presenting his subject ... [and] a fine template for South African research scholars' (Prof. Sarah Roberts, South African Theatre Journal).

View Paul Elsam's Publications on TeesRep