Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Performance and Cultural Industries


Dr Anna Fenemore

Director of Research, Associate Professor in Contemporary Theatre and Performance

0113 3438739

PCI 1.13

PhD, MA, BA (Hons)

Anna is Director of Research, and Associate Professor in Contemporary Theatre and Performance with teaching expertise in physical and devised performance and research interests in spectating embodiment, performance and cognition, theories of performance space/place, performance and food, and performance and death.


Artistic Director of Manchester-based Pigeon Theatre. Pigeon Theatre are a contemporary performance company specialising in experimental and interactive works that incorporate non-traditional spaces and shared intimacies between performer and audience. Pigeon have been making and touring innovative theatre since 2001. In spring 2012 the play-texts of Pigeon Theatre’s critically acclaimed show The Rehearsal (a trilogy) were published by Intellect.   I also work as a performer on solo projects and also for Plane Performance, The Chameleons Group, Fast and Dirty Theatre Collective, and collaborate with Teresa Brayshaw and Swen Steinhauser on the anateresa project.  As a performer, I have also collaborated on telematic performances with Paul Sermon and Steve Dixon.

Research Interests

  • Spectating embodiment
  • Performer bodywork training
  • Multi-sensory immersive performance
  • Performance and phenomenology
  • Theories of performance space/place
  • Performance and Death
  • Food and Performance



  • Collaborative Processes (Module Leader)
  • Cultures of Performance
  • Dissertation


  • Research Perspectives
  • Contemporary Performance Practice
  • Research Project
  • Independent Project


Director of Research and Innovation



  • Fenemore ATE (2012) The Rehearsal: Pigeon Theatre's trilogy of works on playing dead. Playtext Series. Bristol, Chicago: Intellect.

Journal articles

  • Fenemore A (2012) “What is the best advice you would give to someone about training?”, Theatre, Dance and Performance Training. 3.3: 391-392.
    DOI: 10.1080/19443927.2012.735428

  • Fenemore A (2007) “The pleasure of objectification - A spectator's guide”, PERFORM RES. 12.4: 4-13.
    DOI: 10.1080/13528160701822569

  • Fenemore A (2007) “Dialogical interaction and social participation in physical and virtual performance space”, International Journal of Performance Art and Digital Media. 3.1: 37-58.
    DOI: 10.1386/padm.3.1.37_1

  • Fenemore A (2003) “On Being Moved by Performance”, Performance Research. 8.4: 107-114.


  • Fenemore ATE (2011) “Body”, In: Popat S; Pitches J (eds.) Performance Perspectives a Critical Introdution.


  • Fenemore ATE Site and Smell: The Smell of Envy. 12//2/01/0

  • Fenemore A The Housekeeper. Mixed media 02//2/18/0

  • Fenemore A The Heist Academy. Mixed Media 04//2/31/0

  • Fenemore A The Rehearsal. Mixed media 05//2/15/0

Research Projects & Grants

Wellcome Trust Arts Award 2012-13 (part of the Wellcome Trust’s Engaging Science grants programme)  for “Site and Smell: an immersive performance of olfactory-spatial memory”.

This project is a collaboration with Pigeon Theatre (specialists in immersive performance) and Cognitive Neuroscientist Dr Colin Lever at the University of Durham.  The team will create a new immersive and interactive performance work that explores the neuroscience and psychology of spatial and olfactory memory.  A complex ‘smell-scape’ will be developed as the central performance strategy, and the performance will explore how smell links to our processes of long-term memory formation, specifically our memories of space or site.  The project will explore how some smells will be associated in the brain with certain places, as in Proust’s tea-dipped madeleine.  The work will address the importance of the hippocampus in this process, where the association between odour and place/spatial context is coded, and will examine the processes of pattern completion.

Research Centres & Groups

Audience Engagement and Experience
Bodies and Performance

External Appointments

External Examiner: University of Birmingham, M(Res) Directing

PhD & Postdoctoral Supervision

Claire Hind – Dark and Deep Play in Performance Practice (Practice-led PhD).
Jenny Lawson – Playing the Domestic Goddess:  Performance strategies in relation to popular food culture in the 21st Century (Practice-led PhD).

Emma Gee: Researching the directorial role in participatory performance with a focus on Immersive Practice.
Xristina Penna: Enactive, Embodied, Embedded, Ecological Cognition and the Reception of Scenography
Kate Fox: Stand Up and be (En)countered
Mandy Rogerson: Choreography and Semiotics

PhD Thesis

The Pigeon Project: A Study of the Potential for Embodied Praxis in Performance Spectating

A practical theatrical and philosophical investigation into modes of spectating embodiment through reference to theories of space and vision/visuality, MMU Cheshire.

Professional Practice

As Artistic Director of Pigeon Theatre direction of the following shows:

The Twice Removed (2011 – ongoing) – a solo show developed from ‘biography’ rather than ‘autobiography’.  “Last summer I decided to make a solo show.  It began badly.  I stared for long periods of time at walls not knowing what to do, and then in a moment of terror I wrote to 148 people and asked them to tell me what to do, to tell me what solo show they would like me to make.  This show is their shows…”

The Matter of Taste (2010) – as Artist-in-Residence at the the University of California, Davis (Granada Artist-in-Residence scheme),  I worked with graduate and undergraduate students across different faculties to make a food and performance event.

A Big Concept and a Very Little Detail
(2010 – ongoing) – an installation from a large-scale collaboration with academics from across different disciplines ranging from arts and humanities, to business studies, sciences, medicine, and law, each of whom was asked to define a big concept and a very little detail in relation to their research.

The Art of Conversation (2010) – a project about gendered conversation working with non-performers – women who ‘talk for a living’ (politicians, radio presenters, comediennes, hairdressers, university lecturers, counselors, call centre workers).

The Little Sleep (2009) – a live cooking show based on the literary noir genre.  “Contemporary theatre that lays bare the structures of literary fiction, live performance and cookery demonstration.”

The Rehearsal (a trilogy) (2007) – a site-specific performance set in a bar, commissioned by the Manchester International Festival, exploring the habit of rehearsal as a strategy of creativity and of understanding our mortality.  This performance aims to address how the formal structures of ‘narrative’, theatre ‘eventness’ and performer/spectator interactivity might have an affect on the physical spectating experience, whilst interrogating notions of interactivity as a tool for the political act of normativisation.

The Heist Academy (2005) – a multi-media performance set in and around a large wooden box.  This performance deconstructs the generic and masculinised paradigms of the Heist Movie and used strategies of immersive and intimate live performance with interactive filmic strategies through a number of simultaneous ‘shows’ occurring inside (live) and outside (filmed) a large wooden box.

The Housekeeper (2003) – a site-specific kitchen performance based on the choreographies of domestic labour.  The aim of this performance was to interrogate site-specificity, intimacy, interactivity, heat and proximity as performance strategies for eliciting physiological and emotional embodied spectating responses.

The Pigeon (2002) – a re-interpretation of Patrick Suskind’s novella The Pigeon.





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