Dr Jez Colclough, PhD

  • Senior Lecturer, Centre for Arts & Participation Programme Leader for BA (Hons.) Theatre and Performance
  • Institute of the Arts
  • Performing Arts
Dr Jez Colclough, PhD

Biography

My undergraduate degree is in English and Drama for which I was awarded a first-class degree with honours from Lancaster University in 1995.  On this degree I took core English modules in Victorian Writing, Renaissance Writing, Writing 1880-1940 and Contemporary Writing. I also took specialist English modules in the Skills and Practice of Creative Writing.  For the Drama elements of the degree I chose to take modules exploring the theoretical and practical aspects of directing and producing performances (including units in Text & Performance, Popular Theatre and Theatre and Performance).

Following graduation, I worked for 12 months as a Youth and Community Education Worker for Seabridge Community Education Centre in Staffordshire where I was employed as a Workshop Leader and a Director in their Youth Theatre.

During the final year of my undergraduate studies and in the year following graduation I began to have my poems published in poetry journals and so I chose to apply for and accepted a place on the MA in Creative Writing at Bretton Hall.  My Master’s degree was examined via the production of a substantial portfolio of creative writing supported by critical essays examining the work of other writers and the role of the writer as researcher.  For my portfolio I chose to focus on scriptwriting and poetry.  My critical writing concentrated on concepts of truthfulness and narrative authority in the poetry of Carol Anne Duffy and explored the role of the writer as an autobiographical researcher.

Whilst studying for my MA at Bretton Hall a selection of my poems was published by Fighting Cock Press as part of an anthology of new poetry entitled Ho! Rumplestiltskin (1998). I was also placed third in the Northern New Writing Awards for Poetry (1997) and was invited to be the assistant editor of the Pennine Platform.

In 1998 I applied for and was awarded a student bursary from the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at St. Martin’s College, Lancaster to study for a practice-based PhD.  As part of this bursary I began teaching on a part-time basis on both the undergraduate Drama and Creative Writing degrees at St. Martin’s.

In my PhD, Sculpting in Ice: Writing for the Postmodern Stage, I argue that from within a postmodern framework the ‘realist narrative mode’ finds its position as the narratological form of choice for communicating historical and biographical ‘truth’ under question. Furthermore, as the formal distinctions between ‘fictional’ and ‘factual’ writing become less clear, I propose that the writer’s approach to their craft must also be redefined. Under such conditions I argue that each individual text defines and legitimises its own particular terms of reference and narrative form. The act of writing within a postmodern framework, therefore, is not only a craft, but also a philosophical activity and as such requires the writer to enter the world of theoretical fiction.

 

In 2003 I was appointed as a lecturer on the Drama degree at St. Martin’s on a full-time, permanent basis.

Before relocating to Brampton Road on a full-time basis in 2018, I taught for 20 years on the BA (Hons.) Drama degree in Lancaster.  On the Drama degree in Lancaster I taught on pathways in; Technical Theatre, Production, Devising, Acting and Applied Drama.  I was the module leader, for the Technical Theatre modules, I taught on the devising modules and I supervised and directed production work (devised and scripted). Final year productions on this degree were toured into a professional theatre space (The Dukes, Theatre Lancaster). I was also the Module Leader on the Acting Skills and Directing modules.  I was also the Module Leader on the Scriptwritting modules for the Creative Writing degree.

Whilst teaching full time on the Drama degree in Lancaster between 2003 and 2018, I supervised 17 full length public productions 11 of which were rehearsed on campus but toured into a professional venue (The Dukes Theatre in Lancaster). In addition to these supervisions I also directed 10 full-length, public performances where I was acting as the director of the production in addition to performing the role of module leader and project supervisor.

During my time on the Lancaster campus I also set up a graduate theatre company which allowed me to work with actors outside of the taught degree.  This company allowed me to pursue a directing repertoire more aligned to my research interests and also gave young graduate actors the opportunity to gain more public performance experience. Under the banner of my graduate theatre company, I directed a further 14 full-length public performances and one short film.

Since moving full time to Brampton Road I have taught extensively across the BA Acting, BA Musical Theatre and the BA Performing Arts degrees. I have taught shared theory modules across the Acting, Dance and Musical Theatre programmes, as well as self-contained theory modules on the Performing Arts programme. I have taught practical modules on the Acting, Musical Theatre, and Performing Arts degrees and supervised productions on the Acting and Performing Arts degrees.  I have also taught on and supervised work for the MA in Directing, and the BA in Creative Writing, sat as the subject specialist on a PhD upgrade panel and worked a member of a PhD supervisory team.

Over the course of my career I have also become increasingly interested in the documentation of performance work through photography and I have been documenting my work and the work of my colleagues for past 16 years. In December 2015 and January 2016 this work was exhibited publicly in a photography exhibition entitled Under the Lights, An Exhibition of Stage Photography, which was hosted in the gallery space at the Dukes Theatre in Lancaster. 

Rehearsal photos from my 2005 production of Anthony Neilson’s Stitching have also been published in M’Hemmx Bzonn Siparju a book of theatre criticism published by the Malta Drama Centre in 2012.

Qualifications and memberships

PhD Sculpting in Ice: Writing for the Postmodern Stage, Lancaster University, St. Martin’s College.
MA Creative Writing, University of Leeds, Bretton Hall College.
BA (Hons.) English with Drama. Lancaster University, St. Martin’s College.

Institute Representative to the Standing Conference of University Drama Departments.

Academic Staff Representative to Academic Board for the Institute of Arts. 2020-2023

 

Academic and research interests

Writing, Devising and Directing for the Stage

‘In-Yer-Face’ Theatre, Actor Training

Performing Naturalism and Psychological Realism

Meisner Technique & Practical Aesthetics

Postmodern Narratology and the Stage

Historiographic Metafiction and the Stage

Documenting Performance & Stage Photography

Narrative Psychology & Identity

Fatherhood & Masculinity

 

Publications

  • Jan 2022 Wrote Party, Short Film for Cumbria Police
  • May 2020 Wrote & Directed Lockdown, Short Film / Monologue.
  • May 2019 Directed Mike Bartlett’s Contractions, The Stanwix Theatre, Carlisle
  • May 2018 Directed Martin Crimp’s Attempts on Her Life, The Stanwix Theatre, Carlisle
  • May 2017 Directed Peter Morris’ The Age of Consent, The Stanwix Theatre, Carlisle
  • March 2018 Directed Mike Bartlett’s Contractions, The Black Box Studio Theatre, Lancaster / Morecambe Fringe Festival & Manchester Fringe Festival.
  • March 2016 Directed Mike Bartlett’s Cock, The Black Box Studio Theatre, Lancaster.
  • April 2015 Directed David Harrower’s Blackbird, The Black Box Studio Theatre, Lancaster.
  • December 2015 - January 2016 Under the Lights, An Exhibition of Stage Photography, The Dukes Gallery, Lancaster.

Recent external roles

External Examiner:  The Arden School of Theatre, Manchester (Sheffield Hallam University) 2019-2023