DR. JOSEPH MERCIER

Lecturer in Creative & Contextual Studies

PhD in Dance, Performance and Queer Studies (Practice Based) Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

MA Advanced Theatre Practice (Directing), Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

BFA Theatre with a Concentration in Playwriting

Role and responsibilities:

  • Choreography and composition
  • Creative practice and interdisciplinary making
  • Dramaturgy
  • Improvisation
  • Practice as research
  • Critical theory

My dance practice is rooted in a love of thinking through the body.   My study of choreographic and dramaturgy processes is animated by my interests in performance politics and queer subcultures.  My teaching and research practice is playfully rigorous and rigorously playful.

Career history

Originally from Canada, Joseph is a choreographer and performance-maker working between and across disciplines, primarily in dance, live art and contemporary theatre.  He works as both an independent artist and as co-director of performance company PanicLab.

His work has been supported and commissioned by: Dance City, The Place, Homotopia, The Unity Theatre, The Albany, Cambridge Junction, Soho Theatre, MDI, Yorkshire Dance, GLYPT, Barbican Plymouth, Chisenhale Dance Space, Live Art Bistro Fierce Festival.  In 2016 PanicLab’s show, ‘Theseus Beefcake’ was awarded best British production at BE Festival Birmingham.  Joseph is currently working on a new collaboration with choreographer and dance dramaturg, Beth Cassani.

Joseph has a developed practice as a dramaturg, movement director and mentor and has worked with artists such as Rachel Young, Priya Mistry, Will Dickie and Milk Presents.

Joseph trained in classical ballet at the school of Alberta Ballet and Boston Ballet.   He trained in theatre at Concordia University, Montreal and Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.  His practice based PhD, entitled ‘Fucking with Ballet: Performing Queer Subjectivities’, challenged ballet cultures and politics through a queer perspective.   Joseph has a developed scholarly research practice around queer studies, choreographic practices and performance politics.

Joseph was a Senior Lecturer in Dance at Leeds Beckett University.  Prior to that he taught at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama on the MA Movement Directing and Teaching, MA Advanced Theatre Practice.

Professional Activity & Research Interests

2018, Speaker at ‘Performing Gender Week,’ Yorkshire Dance

2018, Questioning the Contemporary Research Salon with Beth Cassani, Martin Hargreaves and Frauke Requardt, Leeds Beckett University

2018, Convenor, Leeds Beckett University, Performance Research Happy Hour, Leeds Beckett Univerrsity/Live Art Bistro

2017, Research Residency and Seminar with Prof. Emilyn Claid, Leeds Beckett University

2016, Prologue Research Residency with Mark Ravenhill, Arts Admin

Key Publications, Papers and Conferences

Forthcoming: Mercier, J and Arcade, P, ‘Fag, Hag, Drag: Penny Arcade’s Archive of Otherness,’ in Edwards, M. and Farrier, S. eds, On Drag, Vo. 2, Bloomsbury: London.

Mercier, J., Klieman, G., and O’Brien, M., (2011) ‘Threesome’, in Dance Theatre Journal, 24, 4.

Conference and Research Presentations:

  • Queer Shifts: On Violence, RCSSD
  • Applied Theatre Conference, RCSSD
  • London Theatre Seminar
  • Performing Queer Subjectivities, Queen’s University Belfast
  • Law and Sexuality, University of Westminster
  • Postgraduate conferences, RCSSD

Performance Artefacts

2018, Faun (working title), work in progress collaboration with Beth Cassani

2017, Fox and the Hound, PanicLab, co-director and performer, in association with Live Art Bistro

2016, Theseus Beefcake, PanicLab with Jordan Tannahill, commissioned by The Albany, Homotopia

2016, Swan Lake II: Dark Waters, PanicLab

2015 ,R.I.O.T., PanicLab, commissioned by Dance City, in association with Cambridge Junction, MDI, Unity Theatre.

2013 Rite of Spring, PanicLab, commissioned by Birthday Rites at Chisenhale Dance Space