DR Henry Bell


I am an academic and practitioner specialising in Applied Theatre, Actor Training, Creative Writing, Theatre-in-the-Round, Early Modern Drama, Theatre and Phenomenology and Creative Industries Employability pedagogy. I am an advocate of practice as research and like to bring together my academic training with my professional experience as a director and applied theatre practitioner.


I started at Sheffield Hallam in September 2016 after nearly a decade combining professional theatre directing and applied theatre practice alongside practice-as-research and higher education teaching.

In terms of theatre directing, I was the Associate Director at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough between 2013 and 2016, the Education, Community and Literary Director at the Orange Tree Theatre, London between 2009 and 2013 as well working as a freelancer on various productions across the UK.


In these roles, I directed over twenty professional productions ranging from Shakespearean comedy to Victorian Farce to new writing addressing issues of youth isolation. In 2011 I was nominated and short listed for the Off West End Award for Best Director for a production of Three Farces at the Orange Tree. As well as directing plays I was in charge of the Literary Departments at both theatres and have developed and directed dozens of new plays by both established and emerging voices. At the Orange Tree Theatre I programmed, wrote and led the community and education programme (with a focus on practical explorations of Shakespeare for young people) over a five year period I worked with approximately 55,000 young people and community members across London. I have also delivered outreach programmes for the Almeida, Stephen Joseph Theatre and JASSPA youth theatre.

Early in my career I worked as an assistant director at the Orange Tree Theatre to Sam Walters, Caroline Smith and Christopher Geelen on a season of Edwardian plays, assistant director to Dominic Dromgoole, Rebecca Gatward and Charlotte Westenra on both Shakespearean and contemporary productions at Shakespeare's Globe and assistant director to Sam West for the 2008 production of Waste at the Almeida.

Parallel to this professional theatre work, I also wrote and taught modules in Elizabethan and Jacobean Theatre Contexts at University of Essex (East 15), Applied Theatre (St Mary's Twickenham) and Theatre Directing (Hull University).

Having received a university scholarship in 2012, I completed my PhD at Hull University in 2016 which was a practise-based investigation into how young people respond to Shakespeare in performance. As well as holding a doctorate from Hull, I also took a BA degree in Drama there before completed a MA in Staging Shakespeare at Exeter University.


Sheffield Hallam University offers BA (hons), BA top-up (one year), MA and PhD opportunities in Acting & Performance. 


Each year staff and students take part in exciting performance led research projects and professional theatre productions. 


Find out more about our final year students and learn about the course from our recent graduates. 

Would you like to study

Acting & Performance?

100% overall student satisfaction
- National Student Survey 2018 & 2019
  • White Instagram Icon
  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon


The Department of Humanities

The School of Social Sciences & Arts

Sheffield Hallam University

Floor 11

Owen Building

Howard Street


S1 1WB


Arundel Gate


S1 2LQ

SHU White Logo.png

© 2020 Sheffield Hallam University