Dr Caroline Wake

Fields of Research (FoR)

Performing Arts and Creative Writing, Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, Performance and Installation Art, Migration, Migrant Cultural Studies

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Caroline Wake is Senior Lecturer in Theatre and Performance. Her research focuses on the relationship between theatre and history: how theatre responds to and represents history and, conversely, how theatre’s own history is archived and recounted, especially in Australia. More often than not, she writes about artists, genres, and organisations that have typically been excluded from Australian theatre history. For over a decade, she has...view more

Caroline Wake is Senior Lecturer in Theatre and Performance. Her research focuses on the relationship between theatre and history: how theatre responds to and represents history and, conversely, how theatre’s own history is archived and recounted, especially in Australia. More often than not, she writes about artists, genres, and organisations that have typically been excluded from Australian theatre history. For over a decade, she has published on the representation, participation, and self-determination of artists with refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds. She has also written extensively about experimental autobiography, oral history, and documentary theatre as well as performance art. Recently, she has been researching the history of Performance Space, a Sydney-based organisation that has been at the forefront of contemporary art since the early 1980s.

This research has been published in the edited book Visions and Revisions: Performance, Memory, Trauma (Museum Tusculanum Press, 2013, with Bryoni Trezise), a special issue on “Envisioning Asylum/Engendering Crisis” for Research in Drama Education (2018, with Emma Cox), and articles in Theatre Research International, Text & Performance Quarterly and other leading journals. Her first monograph is forthcoming. Non-traditional research outcomes include producing a large dataset for AusStage, the national performing arts database; working with the UNSW Library, National Library of Australia, and RealTime arts magazine to digitise RealTime's back catalogue; and honouring that same publication in a durational performance. Caroline has also served as a Board Member of Performance Studies international, the discipline’s peak body; Editor of Performance Paradigm, an open-access, peer-reviewed journal devoted to contemporary theatre, performance and visual art in the Asia-Pacific; and Associate Editor of Performance Research.

Beyond the university, Caroline is passionate participant in, and advocate for, the arts and cultural sector. Her research projects often involve collaborations with industry: three of her four Australian Research Council grants involve working with organisations like the National Institute of Dramatic Art, Performing Arts Heritage Network, Sydney Theatre Company, and the Arts Centre Melbourne. She has served on the Board of PACT Centre for Emerging Artists since 2017, and as Chair since 2019. In 2015, she wrote the UNSW submission to, and then appeared in person at, the Senate Inquiry into the Impact of the 2014 and 2015 Commonwealth Budget on the Arts. The submission was cited in the final report. She is also a long-time theatre reviewer, having worked as a writer and online producer for RealTime arts magazine for over a decade. She now reviews for The Conversation

Caroline welcomes supervisions in any of the above areas or contemporary theatre and performance more broadly.

My Grants

Since 2015, Caroline has secured over $1.4 million in grant funding.

External Grants

2018-22. Australian Research Council Linkage Project. iDesign: Reformulating Set Design Aesthetics via a Dialogical Model of Interactivity. CIs: Prof Dennis Del Favero, Prof, Maurice Pagnucco, Dr Caroline Wake, Dr Susanne Thurow, Prof, Dr Lawrence Wallen; Prof Maria Malvina Borgherini, Mr Kip Williams, Mr Michael Scott-Mitchell. ($542,916)

2017. Australian Research Council Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities. AusStage Phase 6: Researching Australian Live Performance: Venues, Visualisation, and Internationalisation. CIs: Prof Julian Meyrick, Prof Joanne Tompkins, Prof Rachel Fensham, A/Prof Maryrose Casey, Dr Glenn D'Cruz, Dr Gillian Arrighi, Dr Jonathan Marshall, Prof John O'Toole, Dr Bree Hadley, A/Prof Ian Maxwell, Dr Caroline Wake, Prof Peta Tait, Dr Margaret Hamilton, Ms Janine Barrand. ($465,000)

2016-18. Australian Research Council Discovery Project. Power and Performance: Revaluing Theatre in the 21st CenturyCIs: Prof Helena Grehan, Prof Edward Scheer, Dr Eddie Paterson, Dr Caroline Wake. PIs: Prof Peter Eckersall, Prof Janelle Reinelt. ($137,455)

2015-17. Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) Fellowship 2015. Restoring the Contemporary: Remembering Live Art at The Performance Space. CI: Dr Caroline Wake ($327,849)


Internal Grants

2020. UNSW Transitional Fellowship ($33,680)

2018. UNSW Research Infrastructure Scheme. 3D Virtual Prototyping System. CIs: Prof Dennis Del Favero (iCinema, EPICentre, Art & Design), A/Prof Tomaz Bednarz (EPICentre, Art & Design), Dr Stephen Loo (Art & Design), Dr Grant Stevens (Art & Design), Dr Caroline Lenette (Arts & Social Sciences), Dr Caroline Wake (Arts & Social Sciences), Dr Steven Most (Arts & Social Sciences), A/Prof Hoon Han (Built Environment), Prof Andreas Ortmann (Business), A/Prof Vinayak Dixit (rCITI, Engineering), Prof Maurice Pagnucco (iCinema, Engineering), Prof Claude Sammut (iCinema, Engineering), Prof Travis Waller (rCITI, Engineering), Dr Carol Oliver (Science), Prof Martin Van Kranendonk (Science). ($126,888)

2012-14. UNSW Centre for Modernism Studies in Australia Postdoctoral Research Fellow. The Accidenting of Aesthetics. CI: Dr Caroline Wake ($242,848)

My Qualifications

BA(Hons) MEd (Higher Education) PhD (UNSW)

My Awards

Caroline's research has been recognised via the following nominations and awards:

2019. Nominated, with Emma Cox, for the Theatre and Performance Research Association's (TaPRA) Research Prize for Editing (Essay Collections and Special Issues)

2014. Winner of the Australasian Drama Studies Association's Marlis Thiersch Prize for excellence in English-language articles anywhere in the world in the broad field of drama, theatre and performance studies. The article was "Between Repetition and Oblivion: Performance, Testimony, and Ontology in the Refugee Determination Process." Text & Performance Quarterly 33.4 (2013): 326-343 and is available here. The judges' comments are available here.

2006. Winner of the Australasian Drama Studies Association's Veronica Kelly Prize for Best Postgraduate Paper at an ADSA conference. The paper was "Neither Here Nor There: The Laramie Project in Australia."

My Research Supervision

Supervision keywords

Currently supervising

Current PhD

  • Anita Hallewas, Theatre in Refugee Camps: In Search of Sustainable and Ethical Practice (secondary with Prof Michael Balfour)
  • Ruth Horsfall, Stateless Play: Impact of Theatre Participation on Young Women with Refugee Backgrounds (joint with A/Prof Caroline Lenette)
  • Nicola Joseph, The Politics of Listening, Race and Australian Media (joint with A/Prof Tanja Dreher)
  • Luke Robinson, The Disappearing Faces of 1940s Hollywood Gothic Cinema (secondary with Dr Jodi Brooks)
  • Mitchell Whitehead, The Politics and Aesthetics of Performative Interrogations into Australian Colonial and National Discourses (joint with Dr Jonathan Bollen)


Current Honours

  • Jo Bradley, Women Artistic Directors in Australia, 2000-2020 (theatre and performance, thesis)


Completed Honours

  • 2018. Kelly-Ann Standley, Frizz and Shades: Frizzy and the Performativity of Racial Ambivalence Online, On Stage, and In Life (theatre and performance, practice-based)
  • 2017. Naomi Hamer, Sites of (Con)tension: High Vis Activism in Mandatory/Monument (theatre and performance, practice-based)
  • 2017. Alicia Dulnuan-Demou, What Could Go Wrong? Politics, Ethics, and Participation in They Call It Nutbush (theatre and performance, practice-based)
  • 2016. Mitchell Whitehead, Male Actions, Tackle Bag: Using Performance Art to Critique the Quotidian Performance of Masculinity (theatre and performance, practice-based)
  • 2015. Riana Tatana, "Monday's Child Is Fair of Face": Performing the Fluidity of Aboriginality in Contemporary Performance (with Dr Bryoni Trezise, theatre and performance, practice-based)
  • 2013. Giorgia Gakas, Remediating Video Art Online: Extraction, Immobilisation, Reunification, and Augmentation (media studies, thesis)
  • 2013. Alexandra Potter, "I Will Not Be Lectured": How Julia Gillard's "Misogyny Speech" Changed the Relationship Between the Media and Audience (media studies, thesis)

My Engagement

Board Member
PSi (Performance Studies international) Awards Officer (2016-)
PACT Centre for Emerging Artists (Chair 2019-, Member 2017-18)

ADSA (Australasian Association for Theatre, Drama, and Performance Studies)
ASTR (American Society for Theater Research)
ATHE (Association for Theatre in Higher Education)
FIRT (International Federation for Theatre Research)
MLA (Modern Language Association)


My Teaching

Caroline teaches across theatre, performance, and media studies. In Term 3 2020, she is convening ARTS3122 Working in the Performing Arts.

In theatre and performance studies, she has previously taught in ARTS1120 Introduction to Theatre and Performance; ARTS1121 Reading Performance; ARTS2120 Writing for Performance; ARTS2121 Theatre and Current Events; ARTS3124 Collaborative Making; ARTS3131 Playing Australia; and ARTS3132 Based on a True Story: Theatres of the Real.

In media studies, she has previously taught in ARTS2091 Mobile Cultures; ARTS2090 Publics and Publishing in Transition; and ARTS3091 Advanced Media Issues: New Media, Cultural and Social Change.

She has also given guest lectures and seminars in: ARTS3120 Studies in World Performance; ARTS3289 Documentary Film and History; ARTS4100 Research Methods and Thesis Writing; and ARTS4201 Uses of Theory.

Caroline completed her Graduate Certificate in University Learning and Teaching in 2017 and will complete her Masters of Education (Higher Education) in 2020.

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246E, Level 2 Robert Webster


+ 61 2 9385 0720