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, a member of the Forced Migration Research Network and associate of the Australian Human Rights Institute. 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. She has a particular interest in artists, genres, and...view more

Caroline Wake is Senior Lecturer in Theatre and Performance, a member of the Forced Migration Research Network and associate of the Australian Human Rights Institute. 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. She has a particular interest in artists, genres, and organisations that have typically been excluded from Australian theatre history, including artists with refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds, genres such as theatres of the real, and organisations like Performance Space, a Sydney-based establishment that has been at the forefront of contemporary art since the early 1980s.

She is the author of over 40 journal articles and book chapters, including an award-winning paper for Text & Performance Quarterly. She is also the editor of three books—Staging Asylum, Again (Currency Press 2024, with Tania Cañas), Performance, Resistance and Refugees (Routledge 2023, with Suzanne Little and Samid Suliman), and Visions and Revisions: Performance, Memory, Trauma (Museum Tusculanum Press 2013, with Bryoni Trezise)—and seven journal issues, including a special issue on “Envisioning Asylum/Engendering Crisis” for Research in Drama Education (2018, with Emma Cox). In 2022, according to Stanford University’s citation analysis, she was ranked in the top 2% globally in the discipline—the only Australia-based researcher on the list. Non-traditional research outcomes include producing a 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. She has also written over 50 theatre reviews for publications such as The Conversation, Guardian Australia, and RealTime, as well as two submissions to parliamentary committees, one of which she also appeared at in person.

Caroline is a passionate advocate for the arts and cultural sector, and often collaborates 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 also served on the Board of PACT Centre for Emerging Artists first as a regular member (2017-18) and then as Chair (2019-21). Caroline currently serves as an Associate Editor of Performance Research, one of the discipline’s leading journals, as well as on the editorial board of Liverpool University Press’s Playwriting and the Contemporary: Critical Collaborations series. She has also served as a Board Member of Performance Studies international, the discipline’s peak body, and Editor of Performance Paradigm, an open-access, peer-reviewed journal devoted to contemporary theatre, performance and visual art in the Asia-Pacific.

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

Research Awards


Teaching Awards


My Research Supervision

Supervision keywords

Currently supervising

Current PhDs

  • Ruth Horsfall, Stateless Play: Impact of Theatre Participation on Young Women with Refugee Backgrounds (joint with A/Prof Caroline Lenette)
  • Frieda Lee, New Play Development and Production in Australia: Pathways Forward (primary)
  • Hannah Ray, Resisting Closure: Tragic Experience and Participatory Drama in Contemporary Theatre and Performance after 9/11 (secondary with Dr Meg Mumford)
  • Beanie Ridler, Co-authoring Playtext with Community: A Co-Design Approach to Community-Engaged Theatre of the Real (joint with Dr Meg Mumford)
  • Mitchell Whitehead, Frontiers of Spectatorship: Performance and Settler Colonialism in Contemporary Australia (primary)


Completed PhDs

  • 2024. Nicola Joseph, Diversity, Racism and the Australian Media (joint with A/Prof Tanja Dreher and Dr Andrew Brooks)
  • 2023. Luke Robinson, The Disappearing Faces of 1940s Hollywood Gothic Cinema (secondary with Dr Jodi Brooks)
  • 2022. Anita Hallewas, Theatre in Refugee Camps: In Search of Sustainable and Ethical Practice (secondary with Prof Michael Balfour)


Current Masters

  • Billy Kanafani, Category Is: An Ethnographic Study of Ballroom Culture in Sydney (secondary with Bryoni Trezise)


Completed Honours

  • 2021. Brittany Turner, Immersive Theatre and the Senses: An Investigation into How Immersive Theatre Can Activate the Human Senses in Covid-19 Isolation (with Dr Theron Schmidt, theatre and performance, practice-based)
  • 2020. Jo Bradley, Women Artistic Directors in Australia, 2000-2020 (theatre and performance, thesis)
  • 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 holds a Graduate Certificate in University Learning and Teaching (2017), a Masters of Education (Higher Education) (2020), and a microcredential in Developing an Indigenised Curriculum (UTS, 2023).

Caroline teaches across theatre and performance studies, including the core course ARTS2121 Theatre In Our Times. She has also taught in ARTS1120 Introduction to Theatre and Performance; ARTS1121 The Life of 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.

Beyond theatre and performance studies, she has taught in media studies (ARTS2091 Mobile Cultures; ARTS2090 Publics and Publishing in Transition; and ARTS3091 Advanced Media Issues: New Media, Cultural and Social Change) as well as 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.

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246E, Level 2 Robert Webster


+ 61 2 9385 0720