Dr Nesreen N. Hussein is an artist, scholar and Lecturer in Contemporary Theatre at Middlesex University, London. Her research interests and publications focus on the intersections of performance, politics, and activism, in relation to issues of identity, agency and belonging. She has published widely in this context in a number of scholarly journals and edited volumes, in addition to delivering numerous conference papers and invited talks internationally. Further research and practice areas include materiality and objects in performance practice. She is co-editor of Global Performance Studies journal, and sits on the editorial board of Performance Research journal. She is co-founder of ‘Politicised Artistic Practices: An Interdisciplinary Research Initiative’ at the Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries at Middlesex University. In 2011, she was awarded the Helsinki Essay Prize and the New Scholars’ Prize from the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR).
As an artist with a background in performance, design and puppet making, Nesreen worked internationally with a number of theatre companies, directors and design studios. Her current artistic practice is centred around exploring identity, mobility, belonging, and the city.
Teaching specialisms include contemporary theatre and performance practices, devising, critical theory, postcolonialism, cross-cultural practices, performance and politics.
Module leadership and teaching at Middlesex University:
She has supervised PhD theses to completion, with supervision in the areas of performance and politics; performance and activism; visual arts and performance; objects and materiality; physical theatre and dance practices.
List of Publications
Co-edited journal special issue:
Hussein, Nesreen and Iain MacKenzie, eds; 2017; ‘Cultural Practices / Resistant Acts’; in Contention: The Multidisciplinary Journal of Social Protest; Berghahn Journals; ISSN 2572-7184
Chapters in edited collections:
Hussein, Nesreen; ‘Bussy Project: storytelling, visibility, and negotiating public and private spheres.’ The Methuen Drama Handbook to Theatre and Gender. Eds Sean Metzger and Roberta Mock. (Forthcoming, 2021)
Hussein, Nesreen; 2013, 2015; ‘Cairo: My City, My Revolution’; in Performance and the Global City; ed. D.J. Hopkins and Kim Solga; Palgrave; Basingstoke and New York; 223-244; ISBN 978-1-137-36785-3.
Hussein, Nesreen; 2018; ‘What has the City Trained in You?’; Theatre, Dance and Performance Training (edited interview by Thomas Wilson); 9.1; 116-119; ISSN: 1944-3927
Hussein, Nesreen and Vanio Papadelli; 2017; ‘Training and… Borders’; Theatre, Dance and Performance Training; 8.1; 109-110; DOI 10.1080/19443927.2017.1275208
Hussein, Nesreen and Iain Mackenzie; 2017; 'Introduction: Cultural Practices / Resistant Acts’; in Contention: The Multidisciplinary Journal of Social Protest; Berghahn Journals; ISSN 2572-7184
Hussein, Nesreen; 2015; ‘Gestures of Resistance between the Street and the Theatre: Documentary Theatre in Egypt and Laila Soliman’s No Time for Art’; Contemporary Theatre Review; 25.3; 357-370; ISSN 1048-6801
Hussein, Nesreen; 2008; ‘Seeing through the Wall: Objectification between Resistance and Acceptance’; Platform: Objects of Engagement; 3.2; 62-78
Sánchez-Camus, Roberto, Nesreen Hussein and Grant Tyler Peterson; 2008; ‘Objects of Engagement: Conference Response’; Platform: Objects of Engagement; 3.2; 9-15
Hussein, Nesreen N.; Rewriting Narratives in Egyptian Theatre: Translation, Performance, Politics (Routledge, 2016); eds. Sirkku Aaltonen and Areeg Ibrahim; review published in Theatre Research International; 2017; 42.3; 353-355; DOI S0307883317000669
Jul. 2019; ‘Resistance, Resilience, and Utopia in Egypt’s Public Space.’ Theatre, Performance, and Urbanism. International Federation for Theatre Research’s annual conference (Political Performance Working Group). The Shanghai Theatre Academy, China.
Aug. 2018; ‘Performing Utopia / Reclaiming the Public Sphere.’ Theatres of Revolution: Performance, Pedagogy, Protest. Association for Theatre in Higher Education’s annual conference (ATHE). Boston.
Jul. 2018; ‘Performing Utopia / Reclaiming the Public Sphere.’ Theatre, Nation and Identity. International Federation for Theatre Research’s annual conference (IFTR). University of Arts, Belgrade.
Jun. 2016; ‘My City, My Revolution and the Theatrical Re-telling of Experience.’ Presenting the Theatrical Past. International Federation for Theatre Research’s annual conference. Stockholm University, Sweden.
Jul. 2014; ‘Performance as a Gesture of Resistance in Laila Soliman’s No Time for Art.’ Theatre and Stratification. International Federation for Theatre Research’s world congress. The University of Warwick, UK.
Nov. 2012; ‘Cairo, My City, My Revolution: Creative Practices and Acts of Resistance.’ Creativity and Revolution. The International Symposium on Comparative Literature. Cairo University. Cairo, Egypt.
Aug. 2011; ‘An Urban Site of Rebellion: the Performative Dynamics of Resistance in Tahrir Square.’ Tradition, Innovation, Community. International Federation for Theatre Research’s annual conference. Osaka, Japan.
Sept. 2009; ‘Transformation as Action & Reaction: The Body as a Site of Material and Political Exchange.' The Body and Performance working group. TaPRA conference. University of Plymouth.
Jul. 2009; ‘Negotiating the Material Past: “Telling” as Rearticulation of Place.’ Silent Voices, Forbidden Lives. Centro de Estudos de Teatro. International Federation for Theatre Research’s annual conference. Lisbon, Portugal.
Aug. 2008; ‘Bodies of Denial: Seeing the Invisible.’ Emerging Scholars Panel (Performance Studies Focus Group). Difficult Dialogues: Theatre and the Art of Engagement. Association for Theatre in Higher Education’s 22nd conference (ATHE). Denver, Colorado.
Jun. 2008; ‘Material Bodies... Bodied Material: A Case of Subversion.’ Objects of Engagement conference, Royal Holloway.
Apr. 2008; ‘Time as Body, Body as Object, Object as Time: A Case of Materiality.’ Theatre Materials / Materials Theatre, the Centre for Excellence in Training for Theatre conference, Central School of Speech and Drama. London.
Invited guest lectures and talks
Nov. 2020; 'Theatre Pedagogy as Activism'. Unrehearsed Future series: Response-ability: Theatre Pedagogy in Changing Time. A Drama School Mumbai Initiative in Collaboration with Embodied Poetics.
Jan. 2020-21; Guest lectures: 'Postcolonialism' and 'Ways of Seeing'. MA programme, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, London.
Jun. 2019; ‘Approaching Creative Expression after the 2011 Egyptian Revolution: Challenges and Possibilities for Current Scholarship’. Symposium at St. John’s College, University of Oxford.
Nov. 2018; ‘Performing Utopia / Reclaiming the Public Sphere.’ New Anarchist Research Group. MayDay Rooms, London.
Jun. 2017; ‘(Re)Visions of Spaces’ panel. 49°Grenzüberschreitungen Festival. Universitat Bayreuth, Germany.
Jul. 2016; ‘Gestures of Resistance between the Street and the Theatre’. Keynote talk. Performing Politics/Politicising Performance summer school. University of Warwick, Coventry.
Apr. 2015; ‘Gestures of Resistance between the Street and the Theatre: Documentary Theatre in Egypt and Laila Soliman’s No Time for Art’. Anarchist Research Group. London.
Mar. 2015; ‘Here… There… and the Question of Belonging’ followed by a screening of My City, My Revolution performance. Contested Exchanges: Space, Place and the Performance of Democracy conference. Artaud Performance Centre. Brunel University, London.
Mar. 2015; ‘Here… There… and the Question of Belonging’. Arab Women Artists Now (AWAN) Festival. Rich Mix, London.
Apr. 2014; ‘Working with and Supporting Early Career Academics’ panel. SCUDD annual conference. Aberystwyth University.
Jun. 2013; ‘The “Performativity” of Resistance in a Time of Revolution.’ University of Kent’s Summer School, Paris.
May 2011; ‘Reflections on observing, doing and writing for “practice-informed” research.’ Practice and Research / Practice-as-Research Symposium. Royal Holloway.
May 2011; ‘Improbable Objects: Physical Materials between the Self and the “Other”?’ Is Material a Performative Subject? Bodies, Objects and Performance Practice Research Group. Royal Holloway.
Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Steering Group Member of Middlesex University Anti-Racism Network.
Member of Revolution or Nothing Network. See the Network's Open Letter 'White Colleague Listen!' (Aug. 2020).
Member of SCUDD Advocacy Group (The Standing Conference of University Drama Departments).
Member of the editorial board of Performance Research journal.
Co-editor of Global Performance Studies journal.
Member of International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR) - Political Performances Working Group.
Co-founder of ‘Politicised Artistic Practices: An Interdisciplinary Research Initiative’, Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries at Middlesex University
Peer reviewing for Palgrave Macmillan; Platform: Journal of Theatre and Performing Arts; Contemporary Theatre Review; Studies in Theatre and Performance; The British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies; Contention: The Multidisciplinary Journal of Social Protest; Theatre Research International; Modern Drama; The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC).
Research Event Organisation
Standing Conference of University Drama Departments (SCUDD) Annual Conference, Middlesex University, 27-28 March 2015, member of organising committee.
Hosting the 'Dialogue Project': a series of international video conference seminars based at the American University in Cairo (AUC). University of Kent and the AUC. 2012.
Co-organiser of 'Creative Practices / Resistant Acts;' one-day interdisciplinary symposium at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), London. A collaboration between the School of Arts and the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Kent. 2011-12
Co-organiser of AHRC funded postgraduate symposium.'trans.form@work: Experimental Methodologies and Interdisciplinary Challenges in Arts Research,' Dept of Dance, Film and Theatre, University of Surrey. Collaboration between Royal Holloway, University of Surrey and University of Chichester. 2008-10.
Co-organiser of 'Indigenous Communities and Puppetry;' a one-day talk and workshop by Australian director, designer and puppeteer Sandy McKendrick. The Centre for International Theatre and Performance Research, Royal Holloway. 2009.
Co-organiser of ‘Objects of Engagement’ postgraduate symposium, Royal Holloway. 2008.
My City, My Revolution. Devised in collaboration with performer Vanio Papadelli (Greece/UK), film maker Mohamed Goely (Egypt) and sound designer Michael Picknett (UK). January 2015, Rich Mix, London. And June 2015, The Ditch, Shoreditch Town Hall, London (the latter was part of Dis/placed: A week-long programme of events in response to global demographic shifts and human displacement. Produced by Counterpoints Arts in partnership with Live Art Development Agency).
Published interview about My City, My Revolution, by Marcia Lynx Qualey:
'My City... My Revolution: Turning an Academic Essay into a Performance Piece'; in Arabic Literature and Translation, 2014.
Satyagraha opera by Philip Glass. An Improbable theatre production in collaboration with the English National Opera and The Metropolitan Opera. ENO, London: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2018. Metropolitan Opera, New York: 2008. Performer and puppet-making assistant.
The Air Changes the Colour of Things. Physical theatre, site-specific performance. Dir. Vanio Papadelli. Hackney Empire Studio, 2009. Shunt Vaults, London, 2010. Designer.
Phantom Limb. Physical theatre performance. Dir. Vanio Papadelli. The Festival Of. Central School of Speech and Drama, London, 2009. And Creative Forum for Independent Theatre Groups. Bibliotheca Alexandrina. Alexandria, Egypt, 2010. Designer.
Everyday Life in the Folds of a Serviette – A Journey Undertaken. A site-specific, promenade performance in Surrealism Laid Bare: Living in Surrealism conference. Dir. Richard Gough. Centre for Performance Research, in collaboration with West Dean College. West Dean House, Chichester. 2007. Performer.
A 100 Years in Boxes. A site-specific, promenade performance. Dir. Richard Gough. Ceredigion Museum, Aberystwyth, Wales. 2005. Performer.