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Joe Sumsion

Senior Lecturer in Acting
School of Arts and Media
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Joe joined UCLan in 2017 after a thirty year directing career in the theatre industry. Joe teaches across all three years on the BA Hons Acting degree. He currently leads work on Shakespeare with first years, theatre industry work with second years and annually directs one of the Graduate Productions with third years.

Joe retains working relationships within the theatre industry, occasionally developing and directing new plays and always seeking to connect Acting students with the industry He also supports students through his role as Second Year Academic Adviser.

Before joining UCLan Acting in 2017, Joe worked extensively as a freelance theatre director for, amongst others, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Nottingham Playhouse, Manchester Youth Theatre and M6 Theatre Company. In 2001, Joe was appointed Artistic Director of Action Transport, a young people’s theatre company in Ellesmere Port, going on to create productions in the UK and internationally with Vulavulani Theatre Company, South Africa. In 2008, Joe joined The Dukes in Lancaster as Artistic Director, leading the creative development of the company and directing many productions including The Hobbit, winner of the 2016 UK Theatre Best Production for Children and Young People Award. Joe has worked extensively with playwrights. In 2007 he edited The Skeleton Key, a book revealing the secrets of writing outstanding plays for and with young people, and he has twice received the Writers Guild of Great Britain Award for Encouraging New Writing. He is currently a board member of the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal and maintains strong connections with the theatre industry.

  • BA (Hons) Degree in Drama: Theatre, Film and Television, University of Bristol, 1992
  • Post Graduate Certificate in Higher Education, University of Central Lancashire, 2020
  • Writers Guild of Great Britain Award for Encouraging New Writing, 2006 and 2015
  • UK Theatre Best Production for Children and Young People Award, 2016
  • Theatrical Management Association Nomination for Best Director for "The Bomb", 2007

Modules Taught

  • AT1008 - Acting Fundamentals
  • AT2012 - The Contemporary Actor
  • AT3012 - The Professional Actor
  • AT3010 - Acting for Theatre 2
  • Shakespeare in Performance
  • New writing development
  • Board Member and Trustee, Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal
  • Trustee, Banks Lyon Trust