About the team

Professor Denise Varney

Denise Varney Denise Varney is Professor of Theatre Studies in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne, and is lead Chief Investigator on Towards and Australian Ecological Theatre research project. From 2013–2021, she was co-director of the Australian Centre with oversight of its contemporary culture stream of research and engagement. Denise’s research is primarily in modern and contemporary Australian theatre and performance with interests in ecocriticism, politics, modernism, feminism, history and the archive. Her latest monograph is Patrick White’s Theatre (2021).

Professor Peta Tait

Peta Tait Peta Tait is professor emeritus at La Trobe University. Peta is an academic and playwright and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. She has written 70 scholarly articles and chapters. Peta's recent books include Forms of Emotion: Human to Nonhuman in Drama, Theatre and Performance (2022); Theory for Theatre Studies: Emotion (2021); Fighting Nature: Travelling Menageries, Animal Acts and War Shows (2016); and Wild and Dangerous Performances: Animals, Emotions, Circus (2012). She has co-edited collections including Feminist Ecologies: Changing Environments in the Anthropocene (2018) and The Routledge Circus Studies Reader (2016).

Professor Peter Eckersall

Peter eckersall Peter Eckersall is professor of Performance Studies in the PhD Program in Theatre and Performance at the Graduate Centre, City University of New York and is an Honorary Professorial Fellow, University of Melbourne. Recent publications include Okada Toshiki and Japanese Theatre, (co-edited with Barbara Geilhorn, Andreas Regelsberger & Cody Poulton, 2021), Curating Dramaturgies (co-edited with Bertie Ferdman, 2021), and Performativity and Event in 1960s Japan (2013).  He is cofounder/dramaturg of Not Yet It’s Difficult. Recent dramaturgy includes, Sheep #1 (Sachiyo Takahashi, Japan Society) and Phantom Sun/Northern Drift (Alexis Destoop, Beursschouwburg, Riga Biennial).

Professor Jennifer Parker-Starbuck

Parker-Starbuck Jen Parker-Starbuck is a scholar of theatre history and theory based in the School of Performing and Digital Arts at Royal Holloway, University of London. She is the author of a number of books on multimedia performance, including Cyborg Theatre: Corporeal/Technological Intersections in Multimedia Performance (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011); Performance and Media: Taxonomies for a Changing Field (co-authored with S. Bay-Cheng and D. Saltz, University of Michigan Press, 2015), and co-editor of Performing Animality: Animals in Performance Practices, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). Jen has served as the Editor of Theatre Journal, a Contributing Editor for PAJ: A Journal of Art and Performance, and an Editorial board member of the International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media. Currently, Jen is Theme Leader for StoryLab, a centre for immersive storytelling, part of the major Creative Industries Clusters Programme  led by Royal Holloway, University of London.

Dr Lara Stevens


Lara Stevens is a Research Associate in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne. She is author of Anti-War Theatre After Brecht: Dialectical Aesthetics in the Twenty-First Century (2016), editor and translator (French-English) of essays by Hélène Cixous in Politics, Ethics and Performance: Hélène Cixous and the Théâtre du Soleil (2016), and co-editor with Peta Tait and Denise Varney of Feminist Ecologies: Changing Environments in the Anthropocene (2018).

Dr Kyle Harvey


Kyle Harvey is the project administrator for Towards an Australian Ecological Theatre. Kyle works on a variety of research projects in history, media studies and theatre studies at the University of Melbourne, the University of Tasmania and Monash University. As a researcher and historian, he has published in the history of media, migration, radicalism and social movements in Australia, New Zealand and the United States.