11 March 2024 / Lectures

Join us for Women’s History Month!

Natalie Ibu & Amanda Huxtable

The Society for Theatre Research invites you to celebrate Women’s History Month and to join us for this discussion with director Karen Tomlin.

In Conversation: Karen Tomlin: The Conundrum of the Black Female Theatre Director

Wednesday 20 March


St. Anne’s Church

(Allen Room)

55 Dean St. London W1D 6AF

Karen Tomlin’s research explores how both wider social histories and the structures of institutions have shaped perceptions of female black British directors’ skills, knowledge, expertise and interests within the field of theatre-making.  Deep-rooted perceptions of the black female body, identifiable in nineteenth-century discourses on feminine pathologies have informed not only the cultural othering of black women within society but within the institutional spaces of the creative industries.

This talk considers the significance of factors such as point of entry into the creative industries, influences, training, mentors and allyships, as well as the challenges of attempting to assimilate and sustain the performances and affectations often associated with the theatre director, as generated through the prism of whiteness. Tomlin proposes that black directors seek to become ordinary and through this, they will become extraordinary, retaining their own distinct and unique identities of not only being black but also British.

In Conversation events are informal sharings with theatre-makers and practitioners. Director Karen Tomlin will discuss her experiences and recent doctoral research on Black female directors.

Society for Theatre Research lectures are free and open to the public, it is essential that you let us know if you plan to attend in person or watch via the Zoom livestream:

In-person bookings:

Live-stream bookings:

Links to the livestream will be emailed to those who have booked and also added to the event before it starts.

For further information, please contact: Dr. Valerie Kaneko-Lucas, Society for Theatre Research Events Organiser:

The Speaker

Karen Tomlin has worked as a Theatre Practitioner and Artist for over twenty-five years. She initially trained as an actor, studying at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Working for theatre companies such as The Globe and The National Theatre. As a theatre director making work for theatre companies such as Paines Plough, Clean Break, The Gate, and Ovalhouse Theatre and the Theatre Royal Stratford East. 

She has extensive experience working within actor training conservatoires these include Royal Central school of Speech and Drama, Arts Educational, Rose Bruford, RADA. Guildhall Drama School and currently at LAMDA.

She is a qualified teacher in Post Compulsory Education ( University College London, Institute of Education) and has a Masters in Applied from ( Royal Central School of Speech and Drama). She recently submitted her doctoral research at Queen Mary University of London entitled The Body Out of Place: The Conundrum of the Black Female Theatre Director.

Venue informatio

The lecture will take place in the Allen Room, located on the first floor.  Access via lift or stairs.

Venue details:

Transport information:


Routes 14, 19, 24, 29, 38, 176 all stop nearby.


The nearest stations are Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Tottenham Court Road.

Mainline Rail

Charing Cross Station is a ten minute walk.