Chris Hay


College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

+61 8 82012204
place Bedford Park (249)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

Chris Hay is Professor of Drama at the Flinders Drama Centre, a position he took up in 2022 after previous appointments at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), the University of New England (UNE), and the University of Queensland (UQ). He is an Australian theatre and cultural historian, whose work examines funded cultural output for what it can tell us about national anxieties and preoccupations. His new book, Contemporary Australian Playwriting: Re-visioning the Nation on the Mainstage co-written with Stephen Carleton, was published by Routledge in 2022.

Chris currently holds a Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) from the Australian Research Council for his project on the origins of live performance subsidy in Australia between 1949 and 1975. A major output of that project is the Shadow Canon Collection, an online resource collecting unpublished Australian plays and making them available to performers and researchers to deepen engagement with our national theatre history, which will go live in 2024.

As a theatre director, Chris is particularly interested in German Modernism. His recent work directing students includes Frank Wedekind’s Spring Awakening in his own translation at UNE, and Max Frisch’s The Arsonists at UQ. He works with the unique identity practice pioneered by Kristine Landon-Smith, in a collaboration they began at NIDA, and they have co-published in acting manuals including Stages of Reckoning: Antiracist and Decolonial Actor Training.

Outside of the University, Chris is the Co-President of ADSA, the Australasian Association for Theatre, Drama, and Performance Studies, and a past co-convenor of the Historiography Working Group of the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR). He is the Deputy Editor of the open-access e-journal Performance Paradigm, and an Associate Editor of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Training, where he co-edited a 2021 special issue on Performer Training in Australia.


PhD, University of Sydney

Bachelor of Arts (Hons), University of Sydney

PG Cert of Learning and Teaching in HE, Rose Bruford College

Honours, awards and grants

Marlis Thiersch Prize for Best Journal Article (2022) from the Australasian Assocation for Theatre, Drama and Performance Studies

ARC DE200101426 "The Origins of Live Performance Subsidy in Australia, 1949-1975" (as CI)

ARC LE210100007 "AusStage LIEF 7: The International Breakthrough" (as CI)

ARC LE210100021 "Australian Cultural Data Engine for Research, Industry and Government" (as CI)

Key responsibilities

Research Section Head, Creative and Performing Arts

Academic Lead, AusStage: The Australian Live Performance Database

Topic coordinator
DRAM3022 Contemporary Australian Repertoire
DRAM2100 Modern Drama: The Rise of the Director
DRAM1002 Contemporary Drama
DRAM1001 Theatre in Context
Supervisory interests
Australian drama
Directing, performance making and actor training
Theatre historiography
The Conversation