Statement / Publications / Performances / Curating & Production / Digital Media / Creative DocumentationTalks / Teaching / Research / Awards & Residencies / Education


I am an artist, writer and producer with a multi-disciplinary approach focusing on performance. My work deals with performance documentation, digital technologies, experimental narrative and radical pedagogies. The work is iterative and research-based, and often results in projects with multiple versions or outcomes. An interest in the speculative and the fantastical underlies this work.




  • Johanna Linsley, ‘In the Wrong Place: Kira O’Reilly Playing in the Lab’, Contemporary Theatre Review, 25.4 (2015)


  • Johanna Linsley, ‘The Eavesdropper: Listening in and Overhearing the Voice in Performance’ in Voice Studies: Critical Approaches to Process, Performance and Experience, eds. Konstantinos Thomaides, Ben MacPherson and Amanda Smallbone (London: Routledge, 2015) pp. 188-200.


  • ‘Dreams of an Institution’, a study guide commissioned by the Live Art Development Agency on the relationship between Live Art and institutional politics


  • ‘Stupid, Paranoid, Wonderful: Staging Nonknowledges in the Pedagogical Encounter’, Performance Research 17.1 (2012), pp. 59-67
    • ‘Gobsmacked: Getting Speechless in Performance’ (co-authored with Helena Walsh), Contemporary Theatre Review 22.1 (2012), pp. 161-6


  • ‘How to Write Protest’, Activate 1.1 (2010) []
  • review of Rachel Rosenthal’s DbD (Doing by Doing), Contemporary Theatre Review 21.2, pp. 229-30
  • review of Chelsea Theatre’s Sacred experimental performance season, Dance Theatre Journal


Selected Performance Credits

Solo, interactive and devised performance projects.


Stolen Voices

An ongoing collaboration with Rebecca Louise Collins inspired by eavesdropping. Supported by the Live Art Development Agency, Sound & Music and Arts Bournemouth.


Catalogue for an Itinerant Library

An interactive performance which leads participants to re-catalogue existing or imaginary library collections based on logics of desire.

  • Wellcome Collection (part of the Institute of Sexology exhibition), Victoria & Albert Museum (part of Making a Scene for the Friday Late programme), British Film Institute (part of the Lesbian and Gay Film Festival), Forest Fringe festival (Edinburgh fringe), Latitude festival, Shunt Vaults, Recyclarts (Brussels, for Nuits Blanche festival)

2010 – current

The Present Becomes Us

A multi-discplinary project which combines documentary elements with a fantastical premise, dealing with time travel and the potentiality of the present.

  • Presented at ]performance space[, London (October, 2013) and Parlour Showrooms (Bristol, forthcoming December 2013)
  • Works-in-progress presented at Barbican Centre (part of Untitled Projects’ Salon Project), Chelsea Theatre, University of Reading.
    • Developed in association with Pacitti Company’s Think Tank in Ipswich.


Everyday Cosmonaut

A series of short performances on the exploration of outer space via the practice of everyday life.

  • Soho Curzon Art Cinema (London), Chelsea Theatre (London), East London Fawcett Society fundraiser, Queer the Space/Centre for Creative Collaboration (London)


Like to Know: a Detective Story

A solo performance and deconstruction of the detective story genre, focusing on withholding and the pleasures of the reveal.

  • Rivington Place (London), The Basement (Brighton), Five Years Gallery (London), Roehampton University (London)


I’d Rather Die than Die Alone

A devised theatre piece drawing on the history of the Oneida Perfectionists (a 19th-century utopic commune), and cellular automatons.

  • East End Collaborations/ Queen Mary, University of London


Learning Skills Program

A devised theatre piece with improvisation on themes of anxiety and basic algebra.

  • Ontological Hysteric Theatre (New York)


A Discouraging Word

A scripted theatre piece on national borders and cultural value.

  • New York International Fringe Festival.


The Day Parade

A devised theatre piece on public tragedy and overdetermined causality.

  • HERE Arts Centre (New York), Flux Factory (New York)


Curating / Production

2009 – Current

Co-founder and producer of I’m With You, a London-based live art team /

2004 – Current

Founding Partner and member of advisory board of UnionDocs, New York City /


Co-curator with Treasa O’Brien of This Immortal Life: Documentation of Performance, a survey of significant performance documentation on video at Open City Docs Fest, University College London


Curator of Let’s Try That Once More, This Time in the Past, panel discussion on performance and documentation, UnionDocs, Brooklyn, with Martha Wilson,Yelena Gluzman, Matvei Yankelevich, and Christa Holka.


Co-organizer with Helena Walsh of Gobsmacked: Getting Speechless in Performance, a symposium at Queen Mary University of London, supported by an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Beyond Text Student-Led Initiative Award.

2005 – 2006

Producer and editor of Commons Radio a nine-part experimental series on WKCR 89.9fm NYC


Digital Media/New Technologies


89 Steps – interactive web documentary produced with UnionDocs at the Tribeca Institute’s Storytelling Innovation Lab, with the support of Mozilla and the Ford Foundation


Library of Expectation – sound/text collaboration with Jan Mertens for the Ends of Audience interdisciplinary workshop on audiences and interaction at Queen Mary, University of London


The Wrench – SMS narrative created with knifeandfork and commissioned by


The Secret New York – public art project created as part of the Yellow Arrow


Yellow Arrow Game – presented at MIT and published in the Lonely Plant Guide to Experimental Travel (credited as ‘Insley’)


Creative Documentation


Writer-in-residence for Encounter, a series of public art projects in North Kent, commissioned by the North Kent Local Authority Arts Partnership

Commissioned writer for SPILL Festival at the Barbican Centre


Inductive Thread – lecture-performance created with UnionDocs for the Museum of Modern Art New York’s Documentary fortnight.


Rite – collaborative publication with Open Dialogues and New Work Network on the nexus of critical writing, collaboration and performance


Conferences / Symposia / Invited Talks


  • Generative Constraints, Royal Holloway postgraduate practice-based research consortium, ‘Alienating Constraint’, Centre for Creative Collaboration, London
  • Interdisciplinary Studies in the Philosophy and Praxis of Voice, ‘The Eavesdropper: ASM Kobayashi’s Dan Carter’, Centre for Creative Collaboration, London
    • Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA), ‘Redux and Remake: Performing Documents’ for

Performance and Documentation working group, University of Glasgow and Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, documented by Routledge for the digital Performance Archive.

  • Performance Studies international # 19, ‘We Need to Talk About Semen: Documenting Queer Reproduction’, Stanford University
    • Performing Documents Conference, ‘Performance Writing’, Arnolfini, Bristol


  • Performance Studies international # 18, ‘Activist Amateurs’, University of Leeds
  • Affect Factory, ‘Cliffhangers: Living on the Edge in Scarborough, North Yorkshire’, New York University, Tisch School of the Arts
  • Potentials of Performance, Performance Matters project (Goldsmiths and Roehampton) symposium, ‘Alienating the Archive’, Live Art Development Agency, London


  • Royal Conservatoire of Scotland research seminar series (invited speaker), ‘Stupid, Paranoid, Wonderful: Staging Nonknowledges in the Pedagogic Encounter’, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow
  • Journeys Across Media conference, ‘The Present Becomes Us’, University of Reading


  • Ten Performances symposium (AHRC-funded Beyond Text event), ‘Like to Know’, Roehampton University


  • Performance Studies international # 15, panel organizer of Failure Is an Option, and presented ‘How to Be Critical After Criticism’, University of Zagreb


  • FILMOBILE conference (invited speaker), ‘Subversive (Mobile) Storytelling’, University of Westminster


  • [Re] viewing:City series (invited speaker), ‘Document:City’, Rhode Island School of Design


  • Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, member of panel on ‘Collaboration’, Peekskill, New York


  • Deutsches Architektur Zentrum (DAZ), member of panel on ‘Imaginary Berlin’, Berlin




My teaching philosophy emphasises student-led exploration, supported by clear structures for engagement. This applies to both practical and seminar-based pedagogy. I aim to bring into the seminar room elements of practical work like openness to the unexpected and embodied thinking, while bringing the rigours of critical engagement into the studio and rehearsal room.


2013 | Performing the Archive (Year 2, BA) | University of Bristol

  • Designed syllabus, led seminars and practical sessions, coordinated guest workshops with professional practitioners, provided one-to-one tutorials and feedback.


2011 Performance Studies and Interdisciplinarity (Year 2, BA) | Queen Mary, University of London

  • Contributed to syllabus.

2010 and 2011 | London/Culture/Performance (Year 1, BA) – seminar leader | Queen Mary, University of London

2010 | Faking It: The Lie in Performance (Year 2, BA) – seminar leader | Queen Mary, University of London

Practical Workshops

2012 | Dreams for an Institution | Live Art Development Agency

2011 | Writing and Practice | Queen Mary, University of London

2011 | UCAS interview practice-based research workshop | Queen Mary, University of London

2002 -2003 | Experimental Theatre in New York | Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York USA


2010 | MA Dissertation Respondent | Queen Mary, University of London

2011 | PhD Colloquium respondent | Queen Mary, University of London


Research Positions


Researcher for ‘Challenging Archives’ with the Theatre Collection Live Art Archives at the University of Bristol. Funded by the Wellcome Trust.


Drama Research Projects Office/Research Facilitator at the University of Roehampton.

  • Convening seminar series for the Centre for Performance Research and Creative Exchange
  • Developing connections between the department and external cultural partners
  • Strategic and practical assistance for departmental grant funding

2011 – 2014

Research Assistant for Performing Documents, an Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded project hosted by University of Bristol in partnership with the University of Exeter, Arnolfini and In between Time

  • Organised two symposia and a major conference at Arnolfini, Bristol.
  • Research for four newly commissioned projects by leading performance companies.
  • Developed and implemented documentation strategy.
  • Created literature review of relevant critical texts, performances, exhibits and web resources.
  • Currently assisting with editorial process towards publication.

2012 – 2013

Research Assistant on Public Address Systems with Professor Lois Weaver, Queen Mary, University of London


Research Assistant on REF Impact Case Study for Ros Steen, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow


Research Assistant for Making Contemporary Theatre, eds. Jen Harvie and Andrew Lavender, Manchester University Press


Awards and Residencies

2015 Delfina Foundation artist-in-residence, London

2013 SPILL Think Tank associate artist, Ipswich

2010 Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Beyond Text Student-Led Initiative Award

2008-2011 PhD Studentship from Queen Mary, University of London

2008-2011 PhD Fees award from Queen Mary, University of London

2008-2011 PhD scholarship from the Overseas Research Scholarship Award Scheme

2007-2008 MA Studentship from Queen Mary, University of London

2002 Lincoln Center Director’s Lab (New York)




Queen Mary, University of London
PhD in Performance
Thesis title: I Know Something You Don’t Know: Contemporary Performance and the Politics of Expertise
Supervisor: Professor Jen Harvie
Examiners: Dr. Gavin Butt and Dr. Laura Cull
Funders: QMUL studentship and Overseas Research Student Awards Scheme


Queen Mary, University of London
MA with Distinction in Performance
Funder: QMUL studentship


Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts USA
BA in Theatre cum laude