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Dr Brian Lobel

Reader in Theatre

Brian Lobel is a performer, teacher and curator who creates work about bodies and how they are watched, policed, prodded and loved by others.

Lobel shows work internationally in a range of contexts, from medical schools to museums, marketplaces to forests, blending provocative humour with insightful reflection.

Brian is a Wellcome Trust Public Engagement Fellow, Core Artist for Forest Fringe, Associate Artist of Performing Medicine and Co-Director of The Sick of the Fringe.

Brian has been creating work about cancer, illness and disability for a decade, touring to tens of thousands of medical students, doctors, and patient groups.

His projects discuss his own history of cancer (BALL & Other Funny Stories About Cancer) and the psychosocial experiences of others with illness (Fun with Cancer Patients) and include interactive events (Sex, Cancer & Cocktails,CANCER DEATH MATCH) and the book of the musical (with Bryony Kimmings) A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer.

Beyond illness and disability, Brian is interested in social media and friendship (Purge), sex and sexuality (Cruising for Art), and interactivity and the politics of participation (Ruach and Hold My Hand and We’re Halfway There). 



At the University of Chichester, Brian leads on BA & MA modules related to:

  • Solo Performance
  • The Body in Performance
  • Interactivity in Performance
  • Professional Development 

Brian is passionate about helping students find their voice as an artist, and helping them negotiate the development of their first professional works.

Beyond Chichester, Brian is an active performer, curator and researcher who has received grants and commissions from Wellcome Trust, Complicite, Arts Council England, Sasakawa Foundation, motiroti, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council amongst others.

Brian tours performance work internationally and has had he work featured at places as divergent as Sydney Opera House, Lagos Theatre Festival and Harvard Medical School. 

His work features in a number of academic publications, and two series of performances Purge (2016) & BALL and Other Funny Stories About Cancer (2012 + 2015) are published by Oberon Books.



Purge (Oberon Books, 2016)

BALL & Other Funny Stories About Cancer (Oberon Books, 2012 + 2015)


A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer (co-book writer, with Bryony Kimmings and Tom Parkinson), commissioned by Complicite, at National Theatre, HOME Manchester and Exeter Northcote (2016)

Purge (2011-2016)

Cruising for Art (2008-2016)

You Have to Forgive Me, You Have to Forgive Me, You Have to Forgive Me (2014-2016)

Hold My Hand and We’re Haflway There (2008-2016)

Fun with Cancer Patients (2013-2016)

BALL & Other Funny Stories About Cancer (2003-2016)

Chapters in Edited Collections

‘Fun with Cancer Patients: The Affect of Cancer’ in Bouchard, G & Mermikides, A, eds. Performance and the Medical Body (Methuen, 2016)

‘Proud Disclosures and Awkward Receptions: Between bodies with cancer and their audiences’ in Low, K & Baxter, V., eds., Performance, Health and Well-Being (Methuen, forthcoming)

Edited Journals

Performing Ethos: Special Issue on the Ethics of One-to-One Performance (with Eirini Kartsaki and Rachel Zerihan), 2014

Articles in Research Journals

‘The Sick of the Fringe’ in Contemporary Theatre Review, 2015

‘Music is Disease: Cancer blogs and spectatorial expectation’ in Performance Research: On Medicine (2014)

‘Ruach: Performance Text’ in Performance Research: On Affirmation (2014) 

PHD Supervision

Playing the Cancer Card: Illness, Performance and Spectatorship (Queen Mary, University of London, 2012, supervised by Professor Lois Weaver and Dr. Catherine Silverstone).

In this PhD, Brian charted the way in which cancer, and other serious and chronic illnesses are understood in public space, and used case studies from live art, performance, classic cancer films & videos, and contemporary blog culture.