Staff profiles

Photo of  Fiona Macbeth

Fiona Macbeth

Senior Lecturer (E&S)


01392 722335


Fiona has been working for the University of Exeter since 1992 teaching Applied Drama and Applied Theatre. She has a background in working with ‘at risk’ and incarcerated youth and is involved in the facilitation of theatre-based projects with young people and vulnerable adults at points of transition in their lives. She is particularly interested in the creation of fluid communities in which conflicts can be facilitated towards resolution.

Her work is practice-based and on-going projects include devising performance (Perfectly Mixed Up Theatre), training artists (Altana) and creation and curation of oral installation (Patchwork Stories). 

Fiona co-convenes the MA pathway, Applied, Community and Socially Engaged Performance. She has an annual commitment to Health Education South West to provide trained simulators to support the process of recruitment and selection of doctors for General Practice.

Fiona is an ASPIRE Senior Fellow of the HEA

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External impact and engagement

I run projects in schools, community settings and training environments. The following briefly outlines my work in these contexts.  

Perfectly Mixed Up is an integrated company of Masters students and young care leavers. More than the Sum was performed at the Cohen New Works Festival in Austin, Texas in March 2013. My work with care leavers is part of the topic of the TedX talk I gave in June 2012.

Patchwork Stories is both a research project gathering stories provoked by simple questions and an installation of stories and mending. In May 2014 a group of staff and students from UT, Austin worked alongside drama postgraduate students and community members to create the first installation of the project. In May 2015 my return visit to UT, Austin will provide the setting for the second installation.


Altana Kulturstiftung is an art education organisation based in Frankfurt. I am one of a team of 5 artists and trainers who run an intensive Training the Trainers course for practicing artists of all disciplines. The course provides a framework for artists to explore creative collaboration with each other prior to leading collaborative arts projects in schools.



My main teaching is on studio-based modules and draws heavily on my practice as a facilitator and leader on projects in the community. In particular projects working with those identified as being at a point of transition or need provide an opportunity for students to engage with the issues and dilemmas of socially engaged practice through witnessing and participating in community work.  

During recent years students have run projects with veterans making the transition from military to civilian life (Moving to Civvie Street), stroke patients in Torbay Hospital, young people making the transition from the care system to independence (More than the Sum), adults and young people dealing with substance addiction, homelessness and related difficulties (The Recovery Bus).

My work with young care leavers has been a consistent point of contact for many students, and participation on staff-led research projects are offered to students in addition to their assessed projects. 

Modules taught


For nearly 20 years Fiona Macbeth has worked with young people and those who work with them as a drama workshop leader, trainer, teacher and consultant.

In 1989 she took the post of Project Facilitator with Leap Confronting Conflict (now The Leap Centre), a London-based youth arts project. In this position she ran drama workshops for young people in youth clubs and devised and directed issue-based interactive theatre projects with unemployed young people. These shows toured to youth clubs and probation centres throughout the UK. The focus of Leap Centre work has always been the creation of high quality, effective workshop material for use with young people and those who work with them. In 1989 Fiona was given the brief to develop training material to explore the creative uses of conflict. This task took her on a study tour of innovative programmes in the USA in 1990, including CityKidsNY, Youth at Risk, the Alternatives to Violence programme in prisons and Young Mediators in Schools in Pennsylvania. This research culminated in the two publications listed below which were research and co-authored with Nic Fine.

In 1992 Fiona moved to Devon where she began to work part time in the Drama Department of the University of Exeter, teaching undergraduate modules in Applied Drama.  She continued to work as a freelance facilitator running training courses for those working with young people. In this capacity she developed course material for ‘Young Men and Anger’ and ‘Young Women and Self-Esteem’.

In 2000 Fiona became a Research Fellow in The Peninsula Medical School. She co-founded RAP: a sex and relationships programme for young people who have had a disrupted education. This programme was researched and developed with peer educators : young people who had themselves experienced disrupted education. The RAP programme (developed with David Evans and Sandy Akerman, 2005) is currently rolled out in Pupil Referral Units throughout the South West, with peer educators running the workshops with support from adult facilitators.

In 2003 Fiona took the permanent post of Lecturer (E&S) (now Senior Lecturer, E&S) in the Department of Drama in the University of Exeter. In this capacity she co-convenes the MA pathway, Applied, Community and Socially Engaged Performance and teaches Interactive Theatre and Applied Drama at both an undergraduate and postgraduate level. 


Playing with Fire : training for the creative use of conflict was published in 1992  by Youth Work Press. It is an internationally recognised resource which has been published by New Society Publishers in the USA 1995, sold 9500 copies and been translated into Serbo-Croat and Russian. Re-published as a second edition in 2011 by Jessica Kingsley.

Fireworks : creative approaches to conflict for young people was published in 1992  by Youth Work Press.