John Britton is a director, writer, performer, improviser and trainer of performers. He is Artistic Director of DUENDE, an international collaboration of performers dedicated to ensemble principles. He is also the Founder and Director of The DUENDE School of Ensemble Physical Theatre.
For the first fifteen years of his career he was a freelance artist, working first in the UK and then in Australia.
In 2004 he became Senior Lecturer at the University in Huddersfield and, in 2007, Course Leader of the MA Ensemble Physical Theatre: Training & Performance. In 2010 he reduced this post to a .5 position and, in 2013, left the University to resume his freelance career.
His first degree was in English Language & Literature from the University of Hull (UK), followed by an MA in Theatre Studies from Leeds University (UK). Since then he has worked across a wide range of art-forms and with a huge range of groups all over the world.
He has directed text, dance, physical theatre, opera, youth theatre, schools work, radio, live art, interdisciplinary performance and site-specific work, as well as writing for stage and the radio and performing in everything from experimental opera to physical theatre, solo improvisation to commercial pantomime.
His directing work includes ‘Jerk’ for ESP (Australia); ‘Finding the Silence’, Casus Circus (Australia); ‘Life Story’, Padatik Theatre (Kolkata), ‘Pulsar’, Rosa Prodromou (Athens); as well as ‘The Shattering Man’ and ‘Echo Chamber’ for DUENDE. He curates and performs in a continuing series of improvised encounters between members of DUENDE and local artists all over the world – a series called ‘Collision’.
He runs workshops both in a freelance capacity and for other organisations, including, in recent years: Swedish Ballet Academy, Kulturama (Stockholm), National School of Drama (Delhi), Celebration Barn (USA), National University of Mexico, Company Theatre (Mumbai), National Institute of Circus Arts (Melbourne), ESMAE (Portugal), Clinic Clowns (Austria & Germany), DOCH (Stockholm), SOTA & Singapore Polythechnic, SDEA (Singapore), Modern & Continuing Education (Kolkata), Padatik Theatre (Kolkata), Kent University (UK), Atelier Theatre (Delhi), Dartington College, CPR, Au Brana Cultural Centre (France), and in Athens, Thessaloniki, Lesbos, Crete, Shanghai, Berlin, Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Paris, Stockholm, Melbourne, Los Angeles, San Francisco and elsewhere.
He has run a large number of performance-training residencies – often in remote locations and sometimes ending in public performances. Venues have included the beach of a Greek Island, a remote Himalayan valley, a retreat centre in rural Southern India, a forest near Kolkata, a rural cultural centre in Southern France and an Arts Centre in New England (USA). In 2016 he will run a residency for the first time in Sri Lanka.
In 2015 he founded The DUENDE School of Ensemble Physical Theatre – a peripatetic training initiative for physical performers based in Self-With-Others.
His book, ‘Encountering Ensemble’ – the first large-scale book about historical and contemporary approaches to ensemble performance was published in 2013 by Methuen/Bloomsbury
He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Further information about John’s work can be found on his website at:
A blog of John’s occasional reflections on his work can be found at:
You can contact John Britton directly with questions or comments at: