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Matthew Hahn

Senior Lecturer

About Research

Matthew Hahn is a Senior Lecturer at St Mary's University. As a practice-based theatre researcher, Matthew is a creative producer, playwright, theatre director and theatre for development facilitator specialising in creating theatre for social change, for examining behaviour and for improving communication skills. He works with emerging and established theatre makers and finding new ways for audiences and communities to access art through partnerships.

He works both nationally and internationally and has produced work in the United Kingdom, the United States, Italy, Ethiopia, Malawi, Ghana, and South Africa. As a theatre for development practitioner, he facilitates interactive and participatory theatre projects focusing on social cohesion, peace-making and conflict resolution. His play, The Robben Island Shakespeare, was published in March 2017 and has been performed in the United Kingdom, United States and South Africa.  He created and facilitates ‘Ethical Leadership’ Workshops in South Africa and in the United Kingdom based on his interviews with former South African political prisoners and selections from ‘The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.’

Matthew is a member of the African Theatre Association and the Royal Society for Public Health 2016.  Matthew has degrees in Political Science & Journalism from Indiana University (1995) in the United States and is a graduate of the Goldsmiths College Masters in Theatre Directing programme (2002) in the United Kingdom. He trained with the SITI Company in New York (2000) and with Anne Bogart in Dublin, Ireland (2005). He has also trained with the Cardboard Citizens Theatre Company (2005) in London in their Forum Theatre / Joker Training Programme.  Matthew was previously Head of Theatre at Kensington and Chelsea College and has directed several productions in London and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  He was the artistic director of the Common Air Theatre Company, where he directed subVERSE, a London-based new writing programme to develop political playwrights.



  • (2017) The Robben Island Shakespeare (formerly The Robben Island Bible) [Bloomsbury Methuen] ISBN 9781474283878.

Refereed journals


  • (2016) [article] "Research, Development and Production History of The Robben Island Bible." The African Performance Review.
  • (2012) [article] ‘The Robben Island Bible’  AngloFiles, Journal of English Teaching (November 2012 # 166) ISBN 1395-881X.
  • (2011) [article] ‘Theatre for a Change in Malawi: Participatory approaches to Development’ Journal of Applied Art & Health (Volume 2 Issue 3; January 2012). ISSN: 20402457.              
  • (2009) [article] ‘The Robben Island Bible’ Shakespearescene Journal (Issue 003 Summer 2009) ISSN 1757-2967. 

Book Chapters

  • (2016) ‘Art Knows No Boundaries – Cross Cultural Bridge Building: Celebrating cultures and creating new ones’ in Applied Practice: Evidence and Impact in Theatre, Music and Art. (Bloomsbury Methuen)
  • (2012) ‘Theatre for Development’ in What is Reseach-led Teaching?  Multi-disciplinary perspectives, eds. Alisa Miller, John Sharp, Jeremy Strong(Consortium for Research Excellence Support & Training).

Workshops / delivered papers at conferences

  • September 2015       [Invited Workshop] 'I, too, remember dust': Peace-building, Politics and the Arts at Winchester University. Workshop delivered focusing on interactive theatre, communication and behaviour change based on Theatre for a Change’s ‘Touch Tag Theatre.’
  • August 2014            [Invited Paper] A paper focusing on the archive and dissemination of the audio and video records of the play Archive and Public Culture Research Initiative: Social Anthropology, University of Cape Town
  • August 2014            [Invited Paper] ‘Ethical Leadership – Shakespeare & Today’ at Wits University, South Africa 
  • July 2013                  [Invited paper] ‘The Robben Island Bible Research & Development’ Africa Theatre Association, Goldsmiths College, University of London
  • May 2013                 Pimlico playscript development & performance, St. Mary’s University & Hoxton Hall.
  • July 2011                  [Invited paper] ‘Interactive Theatre’s Learning & Impact potential & practice,’ Emerge and Exist - Shaping the Future Conference, Winchester University / Change Collective, London, UK.                                     
  • May 2011                 [Invited paper] ‘Applied Theatre strategies to changing behaviour & fighting HIV / Aids in Africa & in the UK,’ Theatre, HIV & Development Conference, St. Mary’s University College, London, UK.
  • February 2010        [Invited paper] ‘Theatre for a Change’s innovative strategies to changing behaviour & fighting HIV / Aids in Africa,’ Forum on Citizenship and Applied Theatre, New York University, New York City, USA. +
  • February 2009        [Invited paper] The Robben Island Bible Research & Interview Process,St. Mary’s University College School of Communication, Culture & Creative Arts, London, UK.