Dr Caleb Lee
Lecturer in Drama (E&S)
I am an academic and cultural mediator working at the intersection of the arts and young people, with varied experiences in Southeast/East Asia and the UK. As a recipient of the National Arts Council scholarship, I obtained my doctorate from Royal Holloway University of London, specialising in Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA). My work now focuses on the creative industries, applied performances/practices, creative arts youth work, young people’s health and well-being.
I joined the University of Exeter in 2022. Alongside this, I am Co-Artistic Director of Five Stones Theatre – an international collective creating dance and theatrical experiences for children and young people that are ‘a little different’.
Prior to this, I was Creative Youth Work Researcher at Spotlight Creative Youth Services, in partnership with Queen Mary University of London, where I designed and led an Arts Council funded project that focused on increasing inclusivity and relevance for young people accessing cultural provision. From 2018-2021, I was Associate Researcher at Rose Bruford College TYA Centre. And before that, I was Lecturer (2009-2017) in the School of Dance and Theatre, LASALLE College of the Arts (Singapore).
Beyond academia, I have over a decade of leadership experience in the creative industries, both locally and internationally. Notably, I was the Festival Manager (2010–2014) for I Theatre’s ACE! Festival – A performing arts festival dedicated to children and their families, and later took on the role of Associate Director (2015–2019), in which I fostered partnerships with cultural organisations from Thailand, Hong Kong, China, Serbia, Canada, Japan, UK, Australia and The Philippines, as well as planned and managed short and long term strategies.
In the professional sector, I serve on the Advisory Council and Artistic Working Group at Polka Theatre (UK), as Visiting Fellow for Zinc Venture Builder (focusing on improving children's health and wellbeing) and as Associate Researcher of the International Inclusive Arts Network (IIAN) and Rose Bruford College TYA Centre. I am also lead researcher and member of the Asian TYA Network.
- All aspects of Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA)
- Creativity, creative industries and cultural policies
- Popular culture and contemporary performance
- Applied performance and socially engaged practice
Lee, C. (2021). Creativity Beyond the City Centre: Theatre for Young Audiences. In Lim, B & Ho, O. (ed) Empower Arts, Animate Communities, 105–121. Hong Kong: CUHK (ISBN: 978-988-79285-1-5)
Lee, C. (2021). Navigating Creativity, Community and Hope in Times of Crisis: A Critical Reflection on Tacet. Puppet Notebook. UK: British UNIMA. 31(1), 34–38 (ISSN: 1745-1086)
Lee, C. (2020). The Asian TYA Network: Geographies of Hope. ASSITEJ International. 20(3), 20–28
Lee, C & Stephen, C. (2019). Stretching the Imagination of Young Audiences, ASSITEJ International. 19(2), 2–10
Lee, C. (2016). Round the Moon, Blue the Sky: Flying Through Cultural Spaces. ASSITEJ International. 16(3), 34–39
Lee, C. (2016). Reimagining the Dragon: Towards Collaboration and Internationalising for Theatre for Young Audiences. Subotica Research Journal of Theatre Arts for Children and Young People. 7(1), 36–45
Lee, C (2015). Observing Children’s Response: An Alternative Framework to Evaluate Children’s Theatre. Journal of Theatrex Asia. 1 (1), 1–14 (ISSN: 2345-7678)
Research and Impact Reports
Lee, C & Mehta, N (2022). Catch the Wave: World Congress of Inclusive Performing Arts. ASSITEJ International (https://magazine.assitejonline.org/2021-22/catch-the-wave-world-congress-of-inclusive-performance-art)
Lee, C. (2019). Creative Activities and the impact on Audience Development in Naha (Okinawa)
Japan: Japan Foundation. Translated: https://jfac.jp/en/culture/projects/condition-report/
Lee, C. (2019). Summary Report: The State of Theatre for Young Audiences in Southeast Asia
Japan: Japan Foundation
I am open to discussing reearch proposals and projects within my research expertise.
Research through practice
As a practising dramaturg and producer, my work spans artistic works and digital practices drawn from diverse parts of the world. I am interested in the practices and philosophies of performance-makers in the current climate who are harnessing the arts for social change, and where the creative industries are a source of urban regeneration and economic growth. My research focuses on wider social issues of democracy, class privilege and inclusion, as well as trends in labour, economics, policy and urban development; utilising a range of creative methodologies and drawing on frameworks and mixed approaches from different disciplines. In making these connections, my work raises questions relevant to all forms of performance – about what they say about contemporary culture, how they can enrich cultural lives, and what they can offer contemporary social relations.
Catch the Wave: World Congress of Inclusive Performance Art, March – May 2022.
Networks of Creativity: The Asian TYA Network, June 2016–Dec 2019
Audience Development in Naha: Practices of Hope, July 2019
Early Years LAB with La Baracca, Rose Bruford College and The Place (UK), Nov 2018
Very Small Plays for Very Small People, Rose Bruford College and Morley College, Oct 2018
Dream: The Joy of Creating for Early Years with Theatre Al Vacio, Rose Bruford College, Oct 2017
Theatre for Young Audiences in Singapore: People, Place, Policies, Jan-Dec 2016
Corporeality, Efficacy and Community in Applied Theatre: Asian Perspectives and Practices. 2009- 2010.
External impact and engagement
In the UK, I am International Tour Producer to Peut-Être Theatre. Here, I manage the promotion of the company’s productions to global presenters and venues, as well as aid in facilitating strategic partnerships. I've also partnered with Farnham Maltings and Dance4 to run a producing surgery workshop for artists and companies looking to tour family work internationally. The resource can be found here. I also serve as specialist advisor to Polka Theatre and the International Inclusive Arts Network.
Internationally, I work with organisations such as Gateway Arts (Singapore), Bangkok International Children’s Theatre Festival, Little Door Festival (Malaysia), Five Senses Theatre (Hong Kong), Marphy’s Playhouse (China) amongst others. I am also lead researcher of the Asian TYA Network.
Contribution to discipline
Between 2010–2022, I gave 22 papers (of which 14 International and 8 Singapore) at leading conferences such as International Federation of Theatre Research (IFTR), International Drama in Education Research Institute (IFTR), PSi and TaPRA.
I have also a strong commitment to the field of Theatre for Young Audiences and Arts Education and have organised and convened symposiums and conferences in partnership with organisations such as The Esplanade, Singapore Drama Education Association, Bangkok International Theatre Festival, Okinawa International Theatre for Young Audiences Festival, Visioni Festival.
I am currently a member of Arts and Social Change Network, Chinese University of Hong Kong, International Theatre for Young Audiences Research Network (ITYARN), Asian Dramaturgy Network (ADN), International Federation of Theatre Research (IFTR), Performance Studies International (PSi), Singapore Drama Educators Association (SDEA).
Selection of Journalism and Minor Publication
Lee, C. (2021). Centring Children’s Voices. In OffStage Online.
Lee, C. (2021). Touring Family Work. In partnership with Dance4 and Farnham Malting.
Lee, C. (2020). TYA in Singapore: It’s Not All Fun(d) and Games (translated to Chinese)
Lee, C. (2019). In the Winter Wood. Children’s Theatre Reviews. 8 Dec 2018.
Lee, C. (2018). Asian TYA Network: Geographies of Hope.
Lee, C. (2015). Young Partners. International Arts Manager Magazine. 10 (15). 23–28
Lee, C. (2014). Dollars and Sense: The Value of Children’s Theatre. International Arts Manager Magazine, 4 June.