Dr Molly Mullen

PhD., MA (Distinction), BA (First Class Honours)


Molly is a lecturer in applied theatre. To this role she brings over ten years of experience producing theatre education, youth theatre, community arts and children’s theatre projects in the UK and New Zealand. Molly's research examines the opportunities and constraints experienced by artists involved in creating socially committed theatre, drama and performance. Her doctoral research provides insights into the ways in which applied theatre companies negotiate tensions between their political, aesthetic, pedagogic and ethical values, and the demands/constraints of financing their work. She has an ongoing research interest in issues relating to funding, business practice and management in applied theatre. Her other current research and practice foci include applied performance and ecology, drama and performance in early childhood education and the arts in criminal justice contexts. She works primarily with arts-based, ethnographic and participatory research methodologies and draws on a range of poststructuralist, feminist and performance theories.

Research | Current

Tuhia ki te ao - Write to the natural world: This TLRI project explores how people communicate a relationship and kinship with the natural world within the secondary school context. Through the project the research team will gain understanding of how literacy shapes a sense of our place in the world - our environment, our culture and our identity.

Other ongoing research interests include:

  • Funding and management in applied theatre
  • Applied performance and ecology
  • Drama and performance in early childhood education
  • Arts-based research in education and applied theatre

Teaching | Current

  • EDUC 737 Arts in Communities
  • EDUC 756 Applied Theatre: Performance of Hope
  • EDUC 100G The Creative Process
  • EDUC 213 Education and Social Justice
  • EDPROFST 754 Critical Research Methodologies in Education
  • EDUC 774 Education and Empowerment
  • EDUC 116 Introduction to Educational Thought
  • EDUC 204 Philosophy and Sociology of Education

Postgraduate supervision

Simon Dennan, We Chant Down Babylon: Reimagining Oceania through Critical Reggae Pedagogy, Doctor of Philosophy, [joint supervisor], in process

Kat Thomas, Intimate Aesthetic Revolutions, Doctor of Philosophy with Creative Component, [joint supervisor], in process

Linlin Xu, Written feedback dynamics in intercultural doctoral supervision, Doctor of Philosophy, [joint supervisor], in process

Penny Lin, Dissolving language: "There are many stories to tell", Doctor of Philosophy with Creative Component, [joint supervisor], in process



2012 University of Auckland Universitas 21 Doctoral Student Mobility Scholarship to spend three months researching at the University of Hong Kong's Faculty of Education

2011 University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship

2011TaPRA Postgraduate Bursary awarded to present a peer reviewed paper at the Theatre and Performance Research Association Conference in London

2005 Recipient of a Professional Preparation Masters Award from the Arts and Humanities Research Council in the UK

Areas of expertise

Applied theatre (drama and performance practices in education, community and institutional settings)

Methodologies for research in arts, youth, community and educational contexts

Committees/Professional groups/Services

2010-present Member of the Critical Research Unit in Applied Theatre at the University of Auckland

2013-present Member of Postgraduate Committee, School of Critical Studies in Education

2013-present Member of Drama New Zealand, the New Zealand association for drama in education

2014-present Member of the Autralasian Association for Theatre, Drama and Performance Studies



Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

Contact details

Alternative contact

Office N312B

Primary office location

Level 3, Room 312B
New Zealand