Anna McNamara

Professor Anna McNamara


Director of Internationalisation, Professorial Teaching Fellow, GSA
BA MA Ed QTS ATCL AISTD (DDE) PFHEA FRSA

Academic and research departments

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Biography

University roles and responsibilities

  • Director of Internationalisation

    My qualifications

    Masters Degree in Education
    BA Theatre Studies
    Rose Bruford College
    Diploma in Dance Education (DDE) Modern Theatre Dance
    ISTD
    Associate of Trinity College London (ATCL) Principles of Instrumental and Vocal Teaching
    Trinity College London
    Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)
    University of Gloucestershire
    Mental Health First Aid Instructor Member
    Mental Health First Aid England

    Previous roles

    2021 - 2022
    Head of School
    Guildford School of Acting
    2016 - 2021
    Director of Learning and Teaching
    Guildford School of Acting
    2015 - 2016
    Director of Student Experience
    Guildford School of Acting
    2018 - 2019
    Programme Leader MA Theatre
    Guildford School of Acting
    2012 - 2018
    Programme leader BA (Hons) Theatre
    Guildford School of Acting
    2011 - 2014
    Course lead Foundation Acting
    Guildford School of Acting

    Supervision

    Postgraduate research supervision

    My teaching

    My publications

    Publications

    McNamara, A. (Ed) (2022) Be the Change: Learning and Teaching for the Creative Industries, Nova Publishing, New York
    This bookconsiders what change needs to look like within performance training and what we can do to create it. Each chapter captures insights from performing arts industry and educational experts, with reflections from high profile actors and practitioners. The focus is on action, not talk, seeking to provide those teaching, facilitating and leading performance training with ideas and practical steps to work differently, to create the change we want to see. This book considers the training provider’s role in increasing representation and inclusivity, looking forward to a sustainable and resilient future. Whilst efforts to broaden access have had some success, for too long, people have felt excluded from audiences and from careers in the industry. Enabling future practitioners includes care of well-being, facilitating structured approaches to intimate scenes and adopting sustainable practices. International perspectives are captured to consider global systemic change, focussing on the core question: what next?
    McNamara, A. (2021) 'Crisis Management in Higher Education in the Time of Covid-19: The Case of Actor Training' in The Journal for Education Sciences, 11 (3).
    The impact of Covid-19 placed Higher Education leadership in a state of crisis management, where decision making had to be swift and impactful. This research draws on ethea of mindfulness, actor training techniques, referencing high-reliability organisations (HRO). Interviews conducted by the author with three leaders of actor training conservatoires in Higher Education institutions in Australia, the UK and the USA reflect on crisis management actions taken in response to the impact of Covid-19 on their sector, from which high-frequency words are identified and grouped thematically. Reflecting on these high-frequency words and the thematic grouping, a model of mindful leadership is proposed as a positive tool that may enable those in leadership to recognise and respond efficiently to wider structural frailties within Higher Education, with reference to the capacity of leaders to operate with increased mindfulness, enabling a more resilient organisation that unlocks the locus of control. 
    McNamara, A. (2021) 'Flipping the Creative Conservatoire Classroom' in Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, 12, (4).DOI: 10.1080/19443927.2020.1864462.
    This research proposes a pedagogic practice to increase dynamic independent student participation and engagement through the lens of the flipped classroom, promoting the understanding of learning as a cyclical process of the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy. With recommendations that may support hybrid delivery of actor training delivered both face to face and via online platforms, this paper considers the student learning experience of approaching rehearsals when preparing for a role within the UK actor training conservatoire by applying an overview of the methodologies of two key practitioners to this framework. The publications in the English translation of the practitioners Stanislavski and Hagen have been used, to ensure that as authentic a voice as possible is examined.
    McNamara, A. and Armstrong, E. (2021) 'Toward Accessible Actor Training' in the Journal for Drama Research, Volume 12.
    This paper offers a perspective drawn from student staff partnership on accessibility in actor training and education as preparation for and in relation to the creative performance industries.  Drawing from issues of representation, culture and identity are explored, and new aspirational models of access are identified, that may offer a new perspective for academics and practitioners working in actor training settings and conservatoires.  In this paper, we strive to debate this new perspective through a collaborative student staff co-authorship, for both of whom access and identity are key aspects of their professional learning and teaching experiences.   
    McNamara, A. (2021) 'Playful Learning in actor training: the impact of Covid-19 on spontaneity and intuition' in Critical Stages/Scènes critiques, 23.
    The ability to readily access creative imagination is an essential tool for the actor. Games and playful approaches to learning are vital to enable the actors’ learning space in both traditional and non-traditional settings. Since 2020, the impact of Covid-19 has necessitated remote learning to facilitate drama and actor training and this has been a beneficial tool in ensuring the continuation of study and engagement. Whilst this utilisation of technology has undoubtedly brought much innovation, this study will consider what has been compromised or even lost in this transfer of activities in actor and drama training. Perspectives are drawn from a practitioner working in a UK based professional training conservatoire at Higher Education level and examines the compensatory allowances that may needed to be made in the creative training process moving beyond the global pandemic
    Kinchin, I.M., Derham, C., Foreman, C., McNamara, A. and Querstret, D. (2021) 'Exploring the salutogenic university: Searching for the triple point for the becoming-caring-teacher through collaborative cartography' in Pedagogika, 141(1).
    This paper offers a perspective on ‘care’ as a component in the identity of successful university teachers. Previous work has described teaching in the ‘Salutogenic University’ as a Deleuzian assemblage. Three key lines of flight within this assemblage (care, pedagogic health and salutogenesis) are given further examination here. In combination they may offer a response to hegemonic neoliberal discourses that typically divert academics from enacting their professional values. A ‘triple point’ has been hypothesised, at which the three lines would be found to co-exist, without border or barriers. In this paper, we seek to uncover the nature of this triple point by conducting in-depth, reflective conversations with four academics for whom ‘care’ is seen as a central element of their professional identities.
    McNamara, A. (2018) 'The Use of LEGO SERIOUS PLAY to Enable Learning Gain In Professional Actor Training' in The International Journal of Management and Applied Research, Vol. 5, No. 4.
    This reflective paper considers the potential positive and facilitative role of LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® in the active learning environment, not just as a pedagogic tool to enhance and enable student reflection, but also as a method by which to develop engagement and understanding of learning content, through the case studies of undergraduate Acting students at the Guildford School of Acting.
    McNamara, A. (2019) 'Empower: a student-staff partnership project for change and equity in the creative industries' presentation at The Evolving Landscape of Staff-Student Partnership (Change Agent's Network CAN Conference)
    In the post Me Too and Weinstein era the creative industries have a responsibility to re-examine its systems, structures and relationships. All too often training providers refer and defer to the industry as a fixed entity with demands, processes and requirements that are beyond the control of its most junior members. This session will detail how dynamic staff-student partnerships can aspire to create, enable, inspire and empower agents of change through the co-founding of a new ethos.
    McNamara, A. and Palmer, C. (2018) 'Vocal Confidence' presentation at the Oracy Skills in Higher Education Conference (University of Surrey, in conjunction with University of Cambridge)
    This conference presentation examined the theories of performance relating to the performer's communication skills of truth and communion with the audience.
    McNamara, A. and Palmer, C. (2018) 'Finding Your Voice' presentation at The Great Oracy Exhibition 2018 (Voice21 and School 21)
    How finding your own voice can support you as a teacher of oracy.
    McNamara, A. and Kerbel, L. (2021) 'Gender: Enablement, Empowerment & Actor Training' presentation at the Be The Change: Learning and Teaching in the Conservatoire conference (GSA, University of Surrey)
    We consider the conservatoire’s role in increasing representation and inclusivity. For too long, people have felt excluded from audiences and from careers in the industry. Efforts to broaden access have had some success, but change is too slow.
    McNamara, A. and Kerbel, L. (2022) 'Be the Change: Learning and Teaching for the Creative Industries' presentation at The Stage Future of Theatre Conference
    In the post #MeToo era the creative industries have a responsibility to re-examine its systems, structures and relationships.  Conservatoires have an opportunity to enable confident voices that will create and embody change through empowering the voices of both students and staff in wide and open dialogue about the challenges that face all of us in the creative industries. This discussion makes space to reflect upon the challenges that face students, teachers and leaders in the professional performer training sector, as well as individuals involved in theatre in any form from childhood drama classes to the professional creative performance industries. Key topics arising are the vital importance of achieving gender equity and representation in the performing arts across the amateur and professional sectors and for all age groups, calling for sustained, cumulative and impactful change.  
    McNamara, A. (2022) 'How can (should) theatre with young and/or student performers tackle issues of intimacy?' presentation at the International Federation for Theatre Research Conference (Reykjavik)
    This paper raises the question of what can those leading young people in educational creative and/or amateur opportunities learn from and apply following the recent advances in intimacy coordination in professional theatrical settings, led by intimacy coordinators and practitioners such Ita O’Brien et al (Brown, 2021), and cyclically, what can be gained from approaching professional theatrical intimacy through the lens of the creative young person. Often excluded from the current discussion and fora, youth and amateur student theatre performed in training and academic environments engages young people with text and materials that challenge and provoke through intimate exchanges.  Although it is acknowledged that academic discourse on student theatre is limited, there have been pertinent strides in the identification of the importance of ensuring that the creative theatrical learning experiences for young people engaged in theatre endeavour is safe, equitable and empowering beyond the core essential safeguarding considerations.  Similarly, little exists in the formal field of theatre literature on the growing discipline of intimacy and intimacy coordination in professional theatre.  This presentation seeks to bridge the gap in the literature field by offering new knowledge that seeks to bring together the growing fields of intimacy coordination and empowered student performers. 
    McNamara, A. and Kerbel, L. (2022) 'Gender: Enablement, Empowerment and Actor Training' in Be the Change: Learning and Teaching for the Creative Industries, Nova Publishing, New York (Ed. A. McNamara)
    In the post #MeToo era the creative industries have a responsibility to re-examine its systems, structures and relationships.  Conservatoires have an opportunity to enable confident voices that will create and embody change through empowering the voices of both students and staff in wide and open dialogue about the challenges that face all of us in the creative industries. This chapter presents Anna McNamara, Professor, teacher, practitioner and interim Head of the Guildford School of Acting (GSA) in conversation with Lucy Kerbel, award-winning director, practitioner and founder of Tonic Theatre.  The discussion makes space to reflect upon the challenges that face students, teachers and leaders in the professional performer training sector, as well as individuals involved in theatre in any form from childhood drama classes to the professional creative performance industries. Key topics arising from this chapter are the vital importance of achieving gender equity and representation in the performing arts across the amateur and professional sectors and for all age groups, calling for sustained, cumulative and impactful change.  
    McNamara, A. (2022) Panel Discussion 'Overcoming Crisis Blindness' at the QS Higher Ed Summit: Europe 2022 - Crisis Management: Remaking European higher education amid unfolding social
    realities
    Higher education in the Europe region is undergoing transition, and the region is preparing for further advancements. The QS Higher Ed Summit 2022 discusses the latest trends and opportunities in the regions. Unpacking several opportunities to build strong relationships and strategic partnerships, the three-day event tracks topics of Academic and Research Needs of Refugees, Social Justice and Misinformation, Rethinking the Business Model of Higher Education, Contributing to a Net-Zero World and Overcoming Crisis Blindness. The latter track considers how universities are juggling multiple crises simultaneously, focusing on: Identifying what are key factors influencing universities in prioritising one crisis over another and creating a roadmap for institutions to tackle crisis management without blindly following crisis “trends”.
    McNamara, A. (2022) 'The Locus of Control in Higher Education, A Case Study from Performer Training' in Theatre, Dance and Performance Training
    This research examines the relationship between student, Higher Education (HE) institution and industry as future employer, proposing that the ethos of HE institutions must grow to reflect educational values that aspire to enable learners, teachers and leaders whilst connecting meaningfully with industry. Utilising the case study of a single vocational performer training provider at HE in the United Kingdom, the journey of establishing a common core of practices framed by Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) shared across all programmes is proposed here as a potential approach toward a forward thinking integrated curriculum that seeks to democratise the HE vocational learning environment, releasing traditionally held potentially oppressive and/or suppressive loci of control. The standpoint is offered that educators in partnership with industry must embody and model leadership that enables the practical and impactful examination and reimagining of vocational training that, whilst founded on tradition, truly reflects, and enables the possibilities and opportunities for current and future creative communities. This research reflects on a three-year institutional journey and identifies possible next steps for future development, action and change that holds relevance across the global HE sector.