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Personal profile


Tom Gorman is an academic and theatre director currently based at Coventry University. Tom studied English Literature and Language at Queen's University Belfast before going on to complete a PhD in Theatre at the University of Ulster researching the history of non-naturalistic dramaturgy especially the concept of the 'play within a play'. In 1990, after working for some time as a freelance actor, Tom co-founded Sightlines Theatre Company, Belfast and worked with them as Artistic Director for six years. During this period he also worked as a freelance actor, writer and director with numerous theatre companies throughout Northern Ireland and as a writer for Radio Ulster. From 1997 onwards he worked as Strand Leader in Drama at the University Of Birmingham, moving on to become Course Director of the BA Drama Studies degree at Bath Spa University. From 2007 onwards he has been working as Senior Lecturer on the BA Theatre and Professional Practice Degree at Coventry University.

Tom co-founded Sightlines Theatre Company in 1990. Sightlines were a small-scale independent touring company, based in Belfast, offering an alternative to the rather insular theatre scene at the time. Focusing on international work and performances that involved the audience on a physical and intellectual level, the company were a regular feature at Belfast international festival. Described by the Ulster Newsletter as 'the most exciting company in Ireland' in 1995, the company eventually disbanded in 1996.

He is currently engaged in a research project in conjunction with the University of Tampere, Finland, using videoconferencing technology, projections and sound design to create immersive virtual rehearsal spaces. This project, now in its fourth year, was the recipient of the Gold Award for most innovative Arts and Humanities project at the 2016 Reimagine Education Awards. In December 2018 it recieved the Gold Award for best Arts and Humanities project and the Gold for Hybrid Learning at the 2018 Reimagine Education awards and was one of the 10 highest scoring projects out of 1,184 entries. The project also recieved the gold award for Internationalisation in the 2020 Guardian University Awards. In April 2021, Tom was awarded an E Culture Award from Anilla Cultural Latinoamérica-Europa en Uruguay / Global Network for his work in their Co-Creation Lab mentoring artists, academics, scientists and performers in using advanced networks to co-create events and artworks.

In 2019 he collaborated with Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan and Purdue University, Indiana on new iterations of the telepresence project.

He is a member of the organising committe of Network Performing Arts Production workshop and sits on the board of the Nordic Centre for Digital Presence.

Research Interests

Directing ; Robert Wilson ; Actor-Training ; Bertolt Brecht ; Thornton Wilder ; American Theatre ; Renaissance Theatre ; Theatre History and Theory ; Contemporary Irish Theatre ; Early 20th Century German Theatre, Telepresence, Distance Learning, Virtual Mobility

Education/Academic qualification

Postgraduate Certificate, University of Wales


Award Date: 12 Jul 2007

Doctorate, Ulster University


Award Date: 22 Nov 2006

Degree, Queen's University Belfast


Award Date: 22 Jun 1989

External positions

External Examiner, Newcastle College


External Examiner, Lancaster University



  • PR English literature
  • Theatre
  • Telepresence
  • Shakespeare
  • Brecht
  • Wilder
  • Distance Learning
  • Rehearsal
  • Directing


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  • Godot Online

    Gorman, T., Syrja, T. & Kanninen, M., 15 Mar 2020

    Research output: Practice-Based and Non-textual ResearchPerformance

  • Immersive telepresence in theatre: performing arts education in digital spaces

    Gorman, T., Syrja, T. & Kanninen, M., 23 Nov 2020, Designing and implementing virtual exchange – a collection of case studies. Beaven, A. & Helm, F. (eds.). Research-publishing.net, p. 23-35 13 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    Open Access
    11 Downloads (Pure)
  • Caesar Online

    Gorman, T. & Gizlo, D., Mar 2019

    Research output: Practice-Based and Non-textual ResearchPerformance

  • Galileo Online

    Gorman, T. & Fliotsos, A., 30 May 2019

    Research output: Practice-Based and Non-textual ResearchPerformance

  • Immersive Telepresence: A framework for training and rehearsal in a postdigital age

    Gorman, T., Syrja, T. & Kanninen, M., Oct 2019, "Blended and online education within European university networks": Overview of papers on Higher Education for the Future as presented during the Online, Open and Flexible Higher Education Conference in Madrid, October 2019. Ubachs, G. & Joosten-Adriaanse, F. (eds.). European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU), p. 237-252 16 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceedingpeer-review

    Open Access
    915 Downloads (Pure)