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Communications, Drama and Film

Photo of Dr Caleb Lee

Dr Caleb Lee

Lecturer in Drama (E&S)


01392 722051


I am an academic and creative producer working at the intersection of the arts and young people, with diverse experiences spanning Southeast/East Asia and the UK. As a recipient of the National Arts Council scholarship, I earned my doctorate from Royal Holloway University of London, focusing on Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA). My work now cuts across the creative industries, applied performances, creative arts youth work, and digital technologies, with particular interests in popular culture, musical theatre, amplifying global majority voices, and promoting young people's health and wellbeing. Additionally, I serve as the department's Student Support for Racial Equality and Inclusion and hold the role of Mental Health First Aider.

I am currently leading a research project for the 'Diversity within TYA' strand as part of the ASSITEJ Global Advocacy Project (2023-2024).

I am also 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 joining the University of Exeter in November 2022, I was Creative Youth Work Researcher at Spotlight Creative Youth Services, in partnership with Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), where I led an Arts Council funded project that focused on increasing inclusivity and relevance for young people accessing cultural provision. From 2018-2021, I was Research Associate at Rose Bruford College TYA Centre. And from 2009-2017, I was Lecturer in the School of Dance and Theatre, LASALLE College of the Arts (Singapore). 

Beyond the academy, I have over a decade of leadership experience in the creative industries, 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 at Polka Theatre and as Associate Researcher of the International Inclusive Arts Network (IIAN) and Rose Bruford College TYA Centre. I am lead researcher and a member of the Asian TYA Network.

I also review theatre and dance productions for various platforms and serve as an assessor and super assesor (TYA category) for the Off-West End Awards.

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  • All aspects of Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA)
  • Creative Producing 
  • Creativity, creative industries and cultural policies
  • Musical Theatre
  • Disney Studies
  • Popular culture and contemporary performance
  • Applied performance and socially engaged practice

Key Publications

Book Chapters

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)

Journal Articles

Lee, C. (2023). Creative Youth Work: Enhancing Creativity, Participation and Inclusion in Community and Youth Settings. Performing Arts: Practice, Education and Research (PA:PER) 2(1), 165–180

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 (

Lee, C. (2019). Creative Activities and the impact on Audience Development in Naha (Okinawa). Japan: Japan Foundation. Translated:

Lee, C. (2019). Summary Report: The State of Theatre for Young Audiences in Southeast Asia. Japan: Japan Foundation

Research through practice

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. 

Research Projects

Creative Youth Work: Increasing Inclusivity and Relevance for Young People Accessing Cultural Provisions, Mar-Nov 2022

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.

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I am open to discussing  reearch proposals and projects within my research expertise. 

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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 FestivalLittle 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 2010­–2023, I gave 24 papers (of which 15 International and 9 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 WoodChildren’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 TheatreInternational Arts Manager Magazine, 4 June. 

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