Sarah Hopfinger

Contemporary Performance Practice


Sarah is a performance practitioner, researcher and lecturer, with specialisms in ecological performance, intergenerational practice and chronic pain and dance. Her research interests include:

  • performance and ecology
  • chronic pain and disability in performance and dance
  • (re)wilding performance
  • directing
  • collaboration and devised performance
  • intergenerational practice
  • child and nontrained performers

Sarah's current practice-led research, Ecologies of Pain, explores how lived experiences of chronic pain can contribute knowledge about connecting and relating to wider ecological pain.

Her practice sits between contemporary performance, live art and choreography. She makes solo performance, and directs and co-devises performances with a diversity of collaborators, including children and adults, professional and nonprofessional performers, disabled and non-disabled people, and nonhuman materials. Inclusion, collaboration and diversity underpin her approach. Her work is politically and philosophically based in ecological thinking: she aims to enact our human entanglements in wider environmental and social ecologies through how and what she creates.

Sarah has published and presented internationally on her research, with publications in journals such as Performance Research, Research in Drama Education (RiDE) and Studies in Theatre and Performance.

Recent performance work includes Pain and I (2020), a solo dance performance that explores her relationship to her chronic pain, and Unlikely Duets: Laura and Lauren (2018, Imaginate), for which she collaborated with Laura Bradshaw to devise a duet performed by Laura and 13 year-old Lauren McCreath. Other recent work includes Making Routes (2017) and Wild Life (2016). For Making Routes she was commissioned by Battersea Arts Centre, South London Gallery and Oasis Play to devise a relaxed performance in collaboration with an ensemble of disabled and non-disabled young performers between 6 and 23 years old. The production explored play-fighting through dance and activities with lots of recycled foam off-cuts. It challenged who gets to play-fight and be wild in the context of disability. For Wild Life, produced by Platform, Sarah directed and co-devised an intergenerational dance performance with 8 professional and nonprofessional performers between 9 and 70 years old. The piece was an exploration, celebration and embodiment of wildness. Wild Life formed part of her doctoral practice-led research into ecological performance practice.

Sarah is a lecturer in Research and Contemporary Performance Practice at RCS, and is a visiting lecturer at the University of Glasgow.



  • PhD, University of Glasgow

    Performance (in) ecology: a practice-based approach

    1 Oct 2012 - 15 May 2017

Supervisor for

Beyond the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland...