Sarah Hopfinger



Dr Sarah Hopfinger (she/her) is a queer disabled artist-researcher who works across dance, live art, theatre, disability, crip, chronic pain, ecology, environmentalism, and intergenerational collaboration. Her research specialisms include:

  • ecology and performance
  • chronic pain and dance
  • cripping choreography
  • disability in performance
  • wilding performance
  • intergenerational collaborative performance
  • child and nontrained performers

Sarah's current practice-led research project, Ecologies of Pain, explores how chronic pain - in lived experience and creative practice - can contribute knowledge and insights about living and relating with wider ecological pain. She received a Carnegie Research Incentive Grant for this project.

Sarah is an award winning artist, who creates solo and collaborative performance works - sometimes performing, sometimes directing, sometimes choreographing. She often works with a diversity of collaborators, including children and adults, professional and nonprofessional performers, disabled and non-disabled people, and nonhuman materials. Her work is philosophically based in, firstly, a crip politics that embraces and celebrates disability as a valid and valuable lifeway, and, secondly, ecological and posthumanist thinking that acknowledges human's unavoidable entanglements in nonhuman life. Her aim is to practice crip politics and ecological philosophy through how and what she creates. 

Sarah regularly publishes her research in peer reviewed journals and books. Journals include Performance Research, Research in Drama Education (RiDE) and Studies in Theatre and Performance. She has chapters in books such as Diffracting New Materialisms: Emerging Methods in Artistic Research and Higher Education (Palgrave 2023), Cambridge Companion to Theatre and Ecology (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2024) and Routledge Companion to European Theatre and Peformance (Routledge, 2023).

Sarah is currently touring Pain and I nationally and internationally - a solo autobiographical dance performance that explores and celebrates the rich complexities of living with chronic pain.

Other recent work includes Wild Our Way (2017), a commission 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 (2016), 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.

She has shown her performances natinally and internationally with organisations such as Take Me Somewhere, Festival Quartiers Danses (Canada), Artfart (Iceland), The Place, The Roundhouse, Summerhall, Made In Scotland Showcase, Buzzcut.

Sarah is a researcher at RCS in the Research and Knowledge Exchange Department.



  • 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...