Ian Spiby

Email: spibyi@regents.ac.uk
Subject(s): Film, Media & Performance

Professional Biography

Ian Spiby is a highly experienced teacher, lecturer, administrator, manager, assessor, performer, director and researcher.

As a teacher he has taught from Year 1 children through primary and secondary to degree level: undergraduate and postgraduate. He has also for many years taught professionals and executives in industry. Student feedback for his courses is always overwhelmingly positive – the most frequent comments praising his enthusiasm, commitment and ability to convey his message in a lively, entertaining and informative manner. Together with a colleague, Neil Kitson, he has written and presented a number of programmes on drama for the BBC as well as writing articles and two books for primary school teachers on the teaching of drama. In addition to this, for over twenty years he has run courses for professionals and executives in industry on the art of presentation, a process which requires him to encourage and to develop the confidence of the participants.

As the Head of the Performance Studies Division at University of Northampton for fifteen years he is both an experienced manager and administrator. He led a team of up to twenty-five people and managed a budget of approximately £100,000 per annum. His philosophy of running his team through negotiation and collective decision-making made it the best organized and most harmonious of the Divisions within the School of the Arts.

As a senior member of the university he had responsibilities beyond the Division and he regularly is called upon to chair validations or reviews of other courses. Indeed, when the University performed major reviews of all its partner-colleges, he was on the panel for each of them. In addition to this, his role as Academic Contact for the arts courses at Northampton College combined both an advisory and an evaluative function. He has been responsible for developing the various subject teams there to bring them to a state of self-sufficiency and academic maturity. He has also performed this assessing and advisory role in other institutions by attending validations as an external panel member or in the case of the Open College Network acting as an evaluator for a period of five years.

He is both a professional performer and director. He has presented a number of programmes on national radio and performs regularly with readings of poetry and other material, often with musicians and other performers. He has directed several professional productions, including a multi-cultural event at the Lillian Bayliss Theatre in London in 2004.

Additionally, of course, his work in a busy Performance department involved directing students on a regular basis.


  • DipMus Music Open University 1999
  • M.Phil Drama University of Leicester 1982
  • B.A. (Hons) Drama University of Hull 1974
  • Licentiate of Guildhall School of Music and Drama (LGSM) 1968
  • Teaching Certificate: University of Birmingham Institute of Education 1967

Relevant Past Employment

  • 2011 – current, Visiting Lecturer, Regent's University London
  • 2007 – 2011, Part-time Lecturer in Drama, University of Northampton
  • 1991 – 2006, Head of Performance Studies Division, University of Northampton

Teaching & Course Development

Over the past five years his teaching has been in three areas: actor training, theory of drama and theatre history and (outside the academic area) Applied Theatre on a consultancy basis in business and industry. The latter has enabled him to take part in the development of the Regent's University London MA in Creative Leadership.

Research Interests

His main focus of concern has been Applied Theatre although this has been by no means his only interest. He has been engaged with Restoration and eighteenth century theatre over a long-term, he has embarked upon projects to do with world theatre and musical theatre and he has written on Shakespeare and the theatre. In his most recent work he has written about the British theatre in the 1940s and 1950s and the playwrights who were attempting to deal with the proscribed area of gay issues.


  • Spiby, I (2007). “The trouble with queers – gays in plays, 1945 – 68” in Alternatives within the Mainstream II: Postwar Queer British Theatres, Godiwala, Dimple (ed), Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Press.
  • Ackroyd, J. & Spiby, I. (2000). 'Dramatic Technique';  'Plays: The Histories'; 'Characters in Shakespeare's Plays' and 'The Tragedies'  in Shakespeare's World and Work, An Encyclopedia for Students, Visual Education Corp.
  • Kitson , N. & Spiby, I. (1997). Drama 7-11, London, Routledge
  • Kitson , N. & Spiby, I. (1995). Primary Drama Handbook, London, Watts Books

Other Outputs

  • Consultancy over a number of years with a wide range national and international of commercial organisations, for example Boots the Chemist, Avon Cosmetics, Chartered Society of Designers, Paperlink and BBC Television News