Richard J. Hand

The Storyteller


Professor of Media Practice & Head of Drama at The School of Art, Media & American Studies


Professor Richard J. Hand specialises in multiplatform adaptation and creative-critical work, especially the exploration of popular culture and historical performance genres.

As well as being a Professor and the Research Leader of Media Consumption at UEA, Prof Hand is is lead radio scriptwriter for 'Poe Theatre on the Air' (by the National Edgar Allan Poe Theatre) that broadcasts on NPR in the USA. This has recently been archived by the Library of Congress for its ‘historical and cultural significance’. Prof Hand has won radio drama competitions at the Penfro Festival, Ink Festival and Chatterbox Audio Theater.

Centrally involved in leading award-winning heritage and community projects, Prof Hand has also written original stage plays and published translations and adaptations of the plays of Victor Hugo, Octave Mirbeau and the Grand-Guignol Theatre.


Richard Hand deserves to be acknowledged for his skill and expertise in media arts, and theatre. He deserves to be recognised for his first-rate talent as a playwright. He understands not only the creative, but also the technical components of theatre and radio drama. - Alex Zavistovich, Artistic Director, Molotov Theatre Group

My Story

‘I’ve always been passionate about creative practice as a way to understand our world and our culture. Although I’ve an established academic career, I’ve always explored creative work as a mode to understand more fully how things work and how they matter.

I’ve loved reconstructing historical performance practice. This has included radio plays broadcast fully live in the 1940s style. Reconstructions of the Grand-Guignol horror theatre. And restaging the great Victorian stage illusion "Pepper’s Ghost" in its original London venue.

I'm deeply opposed to the idea of the ivory tower. Throughout my career, I've been keen to involve local communities as collaborators, participants and storytellers.’


Key Projects

Prof Hand is the lead scriptwriter of ‘Poe Theatre on the Air’, a series of radio dramas by the National Edgar Allan Poe Theatre streamed on and in the USA. The production company is based in Baltimore, a city closely associated with Poe and now hub to cultural and heritage industries related to him. The series has been archived by the Library of Congress for its ‘cultural and historical importance’.
Prof Hand was the Director of this AHRC award-winning project, a collaboration between the University of South Wales, Cardiff Council Bereavement Services and Wonderbrass community music group.


Prof Hand was an actor and sound designer for this Shakespeare Nation play that brought together refugee, transgender and academic communities for a special production. Working with practitioners from Norwich Theatre Royal and the Royal Shakespeare Company, the groups explored their own links with Romeo and Juliet and imagined a world filled with new colours, new freedoms, new loves - a melting pot of cultures and gender.


Prof Hand has been involved with a variety of creative projects, including radio dramas and Halloween events.


Thinking Without Borders

‘Collaboration is an essential part of meaningful creative research. Interdisciplinarity enables you to see everything from a different perspective. It’s by assimilating these different points of view that we’re able to create distinctive, paradigm shifting advances in cultural knowledge.’


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