I combine extensive professional experience in the creative industries with comprehensive academic education. I am a trained actor (Equity name Cas Harkins) from a leading British drama school, with many years of experience in the profession, encompassing television, film, theatre, radio, and adverts. I was part of the In-Yer-Face theatre moment of the 1990s, and played the leading role of Hippolytus in Sarah Kane’s Phaedra’s Love (1996, directed by Kane herself) and David in Anthony Neilson’s unpublished play Hooverbag (1996). I also played one of the leads in a feature film and was one of the regular cast of the Scottish soap opera River City.
I have recently completed an AHRC-funded doctoral research at the University of Reading. My thesis explores the rehearsal process of director and playwright Anthony Neilson, using filmed footage of rehearsals and interviews. It focuses on issues of playwriting and authorship; the relationships between directing and acting; how improvisation can be used as a compositional tool; and the fundamental role actors play in the devising process.
My academic research brings together a range of methodologies and critical frameworks, such as original interviews, archive research, ethnographic documentary observation of rehearsal processes, close textual analysis, and post-dramatic theory. My further research interests include In-Yer-Face theatre and contemporary British theatre, performance analysis, rehearsal and devising processes of other contemporary playwrights, directors and theatre companies, and the practitioner’s viewpoint captured via oral history. I co-author the blog strand "What Actors Do" for CST Online.
My combination of practical and academic expertise makes me a versatile, cross-disciplinary researcher and teacher, enabling me to produce a critical account of traditionally marginalised issues within scholarship and pedagogy. What underpins my work is the aim to bring the practitioner’s perspective into closer dialogue with scholarship, to help foster better mutual understanding and recognition, and create new practice-based knowledge.
I welcome enquiries from prospective postgraduate students on my research interests.
- BA(Hons) University of Strathclyde
- MA University of Strathclyde
- PhD University of Reading.
- Diploma in Dramatic Art - Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
Research and academic outputs
Cassidy, G (2021) Contemporary rehearsal practice: Anthony Neilson and the devised text. Routledge, Abingdon. ISBN 9780367408527
Cassidy, G and Knox, S (2019) 'An actor diversifies: a diachronic examination of the work and career of Tony Curran.' In: Fife Donaldson, L and Walters, J, eds. Television performance. Red Globe Press, London, pp. 168-187. ISBN 9781137608192
Knox, S and Cassidy, G (2019) 'Game of Thrones: investigating British acting.' In: Hilmes, M, Hills, M and Pearson, R, eds. Transatlantic television drama: industries, programs and fans. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 181-200. ISBN 9780190663131
Cassidy, G (2017) 'In good company: the authorial process of Anthony Neilson.' In: Reid, T, ed. The theatre of Anthony Neilson. Bloomsbury, London, pp. 159-170. ISBN 9781472570307
Cassidy, G and Knox, S (2018) 'Phil Davis: the process of acting.' Critical Studies in Television: The International Journal of Television Studies, 13 (3). pp. 315-332. ISSN 1749-6039
Cassidy, G (2013) 'Psychological liminality in Anthony Neilson's 'The wonderful world of dissocia'.' International Journal of Scottish Theatre and Screen, 6 (1). pp. 54-81. ISSN 2046-5602
Cassidy, G (2013) The role of the actor in Antony Neilson's "process". In: Turning the Page: Creating New Writing 1945-2013, 13 -14 September 2013, University of Reading, Reading, England.
Cassidy, G (2013) Filming narrative: the wonderful world of documenting Anthony Neilson's "process". In: TaPRA Conference, 4 -6 September 2013, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow, Scotland.
Cassidy, G (2013) Psychological liminality in Anthony Neilson's 'The wonderful world of dissocia'. In: Haggis Hunting: 50 Years of New Playwriting in Scotland, 4 - 6 April 2013, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland.