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It’s All Allowed: The Performances of Adrian Howells




“The publication is a not just equally fascinating and important; for those wanting to engage in acts of intimate performance, it’s possibly the most comprehensive reference book available….Some bits made me cry, some bits challenged me with the complexity of their thought processes, the vast majority fascinated me. I was repeatedly moved, bored, stirred, enlightened and more. As I read, the thing that struck me most was how we need this collection of essays, opinions, perspectives.
Jo Verrent, Huffington Post 2016

“The book celebrates not just his pioneering approach to intimate and one-on-one performance but also his generosity as a performer and a collaborator, and the way his own mental health issues were intrinsic to his work. It is, as Adrian himself would have said, “gorge-arse”… It is not just a celebration of an extraordinary body of work but also a handbook for those working in the tricky, ethically fraught area of intimate performance; of how to negotiate the territory in order to explore the greatest of all possibilities and yet also ensure the safety of audiences and makers.”
Lyn Gardner, The Guardian 2016

“This is a big, thoughtfully executed, extravagant, beautifully designed and produced, and if I may be permitted to borrow the term, thoroughly ‘gorge-arse’ book.”
Alison Jeffers, New Theatre Quarterly 2017

It’s All Allowed proves itself something more than a posthumous book. It becomes a living archive of one man’s intimate career.”
TDR/The Drama Review, 2018


The judges felt that the collection was an intimate response to Howells’s work, but one that is also a profound meditation on the potential effects of performance itself. Carefully curated with a significant eye to detail … This labour of love is a critical volume that will be useful to readers; it is also a beautiful object in its own right”.
Dee Heddon and Dominic Johnson win the TaPRA Prize for Editing 2017

Adrian Howells (1962–2014) was one of the world’s leading figures in the field of one-to-one performance practice – the act of staging an event for one audience participant at a time. Developed over more than a decade, Howells’ award-winning work initiated new challenges and innovations in performance art, “intimate theatre,” and socially engaged art.

It’s All Allowed is the first book devoted to Howells’ remarkable achievements and legacy. Contributors here testify to the methodological, thematic and historiographical challenges posed by Howells’ performances. Citing his permissive mantra as its title, It’s All Allowed includes new writing from leading scholars and artists, as well as writing by Howells himself, an extensive interview, scores, and visual materials, which together offer new insight into Howells’ ground-breaking process.

Read Articles and Reviews on the book


The book includes contributions from: Stewart Laing, Jon Cairns, Caridad Svich, Helen Iball, Rachel Zerihan, Marcia Farquhar, Kathleen Gough, Robert Walton, Rosana Cade, Fintan Walsh, Lucy Gaizely, Gary Gardiner, Ian Johnston, Shelley Hastings and Jackie Wylie, Stephen Greer, Tim Crouch, Laura Bissell, Jess Thorpe and others, Nic Green, and Jennifer Doyle.


Documentation from the London launch of the publication featuring presentations from Adrian’s collaborators and colleagues Deirdre Heddon & Dominic Johnson, Katy Baird, Nic Green and Ella Finer is now available to view online.


Live Art Development Agency and Intellect Books, 2016. 336 pages, paperback, colour images included throughout, 18 x 24cm.

ISBN 9781783205899

This publication is the fourth in the Intellect Live book series. Intellect Live is a collaboration between Intellect Books and the Live Art Development Agency. The series is characterized by lavishly illustrated and beautifully designed books that are created through close collaborations between artists and writers, and that are the first substantial publication dedicated to the artists’ work.


View other titles in the Intellect Live series.


It’s All Allowed is part of a legacy project funded by Creative Scotland, LADA, the University of Glasgow, Battersea Arts Centre, the Arches, National Theatre of Scotland, the Society for Theatre Research, and Queen Mary University of London.


Trade orders: Intellect Books. Find the details on Unbound Trade Orders and Distribution Information page.