Kirstin Smith grew up in Edinburgh where she attended Boroughmuir Comprehensive School. From 1995, she worked as an actor in film, television and theatre, appearing in several BBC dramas (Kidnapped, Medical Ethics, Sea of Souls). She studied English at St John's College, Cambridge, where she wrote dissertations on the short fiction of Muriel Spark and Henry James. Kirstin worked with the Playwright's Studio, Scotland, 7:84 and Oran Mor workshopping and performing new plays. In 2009-2010 she completed an MA in Text and Performance Studies at RADA and King's College, London, with a focus on playwrighting. Subsequently, she worked as a performer and dramaturg with several devising companies.

From 2012-16, Kirstin undertook a PhD at Queen Mary, University of London, supervised by Professor Nicholas Ridout. Her thesis analysed the development of stunts as performance and discourse in late nineteenth century New York. In 2014, she won the TDR (The Drama Review) Student Essay Contest for her article about an endurance walking contest at Madison Square Garden. She spent three months as a Fellow at the Kluge Center, Library of Congress undertaking archival research, and completed her PhD in 2018. Her essay, ' "He was no fool. He was a bridge jumper": Industrial fall guys in turn-of-the-century New York' was shortlisted for the British Association for Modernist Studies essay prize for early career scholars. The resulting monograph will be published by Routledge in 2019.

In 2016, Kirstin joined LDC at UEA, where she teaches dramatic literature, performance theory, feminist performance and scriptwriting. She is now planning an archival research project focused on casting.

As well as dramaturgy and performance, Kirstin maintains an interest in fiction. She co-authored Confidence, a blend of fiction and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, published by Bloomsbury in 2016, and is now working on a solo project.

Kirstin worked for eight years as an audio describer, describing theatre, museums and architecture for blind and partially sighted audience members, and training museum staff. In October 2016, she co-organised a conference, 'The Art of Access', at the Young Vic theatre. 

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