Professor Warden completed her PhD at the University of Edinburgh in 2007, supported by a University Scholarship, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at Edinburgh in 2009. She became a Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Drama at the University of Lincoln in 2010 and, later, a Senior Lecturer/Reader in Drama at De Montfort University. She joined Loughborough University in 2018 as part of the Excellence 100 campaign. She is former Chair of the British Association for Modernist Studies, current Loughborough academic lead for the Arts Culture and Heritage Theme of the Universities Civic Agreement, and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Professor Warden's research interests are eclectic, crossing disciplinary and methodological borders. She is the author of three monographs: 'British Avant-Garde Theatre' (Palgrave MacMillan 2012), 'Modernist and Avant-Garde Performance: an introduction' (Edinburgh UP 2016) and the British Academy-funded 'Migrating Modernist Performance: British Theatrical Travels through Russia' (Palgrave MacMillan 2016) which won the Society for Theatre Research's Anthony Denning Award. She is also co-editor of 'Performance and Professional Wrestling' (Routledge 2016) and the 'Edinburgh Companion to Modernism in Contemporary Theatre' (Edinburgh UP 2023). She is the Primary Investigator of the British Academy-funded Health and Wellbeing in Professional Wrestling which aims to conduct a supportive healthcheck of British wrestling. Her work has been published in a range of journals, including, Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health; Modernism/modernity; The Journal of American Culture; and Performance Research.
Professor Warden is co-founder of the Arts Council-funded Wrestling Resurgence project which seeks to create engaging, theatre-led wrestling shows while being industry leaders in equitable practices of wellbeing and inclusion. As such she appears regularly on television, radio and podcasts. Most recently she co-hosted the first parliamentary event on professional wrestling at the UK Houses of Parliament with the All Party Parliamentary Group for Wrestling and Playfight Wrestling School. She regularly gives talks and workshops about public engagement, most recently as a visiting professor at the University of Malta.
Professor Warden has supervised both traditional and practice-led PhDs to completion. She currently supervises doctoral candidates in: the use of storytelling to explore wrestling; contemporary performance practice as a tool to uncover matrilineal genealogies; the intersection of spirituality and storytelling; sculpture and physical culture history; Indian performance practices as political intervention; and the use of documentary theatre to analyse the refugee crisis.