Academic

I’m a PhD researcher at the University of Birmingham’s Shakespeare Institute, funded by the Midlands3Cities Doctoral Training Partnership. Before that, I was a member of the first cohort of the Institute’s MA in Shakespeare and Creativity.

My thesis investigates the influence of Shakespeare on the development of verse drama in Britain up to the present day. I’m particularly interested in how dramatists using this form have dealt with the problem of working in the shadow of the world’s most famous writer, and in how comparison to Shakespeare has, fairly or unfairly, affected the way more recent verse plays have been received by critics and audiences.

The creative aspect of my thesis seeks to explore what is unique, fresh and viable about the dormant form of verse drama, and to test practically the possibilities it offers for engaging theatre audiences today. My supervisors are Professor Ewan Fernie and the poet Dr Luke Kennard. I have a formal academic profile here.

In 2015 I was the Chair of BritGrad: the British Graduate Shakespeare Conference, the largest postgraduate event of its kind. I was also involved in the Shakespeare’s Institute’s James Shirley Marathon, a project where participants read and live-tweeted their responses to the entire works of the Caroline playwright James Shirley, and maintained an archive of those responses here. A chapter co-authored with Hester Bradley, based on work arising from the Shakespeare and Creativity MA exploring the history of Shakespeare celebrations,  is forthcoming in New Places: Shakespeare and Civic Creativity, a collection edited by Ewan Fernie and Paul Edmondson, in 2016.

My other research interests include:

  • Fictional depictions of Shakespeare and especially Shakespeare’s contemporaries, with a focus on Ben Jonson and Christopher Marlowe.
  • Incidental uses of Shakespeare and literary reference in general in popular music and pop culture
  • Depictions of class in post-war British literature and music
  • Contemporary poetry
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