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Personal profile

Research interests

Key words:

post-war and contemporary British playwriting; documentary and verbatim theatre; theatre censorship; theatre and religion

My research investigates theatre and politics within a broadly philosophical framework, focusing on post-war and contemporary British theatre, new playwriting, theatre censorship, and global theatres of the real.

In recent publications, I have explored the plays of Mike Bartlett, Rob Drummond, Anders Lustgarten, Bryony Lavery, Abi Morgan, Lucy Prebble and others in relation to debates on religion, (post)secularism, and contemporary politics. My current book project, Theatre Censorship in Contemporary Europe: Silence and Protest, co-edited with Anne Etienne, is forthcoming from University of Exeter Press in 2023.

My previous publications include Get Real: Documentary Theatre Past and Present (co-edited with Alison Forsyth; Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) which is the first volume to investigate the upsurge of documentary, verbatim, and tribunal theatres around the world over the past two decades. My research on post-war British theatre has focused on the 1960s and 70s: in particular, the legacy of 1968, theatrical responses to the Cold War, and the theatre of Howard Barker, Howard Brenton, Harold Pinter and Arnold Wesker, amongst others. My book Decades of Modern British Playwriting - the 1970s (Methuen Drama, 2012) offers detailed scrutiny of the theatre of the 1970s and fresh critical perspectives.

I am the Director of the Centre for Contemporary British Theatre at Royal Holloway. Established in 2017, the Centre organises research events, including guest speakers and symposia. Linked to this, I'm also a member of the Contemporary Playwriting Network and, in 2022, our new book series - 'Playwriting and the Contemporary: Critical Collaborations' - was launched with Liverpool University Press. The series aims to publish innovative and cross-disciplinary research that centres the contemporary as a period marker and discursive concept.

I welcome enquiries from research students. Over the past few years, I've supervised 13 PhD students to successful completion of their projects, and I'm an experienced PhD examiner nationally and internationally. I was awarded Royal Holloway's inaugural Doctoral Supervisor of the Year prize and was shortlisted for the Times Higher 'Outstanding Research Supervisor of the Year' award in 2018.

Teaching and Learning

I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I have thirty years' experience of teaching, learning, and assessment in higher education, as well as of course validation, programme design, periodic review, and external examining.

I also work with the publishers Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, as one of the Series Editors of Student Editions, to expand the range of plays available to undergraduates and younger readers.

I have guest-lectured in schools, run workshops for professional actors in industry hubs such as the Northern Actors' Centre, and led degree programmes for distance learning students at Rose Bruford College (where I worked for four years as Course Leader in Theatre Studies). Internationally, I have taught theatre practitioners and teachers in Spain, Japan, and the United Arab Emirates.

Public engagement & professional activity

I'm active in sharing my research with public audiences and developing links with theatre organisations. In recent years, I've chaired events and presented my research at the National Theatre, the V&A, the Barbican, the LSE Literary Festival, the Theatre Royal Haymarket, the Pleasance Theatre, the Chelsea Theatre, the Young Vic, the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, the Royal College of Art, and on the BBC World Service

At Royal Holloway, I have recently completed three years' service on the School Executive as Director of Postgraduate Research in the School of Performing and Digital Arts. This role entailed the leadership, development, and management of PGR programmes across the School, as well as the curation of research, training, and employability-related activities.