Personal profile

Research interests

Key words:

British theatre since 1945; contemporary playwriting; global theatres of the real (documentary, tribunal, verbatim); theatre and censorship; theatre and religion

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

My latest book project, Theatre Censorship in Contemporary Europe: Silence and Protest, co-edited with Anne Etienne (University of Exeter Press, 2024), examines the contexts, practices, and impacts of theatre censorship in 21st-century European theatre - from Spain, the Netherlands, and Slovenia to Ireland, Russia, and the Balkans - in a context of seismic political change on the continent. My previous publications include Get Real: Documentary Theatre Past and Present (co-edited with Alison Fosyth; Palgrave, 2009), which was the first book to analyse the resurgence of documentary, tribunal, and verbatim theatres around the world in recent years, and Decades of Modern British Playwriting - the 1970s (Methuen Drama, 2012), which offers fresh critical perspectives on British theatre of the 1970s.

My publications on post-war British theatre have explored the legacy of the countercultural revolutions of 1968, theatrical responses to the Cold War, and the theatre of Howard Barker, Howard Brenton, Caryl Churchill, Harold Pinter, and Arnold Wesker, amongst others. I have also published several essays on contemporary British playwriting and religion, (post-)secularism, and cultural 're-enchantment', focusing variously on the work of Mike Bartlett, Dennis Kelly, Bryony Lavery, Anders Lustgarten, Abi Morgan, Nick Payne, and Lucy Prebble. 

In 2023, I was elected Vice President of CDE, the German Society for Contemporary Theatre and Drama in English, for a three-year term. From 2017-23, I was the founding Director of the Centre for Contemporary British Theatre at Royal Holloway, curating - with colleagues - numerous research activities, events, and conference in this broad field.

In 2022, Siân Adiseshiah (Loughborough), Jackie Bolton (Lincoln), Nicholas Holden (Greenwich), and I launched a new book series - 'Playwriting and the Contemporary: Critical Collaborations' - for 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 also work with publishers Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, as one of the Series Editors of Student Editions, to expand the range of plays available to undergraduates, theatre fans, and young readers.

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 in 2018 and was subsequently shortlisted for the Times Higher 'Outstanding Research Supervisor of the Year' award.

I'm active in sharing my research with public audiences and industry 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

Teaching and Public Engagement

I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I have thirty years' experience of teaching in higher education, and of course validation, programme design, periodic review, and external examining. I have guest-lectured in schools, run workshops 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 several years as Course Leader in Theatre Studies). I have taught internationally, including in Spain, Japan, and the United Arab Emirates.

Academic Leadership

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. In this role, I led the strategic development, and management of PGR programmes across the School, including through a successful external review, and curated an annual programme of research training and employability-related activities.