David Bullen

David Bullen

Dr

  • TW20 0EX

Personal profile

Personal profile

I am an academic, director, writer, and dramaturg. My practical and research interests explore myth, adaptation, feminist and queer theatre practice, and ecodramaturgies. My recent academic work has followed two overlapping strands: the interactions between contemporary British theatre and ancient Greek drama, and feminist and queer approaches to canonical texts by women who have often been marginalised in those texts' performance histories. As a theatre maker, my most recent projects have been around storytelling in the context of the climate emergency.

I have taught in the Department of Drama, Theatre, and Dance since 2013. I co-convene our MA in Theatre Directing, collaborating closely with the programme's core practitioner, Katie Mitchell. I am also the Careers and Professionalisation Lead for the Department. Previously I have been Deputy Admissions Tutor and chair of the staff-student steering group for The Student Workshop, the Department's student-led theatre company.

In 2011, I co-founded the Theatre of the Gentle Furies, a collective of artists and academics specialising in feminist and queer adaptation of myth. My adaptations of works by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes have been performed in the UK and US. It was in my capacity as a theatre maker with expertise in working with ancient Greek drama that I was a Visiting Research Associate at King’s College London (2015-2021), overseeing and professionalising the Department of Classics’ annual production of an ancient Greek play. I am a trustee for the longest-running company working with ancient Greek drama in the UK, the Actors of Dionysus. 

My work with ancient Greek drama involves extended, fruitful collaboration with colleagues from the field of Classics. At Royal Holloway, I am an associate of the Centre for the Reception of Greece and Rome, and work closely with the Centre's co-director Dr Efi Spentzou on both her Myth and Voice initiative and the supervision of a doctoral project on queering Ovid through performance. I co-convene the annual postgraduate symposium in the reception of ancient Greek and Roman drama, held in conjunction with the Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama at the University of Oxford.

Research interests

Currently I am working on two book-length projects: a monograph, Greek Tragedy as Twenty-First-Century British Theatre: Why, What, How (Liverpool University Press); and, with Professor Elizabeth Schafer, a co-authored reappraisal of the work of director Phyllida Lloyd (Arden Shakespeare), who has produced both innovative productions of Shakespeare's plays and some of the most popular theatre of the last quarter century, including Mamma Mia! and Tina. I am also editing Don Taylor's translation of Antigone for Methuen Student Editions.

Previous publications include Greek Tragedy, Education, and Theatre Practices in the UK Classics Ecology (Routledge, 2024), co-edited with Dr Christine Plastow, and a prize-winning article for the Society for Theatre Research’s journal Theatre Notebook. The latter was based on a chapter from my practice-informed doctoral thesis, a performance history of feminist theatre makers’ engagement with Euripides’ Bacchae from 1908 to the twenty-first century.

Teaching

I have taught widely across the Department of Drama, Theatre, and Dance's undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum. I regularly teach core first year UG modules Theatre & Performance Making and Theatre & Text as well as UG and PG modules on adaptation, directing, dramaturgy, tragedy, and storytelling. I have also offered sessions on practice-as-research methodologies and creative industry-engaged research for the School of Performing and Digital Arts and School of Humanities' joint postgraduate research training programme.

Alongside Professor Sigrun Wagner from the School of Business and Management and my DTD colleague Professor Liz Schafer, I co-lead the college’s Carbon Literacy Training initiative. Validated by the Carbon Literacy Project, we regularly deliver this training to staff, students, and governors in the college, as well as to theatre organisations such as the RSC, the National Theatre of Scotland, and Theatre Alibi. In June 2022, we were awarded a college team teaching commendation for the initiative.

From 2019-2022 I was part of the team that developed the college's Integrated Foundation Year in its inital three-year pilot stage.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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