Elizabeth Schafer

Elizabeth Schafer


  • TW20 0EX

Personal profile

Educational background

My research focusses around Shakespeare in production; women's theatre work; Australian drama and theatre; Caroline playwright Richard Brome.  I am particularly interested in the different meanings Shakespeare’s plays acquire in different cultural locations – different times, countries, and social structures. I have written a performance history of The Taming of the Shrew  (Cambridge University Press, 2002) and Twelfth Night (Cambridge University Press, 2009).  I have  also written on women directors and their contributions to Shakespeare performance history in my MsDirecting Shakespeare (Women’s Press, 1998).  My Lilian Baylis:  A Biography (University of Hertfordshire Press, 2006) offers a completely new view of this extremely influential woman, who was one of the founders of the National Theatre, the English National Opera, Sadler’s Wells and the Royal Ballet. 

I edited The City Wit by Richard Brome for the pioneering online edition of Brome’s complete works: http://www.shef.ac.uk/hri/projects/projectpages/rbrome.html. A newly updated and edited text is forthcoming from Oxford University Press. I am also editing The Northern Lass for the OUP Brome edition, as well as a performance history of Brome's most widely performed play A Jovial Crew and an introductory essay on Brome's use of dashes to imply stage directions and pacing.

In 2013 I ran 'The Mariam Project', which marked the 400th anniversary of the publication of Elizabeth Cary's pioneering play The Tragedy of Mariam in 1613.  'The Mariam Project' consisted of a series of performances and workshops culminating in a short performance on the Globe stage in December 2013.  Some of this work was discussed in an 'Issues in Review' which I edited for Early Theatre focussing on early modern women theatre makers. My text of a 'new' play by Shakespeare - Margaret of Anjou - co-dramaturged with Philippa Kelly - received its first reading in Perth WA in February 2016 and was performe by By Jove! Theatre company in November 2016.

My Theatre & Christianity for the Theatre & ... series was published in 2019 and currently I am completing an eco-performance history of The Merry Wives of Windsor for Routledge. I will be contributing a volume on Phyllida Lloyd's Shakespeare productions to Bloomsbury's 'Shakespeare in the Theatre' series.

I have supervised research degrees in the areas of Shakespeare in production; intercultural theatre; the performance of illness; Renaissance Drama;  casting practices in contemporary theatre;  the performance history of The Bacchae; Shakespeare in Japan; ACE policy.

I was general editor of Australian Studies an online journal hosted - and now archived - by the National Library of Australia.

Before joining Royal Holloway I taught for four years in the Drama department at La Trobe University in Melbourne. I also taught at the University of Wollongong, NSW, for a year teaching English, Drama and Creative Arts students. I have taught short courses at universities in France (UFR, Tours), Brazil (USP, Sao Paolo), Canada (Ottawa), Hungary (Debrecen), and Finland (Helsinki).

I have a PGCE in Drama and English from the University of Nottingham. I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I am a trades union activist and successfully took a gender pay gap case to the Employment Tribunal in 2010. I am currently RHUL UCU Green Rep and I have been teaching Carbon Literacy Training at RHUL since May 2021.

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 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action


  • Drama
  • Shakespeare
  • Shakespeare in Performance
  • Early-modern drama
  • Women in theatre
  • Elizabeth Cary
  • Australian Theatre
  • Shakespeare and adaptation
  • Theatre
  • Theatre History
  • Richard Brome
  • Lilian Baylis
  • Carbon Literacy