Dr David Bullen

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Research interests

My research interests cohere around three key areas: Greek tragedy and its modern performance, feminist theatre-making past and present, and the circulation of narratives through time and across cultures via processes of adaptation.

My doctoral thesis, “Performing the Feminisms of Euripides’ The Bacchae in Britain,” documented hugely significant but under discussed contributions of women to the performance history of one of the most popular Greek tragedies on the contemporary stage. My case studies included the 1908 English-language premiere of the play, staged by suffragist actress Lillah McCarthy; adaptations by Maureen Duffy and Caryl Churchill; and recent productions such as those by Kneehigh Theatre Company (2004) and the Almeida Theatre (2015). This work explored the interdisciplinary fault line between theatre history, performance studies, classical reception studies, and the history of ideas. It was passed without corrections by Professor Fiona Macintosh (Oxford) and Dr Rosa Andújar (KCL).

I have published on areas such as Greek myth in popular cinema, Neo-Victorian adaptation, and performance approaches to Aristophanic comedy. Currently I am working on a book project for the Liverpool University Press that explores Greek tragedy’s renaissance in twenty-first century British theatre.

Personal profile

In addition to working as an academic and teacher, I am a practising theatre director, writer, and dramaturg. In 2011, I helped to found a London-based socialist feminist theatre company, By Jove; I am one of the company’s two Co-Artistic Directors, alongside poet and performer SJ Brady. Our work draws on myth to speak to female and queer experiences in the twenty-first century UK – past projects include a version of Othello with the lead as a gay woman of colour in the modern British military (2014); Margaret of Anjou, a ‘new play’ by Shakespeare that reworks his first tetralogy to tell the story of Queen Margaret (2016); and a one-woman show combining installation art and spoken word in a retelling of Euripides’ The Bacchae (2017). The company are currently developing a new show that explores Greek myth and queer experience via the story of Orestes and Pylades.

Outside of By Jove, I have been worked on theatre projects in the UK and the US. For example, I was recently commissioned by a theatre in New York to adapt Sophocles’ Antigone; this premiered in May 2019. Over the past few years I have had the pleasure of frequently collaborating with students in my theatre practice. In 2017 and 2018 I worked with director Rebecca McCutcheon, designer Nicola Hewitt-George, and actors from the Department of Drama, Theatre, and Dance at Royal Holloway on “Staging Suffrage,” a project celebrating theatre and theatricality in the women’s suffrage movement. Our performance work on the centenary of the Representation of the People Act 1918, the first law to give women the vote in the UK, was featured in news publications such as the Guardian, the BBC, and the Washington Post. Since 2015, I have produced the annual Greek Play at King’s College London, working closely with students from across the college to stage performances of Greek drama in the original language.

I am a member of the Theatre and Performance Research Association, the Classical Association, and the Women’s Classical Committee, as well as the British Academy-funded Art of Fragments research network. I also sit on the Board of Trustees for the Actors of Dionysus, the leading producer of ancient Greek drama in the UK for the past twenty-five years.


I have taught Drama at various levels, from children aged 4-12 to GSCE and A-level to Higher Education; I am an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Since 2013, I have been a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Drama, Theatre, and Dance at Royal Holloway, and was Teaching Fellow from 2018-2019. I am now Teaching Fellow in Humanities in the Centre for the Development of Academic Skills, helping to develop and deliver the Foundation Year programme, in addition to my role as VL in Drama. I have taught courses on subjects such as: critical theory; performance-making; the reception of violent women in theatre and film; witchcraft and magic in theatre; modern adaptations of Greek tragedy; philosophies and theorisations of tragedy; and Greek tragedy in its original context. I have also taught practical approaches to Greek drama at Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance.


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