Mr David Bullen

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Research interests

My primary research interest is in the cultural reception of Greek tragedy in Britain from the late 19th century to the present day. My thesis focuses specifically on one of Euripides' final plays, The Bacchae, exploring feminist engagements from the text's English-language premiere in 1908 onward. This work sits on the interdisciplinary faultline between Drama and Classics, and incorporates research into theories and methods of adaptation, feminist theatre practice, and contemporary re-imaginings of Greek myth. I am also interested in the representation of gender and sexuality in adaptations of Greek myth more generally, particularly in popular media such as Hollywood film, children's literature, and comic-books. My thesis is supported by a college fee waiver scholarship and while studying I have received two further funding awards: one in 2014 to attend an international conference at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, and the Una Ellis-Fermor Award in 2017, which funded a research trip to the archives of the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin.

My work as a director, writer, and dramaturg, while not a formal element of my thesis, nevertheless informs it. Since 2010, I have been involved in a number of practical engagements with The Bacchae, exploring the play from a variety of different approaches. This sits alongside my other work as a theatre practitioner, much of which engages with Greek tragedy and myth. I have advised and acted as dramaturg on a number of productions of Greek drama, and in 2017 was invited to become Guest Archive Associate at Oxford University's Archive for Performances of Greek and Roman Drama, curating an exhibition on the performance history of The Bacchae.

Personal profile

After completing both my BA in Drama and Creative Writing and Theatre Research MA at Royal Holloway, I co-founded By Jove Theatre Company, a London-based socialist-feminist performance ensemble. I am the current Co-Artistic Director of the company. Our work has ranged from reinterpretations of Greek tragedy and Shakespeare to pantomime versions of Jane Austen. I have contributed adaptations of Sophocles' Electra and Aeschylus' Oresteia for the company's work, as well as directing a number of the shows we have produced. In addition to my role in By Jove, I have worked as a freelance writer and director for projects in London, Bristol, and the south east.

Since 2015, I have been the Executive Producer of the annual Greek Play at King's College London, an event that has gathered an international reputation for excellence since its inception in 1953. In my first year at KCL I expanded the Classics Department's theatre output by inaugurating an annual Reception Play, which sees the staging of an English-language text inspired by the ancient world. Also in 2015, I took part in the Théâtre du Soleil's École Nomade, working closely with acclaimed director Ariane Mnouchkine and actors from the company. 

Teaching

I have been teaching Drama at various levels since 2010. I have taught GSCE and A-level students, as well as children aged 4-12. Since 2013, I have been a Visiting Lecturer in the Drama Department at Royal Holloway. There, 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; the philosophy of tragedy; and Greek tragedy in its original context. Since 2015, I have supervised a number of written research projects undertaken by PDIS students in the Centre for the Development of Academic Skills. Beyond Royal Holloway, I have taught practical approaches to Greek drama at Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance.

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