Professor Elizabeth Schafer

Educational background

My research focusses around three main areas:  Shakespeare in production; women's work with Shakespeare; and Australian drama and theatre.  I am particularly interested in the different meanings Shakespeare’s plays acquire in different cultural locations – different times, different countries, different 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 theatre 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:

I also wrote the performance history of Brome's most widely performed play A Jovial Crew. Oxford University Press will be publishing an updated and re-edited version of The City Wit in 2020 and I am editing The Northern Lass for the OUP Brome edition.

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 playwrights. 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 a 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.

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