Professor Tiffany Stern

Personal profile

Research Interests

I am a literary critic, editor, theatre historian and book historian, specialising in the dramas of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, particularly Jonson, Brome, Middleton and Nashe. I also write on seventeenth and eighteenth century playwrights and editors, including Wycherley, Farquhar, Sheridan, Theobald and Johnson. Looking at the theatrical contexts that bring plays about – by Shakespeare and others – is a keen interest of mine. Having researched the theatrical documents put together by authors and others in the process of writing and learning a play, I am repeatedly drawn back to actors’ parts, the documents consisting of cues and speeches from which actors learned their roles. I also write on prologues, epilogues, songs, letters, arguments, plots and other stage documents; acting methods; theatrical props; and playhouse architecture. Future research includes a book on early modern theatre and popular entertainment, Playing Fair: Fairs and Drama in 16th-18th Century London, for Cambridge University Press, exploring the cultural exchanges between playhouses and fairgrounds, and a book on Shakespeare Beyond Performance, also for Cambridge University Press, putting 'literary' publication in the context of other immediate responses to Shakespearean performance – ballads, drolls, puppet shows, notes and commonplaces and  'noted' texts.


My monographs are Rehearsal from Shakespeare to Sheridan (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2000), Making Shakespeare (New York and London: Routledge, 2004), [with Simon Palfrey] Shakespeare in Parts (Oxford: OUP, 2007; winner of the 2009 David Bevington Award for Best New Book in Early Drama Studies) and Documents of Early Modern Performance (Cambridge: CUP, 2009; winner of the 2010 David Bevington Award for Best New Book in Early Drama Studies). I have co-edited a collection of essays with Farah Karim-Cooper, Shakespeare’s Theatres and the Effects of Performance (2013), and have written over 50 chapters articles on sixteenth to eighteenth century dramatic literature.


As text and performance are, for me, closely linked, I have long been an editor, and have edited a range of sixteenth- to eighteenth-century plays, most with substantial scholarly introductions: the anonymous King Leir for Globe Quartos (2003), Richard Sheridan’s The Rivals for New Mermaids (2004), George Farquhar’s Recruiting Officer for New Mermaids (2010), William Congreve’s Country Wife (2014, intro only), Richard Brome’s A Jovial Crew for Arden Early Modern Drama (2014). Since 2006, I have been General Editor of the New Mermaids play series; since 2012, I have been an Advisory General Editor of Arden Shakespeare 3. I am General Editor, with Peter Holland and Zachary Lesser, of the next complete Arden Shakespeare series (Arden Shakespeare 4).


This year, ‘Shakespeare 400’ (the anniversary of Shakespeare’s death), I have given over 40 talks including university papers (at King’s College, London; Birkbeck, London; University of Chester, Chester; TORCH, Oxford; Emory, Atlanta, USA; Stanford, California, USA; University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA; Wellesley College, Boston, USA; Geissen University, Germany; Mannheim University, Germany); conference papers; talks to schools (National Theatre Shakespeare Day for 6th Formers; Ardingly College Shakespeare Conference; Altrincham School, Manchester; Prince’s Teaching Institute Study Day for New Teachers); and ‘public engagement’ talks at museums, festivals and bookshops (Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum Annual Lecture; Science Museum/Victoria and Albert Main Lecture; Soane Museum lecture; Blackwells Bookshop discussion; South by Southwest Festival, Austin, Texas, panel talk; Oxford Festival of the Arts ‘Shakespeare walk’; Weston Library, Oxford, dialogue with director). I gave the British Academy Shakespeare Lecture for the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth (Sam Wanamaker Theatre, 2014); and the ‘Annual Birthday Lecture’ for the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC, USA (Folger Shakespeare Library, 2016). In addition to giving annual invited and plenary talks at a range of international universities, I have held several visiting professorships in the USA, New Zealand, and Australia.


I have supervised doctorates on eighteenth century book history, warrior women in early modern drama, early modern Coronation literature, the publishers of Shakespeare’s first folio, Carolean stage warfare, Jonson in parts, and English translations of Moliere amongst others. I welcome enquiries from graduate students on these, any of the subjects outlined above, and related 16-18th century topics.

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