Dr Will Shuler

Supervised by

  • David Wiles First/primary/lead supervisor


Personal profile


During the 2015/2016 academic year, I am teaching on DT1200 Theatre and Text 1; DT2200 Theatre and Text 2: Greek Tragedy, which explores Greek tragedy in its social context; DT2400 Theatre and Ideas 2: The Idea of Shakespeare, which examines ideas of cultural capital and Shakespearean historiography; and DT2400 Theatre and Ideas 2: Philosophy and the Arts, a joint aesthetic philosophy course with the Philosophy Department. I convene DT2400, serve on the Teaching and Learning Committee, the UG Staff/Student Committee, and am head of the third years.

I am passionate about performative means of teaching in higher education. While teaching at Brooklyn College CUNY, where I received my MA in theatre history and criticism, I taught undergraduates using the role-immersion pedagogy, Reacting to the Past, developed my Mark C. Carnes at Barnard College. The pedagogy gets students into texts and arguments by getting them into character, inviting them to be both playfully strategic and independently inquisitive. In “game mode” peer pressure is alleviated by debating ideas through the lens of a character and external research is encouraged through the competitiveness of the game.

In the Summer 2015 term I received teaching commendation for the implementation of the game “Confucianism and the Succession Crisis of the Wanli Emperor”, Reacting to the Past into DT1300 Theatre and Culture One (click for details). In the Autumn 2015 term my Greek Tragedy course played the “Threshold of Democracy: Athens in 403 BCE” game and my Idea of Shakespeare course played the “Marlowe and Shakespeare, 1592” game.

I am interested in both developing a new role-immersion game, specifically tailored to teach theatre history and historiography and examining the role-immersion teaching strategy in relationship to Jacques Rancière’s theories of universal teaching.


My research interests include theatre history, especially ancient Greek and early Western theatre; aesthetic and political philosophy, especially that of Jacques Rancière; and learning in the theatre, especially as it relates to culture and identity. 

My current project is revising my PhD dissertation into a book. The proposed monograph examines ancient Greek theatre as a tool which contributed to common knowledge in ancient Athens. I look at how learning in the ancient Attic theatres both contributed to the success of democracy at the time and also limited people's agency to think by inculcating them within very specific notions of how to perform citizenship. In it, I employ Rancière’s theories of teaching, politics, and spectatorship to demonstrate how ancient tragedy was looked to as a source for learning and how and what citizens learned. 

I am also writing a chapter for an upcoming Palgrave publication, War and Theatrical Innovation titled “The Greek tragic chorus and its training for war: movement, music, and harmony in theatrical and military performance”. The chapter examines the embodied knowledge common to institutional education, tragic choruses, the phalanx, and rowing on triremes in ancient Athens.

I recently served as the co-editor for four issues of the postgraduate theatre journal based at Royal Holloway, Platform: Journal of Theatre and Performing Arts. Along with being a print publication, Platform articles can also be accessed via our website, https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/dramaandtheatre/platform/home.aspx. Those issues included “Sensuality and Sexuality,” “Theatre Politics,” and “Performance Legacies”.

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