Dr Emily Oliver
What is your role at King’s, and within the London Shakespeare Centre?
I joined King’s in 2013 as a Postdoctoral Research Associate, having studied at Royal Holloway and the Shakespeare Institute (University of Birmingham). I have co-taught on the MA module in ‘Local and Global Shakespeares’, and acted as supervisor for MA dissertations. My research focuses on Shakespeare in Germany, particularly performances in East Germany surrounding the fall of the Berlin Wall (1990), and in the immediate post-war period (1945-1949).
What first drew you to Shakespeare and Early Modern Studies?
In the final year of my Drama degree I did a Shakespeare module which explored the plays through the joint lenses of practical performance and criticism. This inspired me to apply for an MA in Shakespeare Studies, and subsequently to complete a PhD focusing on Shakespeare in performance. Since I grew up in Germany, I have always had an interest in Anglo-German cultural exchange, and the ways in which different languages and theatre traditions influence Shakespeare performance in other countries. While I was at the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford, I also worked as International Courses Lead Practitioner for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, where I delivered talks, workshops, and guided tours in English, French, and German to students of all ages and from all over the world. It really fuelled my passion for teaching Shakespeare, and hearing about other people’s encounters with his plays and poetry.
What are you currently working on? How does your research inform what we do at the London Shakespeare Centre?
I am currently writing a monograph on Anglo-German cultural exchange in occupied Germany (1945-1949). Since Shakespeare was Britain’s foremost cultural export, his works were circulated widely in print, on the stage, and on the radio in postwar Germany, forming part of the cultural traditions both countries were trying to reconnect with after the devastating conflict of the Second World War.
In 2014, I co-organised a conference on ‘Performing, Adapting, and Reviewing Shakespearean Comedy in a European Context’ at the Institute for Modern Languages Research (Senate House) together with my colleague Ben Schofield from the German Department at King’s, and three other Shakespearean colleagues. We developed this project further by running a seminar on ‘European Shakespeare – United in Diversity?’ at the European Shakespeare Research Association conference in Worcester in 2015. Building on this success, Ben and I will run a workshop on translating and performing multilingual Shakespeares as part of the Shakespeare400 festival at King’s in 2016.