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Biography

I am a Professor of English and Director of the London Shakespeare Centre here at King’s. I studied at the Universities of Birmingham (BA) and Kansas (MA) and at Wadham College, Oxford (DPhil). My first non-temporary academic post was at the University of Newcastle. I took up a lectureship at King’s in (gulp) 1995 and, well, I’m still here.

I have held fellowships at the Huntington Library and the Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University, and have received grants from the AHRC, Leverhulme Trust and Australian Research Council. I am a visiting professor at the University of Queensland and a Fellow of the English Association and of the Royal Society of Arts.

Research 

I am a literary critic and textual editor. My primary interests lie in early modern theatre, particularly Shakespeare. I have worked on Shakespearean afterlives, reception and performance history, on commemoration and cultural memory and on historical aspects of the idea of ‘global’ Shakespeare. I also work across periods and genres on late-life creativity and in particular on the concept of ‘late style’ and its shortcomings.

By way of complete contrast, I am currently working on a cultural history of cormorants and pelicans.

My publications include The Politics of Unease in the Plays of John Fletcher (1994), Shakespeare and the Idea of Late Writing: Authorship in the Proximity of Death (2007) and, most recently, the co-written Antipodal Shakespeare: Remembering and Forgetting in Britain, Australia and New Zealand, 1916-2016 (2018). I am a general textual editor of the Norton Shakespeare (3rd edition, 2015) and a general editor of Arden Early Modern Drama, a series of editions of plays complementing the Arden Shakespeare. I have edited Shakespeare and Fletcher’s Henry VIII for Arden Shakespeare (2000) and both 1 Henry IV (2003) and Romeo and Juliet (2016) for Norton Critical Editions. I have also edited or co-edited several collections of essays, including most recently Women Making Shakespeare (2014), Late Style and its Discontents: Essays in Art, Literature and Music (2016) and Creativity in Later Life: Beyond Late Style (2019).

I am Principal Investigator for a major research project, ‘Shakespeare in the Royal Collections’ (2018-21), funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, working with Co-I Prof Kate Retford (History of Art, Birkbeck) and two postdocs, Dr Sally Barnden and Dr Kirsten Tambling, to investigate the Shakespeare holdings at Windsor and other royal palaces and to provide a history of the mutual legitimation of two of Britain’s best-known hegemonic cultural phenomena – Shakespeare and the monarchy – in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Teaching & PhD Supervision

I teach early modern drama and Shakespeare at all levels, with a particular interest in questions of gender, genre, collaboration, performance and politics. Modules on which I teach include ‘A Mad World, My Masters: Performing Culture in Jacobean England’ (2nd year), ‘Late Shakespeare’ (3rd year) and ‘Theatre, Gender and Culture in Jacobean London’ (MA).

I welcome applications from prospective PhD students working across the range of my interests.

Public Engagement

I have been fortunate to act as dramaturg/literary advisor for productions at the RSC, Globe and Old Vic, and I have appeared on radio and television discussing Shakespeare and early modern theatre.

My most recent appearance on radio, for Melvyn Bragg’s long-running Radio 4 series ‘In Our Time’, can be heard on the BBC Sounds website

In 2016, I created and directed Shakespeare400, a King’s-led consortium of twenty-five major London cultural and creative organisations marking the Shakespeare Quatercentenary, for which, inter alia, I co-curated an exhibition, ‘By Me, William Shakespeare’, with The National Archives and co-edited Shakespeare in Ten Acts, the book accompanying the British Library’s 2016 Shakespeare exhibition.

I have worked closely with Shakespeare’s Globe for over twenty years, and in 2016 I was the recipient of the Globe’s Sam Wanamaker Award. In 2000, Patrick Spottiswoode, director of Globe Education, and I created the MA Shakespeare Studies that has been taught collaboratively by King’s and Shakespeare’s Globe ever since. One of the pleasures of creating the Shakespeare400 consortium in 2016 was discovering how many of our graduates from the MA now work in various capacities for London’s leading cultural organisations (National Theatre, Barbican, Globe, etc).