Biography

I am Research Fellow on the "Before Shakespeare" project, based at the University of Roehampton.  The project focusses on the first thirty years of the Elizabethan playhouses in London, from 1565-95. (www.beforeshakespeare.com).  I am also Editor for the Curtain records for Records of Early English Drama Online.

My research ranges across the Elizabethan and early Jacobean periods of English literary history and explores the relationships between theatre history and performance, philosophy, and language; it also combines literary criticism with detailed archival research.  My work addresses the relationship between early modern performance, intellectual and cultural history, and technological innovation.  My future research is focused on the Curtain playhouse and modes of "play," as well as on immigration and urban geography and the way they are manifested in various modes of performance in the period (from fencing to puppetry to play performance).

My monograph, Strangeness in Jacobean Drama, is shortly to be submitted. The book explores the historical resonances of the term "strange," from its association in the Elizabethan period with "strangers" to its post-1603 connection to suspicious Catholic practices surrounding speech and meaning and a conceptual relationship with cutting-edge technology. The concept is staged in the first decade or so of Jacobean drama through spectacular and sometimes baffling action, elaborate and rhetorically-complex language, and self-consciously bizarre narratives and plot. The word "strange" is of particular significance during a time of pervasive and wide-ranging change felt across England in the years following 1603 and 1604.  Those years are “strange” turning points: not only does a new monarch alter the national mood, but belief in language is shaken by the revelations surrounding equivocation in the wake of the Gunpowder Plot; William Hamlin deems 1603 a “watershed year” for philosophical scepticism (Tragedy and Scepticism; Palgrave, 2005), after which its reach and appeal increases; geographical exploration brings “wonders” from the new world (particularly in “disaster” and new world accounts from voyages in 1607 and 1608); and performance cultures and technologies evolve with masque displays and technological demonstrations at court.  The cultural connotations of the term are manifested in Macbeth (1604), Cymbeline (1609-10), The Tempest (1611), Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist (1611), Thomas Heywood’s Age plays (1611-13), John Webster’s The White Devil (1612), and Beaumont and Fletcher's A King and No King (1611), forming something of an early Jacobean zeitgeist.  Ultimately, the book argues for a theatre in Jacobean England in which speech and spectacle are inextricably connected, in which sensational spectacle has serious philosophical significance, and in which “strangeness” inheres as a critically unrecognised but pervasive concept.

Before arriving at Roehampton, my AHRC-funded doctorate was awarded by the University of Exeter in January 2016, on stage devices, technology, and "strangeness" in Jacobean drama, titled "Strange Devices on the Jacobean Stage: Image, Spectacle, and the Materialisation of Morality." I taught at the University of Exeter as Teaching Assistant from 2013 and as Lecturer in Renaissance Studies (E&S) from January to April 2016 and was Part Time Lecturer at Bath Spa from September 2015 until April 2016.  I was also the editorial assistant for the journal Shakespeare Bulletin from August 2013 until May 2016. 

Research interests

As part of the Before Shakespeare project, I am researching, transcribing, and recontextualising archival references related to the Elizabethan playhouses and the early years of commercial playing venues in London (1565-95).  The Before Shakespeare project website contains information about the project, its engagement with performance and archival research, and I write frequently for the project blog (www.beforeshakespeare.com). 

My wider research interests cover the relationship between performance, intellectual and cultural history, and technological innovation.  

My monograph, Strangeness in Jacobean Drama, has been invited for review by Oxford University Press and is currently under consideration at the press.  It explores the various meanings of “strangeness” in the first decade of the seventeenth century, drawing together Jacobean attitudes to philosophical scepticism, innovative technology, and ornamental rhetoric.  My future research is increasingly focused on immigration and urban geography and the way they are manifested in various modes of performance in the period (from fencing to puppetry to play performance).

I am also Editor for the Curtain documents for REED Online, and I am exploring the history of the playhouse and its environs.

Key research words/phrases: Spectacle and visual effects; rhetoric; theatre history; moral philosophy; images and visual culture; performance; print culture; genre; theatre neighbourhoods; immigration.

Teaching

University of Exeter, January-April 2016, Lecturer in Renaissance Studies (E&S). Rethinking Shakespeare (Year 1), The Poem (Year 1), Dissertation Workshops (Year 3).

Bath Spa University, September 2015-April 2016, Part Time Lecturer. Writing, Gender, and Politics, 1500-1750 (Year 1, EN4002); Critical Reading 2 (Year 2; EN5001).

University of Exeter, Teaching Assistant, January 2013-January 2016. Approaches to Criticism (Year 1 [literary theory course]; EAS1032); Desire and Power: English Lit. 1570-1640 (Year 2; EAS2026); Renaissance and Revolution (Year 2; EAS2080); Rare Books Workshop.

Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Certificate in Advanced Study: Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (9 Nov. 2015)

 

Research outputs

  1. Matter-Theatre: Conspicuous Construction in Cymbeline

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Before Shakespeare

    Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

  3. Digital humanities and non-Shakespearean theatre history

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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