Out of the Archive and Onto the Stage: Re-visioning Early Modern Histories

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


    Recent years have seen an explosion of new dramatic work exploring early modern English history, ranging from more “serious” works of historical representation to raucous musical celebrations, and including such hits as Emilia (2018), Six (2017), Nell Gwynn (2015), and the Wolf Hall trilogy (2013). Such plays are often touted as the “unheard” story of a person relegated to the footnotes of history (e.g., Aemilia Bassano), or the chance to “remix” previously-held conceptions of historical figures, like Henry VIII’s ill-fated wives. But what is the reason for this dramaturgical turn to the 16th and 17th centuries for the 21st century stage? And, more importantly, whose stories are being told, and who continues to be excluded from the grand narrative of early modern English history?

    Drawing on work by Emma Whipday, Lucy Munro, and Clare McManus (among others), this paper explores the creative, intellectual, and ethical issues that result from telling the stories of the past for the modern audience. Taking Adrienne Rich’s theory of writing as “re-visioning” as a creative-critical starting point, I ask: What duty do we owe to the dead whose stories we tell and how, in telling these stories, might we imagine a better future?
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusUnpublished - Jun 2022
    EventBritish Graduate Shakespeare Conference: The 24th Annual BritGrad Conference -
    Duration: 23 Jun 202225 Jun 2022


    ConferenceBritish Graduate Shakespeare Conference
    Abbreviated titleBritgrad

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