I trained at Oxford, where as an undergraduate I won the Charles Oldham Shakespeare Prize in 1981. My doctoral thesis, on the development of Shakespeare’s reputation from the Restoration to David Garrick’s Stratford Jubilee, was supervised by Stanley Wells (then visiting Oxford from the Shakespeare Institute in order to edit Shakespeare’s complete works for Oxford University Press), and much of it was written during two years spent as a visiting scholar and teacher at Harvard. In 1987 I married Nicola Watson, now president of the British Association for Romantic Studies and a major authority on literary tourism, among much else, with whom I sometimes co-write (in between co-parenting our twin daughters).
After Harvard we worked at a number of other North American universities (principally Indiana, Northwestern, and the University of Illinois at Chicago), and held research fellowships at the University of California, Los Angeles, before returning to Britain in 1996, where I took up a professorship in Renaissance drama at the Roehampton Institute. From there I moved in 2005 to Birkbeck College, University of London (where I convened a new masters programme in Shakespeare and contemporary performance, taught in collaboration with Shakespeare’s Globe), before being appointed to the Directorship of the Shakespeare Institute in 2011. I have held grants and fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the British Academy, the American Philosophical Society, the Society for Theatre Research, and the Leverhulme Trust, have taught as a visiting professor at Peking University in China and at Lund University in Sweden, and have served on the programme committee of the Shakespeare Association of America.
I am a founder and board member of the European Shakespeare Research Association; the Academic Dean of the Shakespeare programme at the British-American Drama Academy; a regular book and theatre reviewer for the BBC and for the London Review of Books; general editor, with Dympna Callaghan, of the Palgrave Shakespeare Studies monograph series; and I have served on the editorial board of Shakespeare Quarterly, and continue to serve on the boards of Memoria di Shakespeare, Sederi, and Shakespeare Survey. For the latter I reviewed every major production of a Shakespeare play in England between 1999 and 2007