Emily Oliver

Photo of Emily Oliver

PhD title Effects of commercialism on East German theatre production of Shakespeare following reunification in 1990

Supervisors Professor Kate McLuskie and Dr Nicholas Martin

I gained my undergraduate degree in Drama and Creative Writing at Royal Holloway (University of London), before completing an MA in Shakespeare Studies at the University of Birmingham, where I also started my PhD in October 2009. Having grown up bilingual in Germany, I am interested in both English and German literature, theatre, and history, and the intercultural dialogue between these two traditions.

My research aims to test the impact of market forces on the particularly vibrant theatre culture of East Germany in transition from state subsidy to commercial pressures, following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. By analysing the work of directors such as Leander Haussmann, Katharina Thalbach and Heiner Müller, I hope to explore the relationship between theatre, society, and politics through the lens of Shakespeare in performance, not only in cultural centres such as Berlin and Weimar, but also in smaller productions throughout former East Germany. I shall examine in what ways the withdrawal of state funding has influenced not only the choice of plays from the Shakespeare canon, but also the interpretation and possible translation or adaptation of his works for the German stage, and the critical response to this.

My research is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.