Gheorghe Williams

Gheorghe Williams

Department of Drama and Theatre Arts
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

PhD title: British Political Theatre and the Gothic Mode, 2000-2022 
Supervisor: Dr David Pattie and Dr Fabio Camilletti (University of Warwick)
PhD Drama and Theatre Studies


  • BA (Hons) English and Theatre Studies (International), University of Leeds
  • MA Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Literary Studies, University of Durham


I began my undergraduate studies in literature and theatre at the University of Leeds in 2014. From 2016 to 2017, I undertook a year-long programme of international study at California State University, Monterey Bay, where I studied British literature (from an American cultural-historical perspective), speech and rhetoric, American-indigenous literature and horror cinema. In 2018, I began my MA in contemporary literature at Durham University, graduating in 2020 with distinction. My Masters’ thesis examined 1990s British playwriting from a Gothic perspective, using three case studies: David Greig’s Europe (1994), Sarah Kane’s Blasted (1995) and Martin Crimp’s Attempts on Her Life (1997).


I am a Teaching Associate (22/23) on the first-year UG module ‘LC Landmarks of Theatre and Performance (33521)’, which surveys key productions and developments in theatrical history. In addition to leading weekly seminar discussions, I will also deliver the final lecture of the module, on ‘Popular Theatre, Canonicity and the Gothic’. Focusing on Stephen Mallatratt’s The Woman in Black (Fortune Theatre, 1989-present), the lecture situates the play within a history of notoriously hostile relations between ‘canonical’ drama and theatrical Gothic, while also examining the play’s enduring influence on supernatural drama in the twenty-first century. 

I have also worked as a Hybrid Classroom Assistant (21/22) on the second-year UG module ‘LH 21st Century British Theatre (29415)’, supporting seminar discussions between the in-person classroom and students attending virtually. 

Outside of the university I have worked for The Brilliant Club’s National Tutoring Programme as a GCSE English tutor, teaching Victorian literature, creative writing and non-fiction writing.


My research focuses on the conventions, theories and histories of Gothic performance, with a particular concentration in contemporary drama and theatre. My doctoral thesis examines the politicality of twenty-first-century Gothic drama in Britain, considering large-scale Gothic spectacles alongside the stage dramas of emerging and established political playwrights (including Caryl Churchill, Mike Bartlett, debbie tucker green, Mel Pennant, Stef Smith, Jasmine Lee-Jones and Martin McDonagh, among others); as well as multiple works by theatre companies such as Imitating the Dog and Proper Job Theatre. Drawing from MaryBeth Inverso’s early critical study of The Gothic Impulse in Contemporary Drama (1990), I use Sarah Grochala’s notion of ‘liquid dramaturgies’ (2017) to propose a new theoretical framework for the analysis of post-millennial Gothic theatre. Through a series of case studies, ranging from Churchill’s Far Away (2000) to tucker green’s ear for eye (2018), I argue that the ideologies, forms, aesthetics and effects of Gothic drama and political dramaturgy are more closely aligned than is currently recognised.

Through its Gothic theatrical lens, my thesis draws from a number of fields that are also representative of my broader research interests. These include queer theory, post/feminist theatre, ecocriticism and ecodramaturgy, postcolonialism, contemporary playwriting, popular theatre, phenomenology and affect studies.

Other activities


  • International Gothic Association (IGA)
  • Society for Theatre Research (STR)


  • Co-founder & administrator (2019-2021), Midlands Network of Popular Culture
  • Co-organiser of the Midlands Network of Popular Culture Inaugural Forum, 13 August 2020
  • Co-organiser of the Midlands4Cities Digital Research Festival, 13-14 July 2020, including role as co-organiser/joint chair of the Creative Showcases
  • University of Birmingham rep, Midlands4Cities Student Advisory Forum (2020-2021)
  • EDACS Peer Mentor for PhD and MRes students in the Drama and Theatre Arts department
  • Postgraduate Ambassador for DTA at University Open Days (2021-2022)

Public Engagement

Conference presentations:

  • ‘Spectral Dramaturgy: Mary Shelley as Gothic Dramatist in Rona Munro’s Frankenstein (2019)’, Progressive Connexions: Spirituality and the Supernatural, Online Conference (20-21 February 2021)
  • ‘“It’s not the animals drawing blood”: Staging the Ecogothic in Stef Smith’s Human Animals (2016)’, Drama and Theatre Arts Virtual PGR Symposium, University of Birmingham (3 June 2020)
  • ‘Dorian Gray’s Anatomy: Augmented Masculinities and Mental Health in Proper Job Theatre’s Dorian (2019)’, Reimagining the Gothic 2020: Bodies and Genders, Sheffield University (accepted; postponed due to COVID-19)
  • ‘Performing the Unspeakable: Gothic Theatricalities as a Language for Sexual Trauma’, Gothic Spectacle and Spectatorship One-Day Symposium, Lancaster University (1 June 2019) 

Panel Chairing & Organisations

  • Otherness, Healing and Community, Progressive Connexions: Spirituality and the Supernatural, Online Conference (20-21 February 2021) – Panel Chair
  • Historical Theatre and Performance Cultures, Midlands Network of Popular Culture: Midlands Academic Lecture Series, Online Event (2 December 2020) – Panel Chair & Co-organiser
  • New Approaches to Jazz Studies, Midlands Network of Popular Culture Inaugural Forum, Online Symposium (13 August 2020) – Panel Chair & Co-organiser
  • Creative Showcase, Midlands4Cities Digital Research Festival (13-14 July 2020) – Joint Chair and Event Co-organiser
  • Music and Society, Midlands4Cities Digital Research Festival (13-14 July 2020) – Panel Chair
  • The Gothic, Truth and Control, ‘Gothflix’ One-Day Conference, Lancaster University (1-2 February 2020) – Panel Chair


Book Chapter 

  • Gheorghe Williams, ‘Undeath, Theatricality, and the Ecogothic in DC Moore’s Common (2017)’, in The Anthropocene and the Undead: Cultural Anxieties in the Contemporary Popular Imagination, ed. Simon Bacon (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2022)

Book Reviews 

  • Gheorghe Williams, ‘Review: EcoGothic Gardens in the Long Nineteenth Century: Phantoms, Fantasy and Uncanny Flowers, edited by Sue Edney (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2020)’, Gothic Nature, issue 3 (June 2022)
  • Gheorghe Williams, ‘Review: Jimmy Packham, Gothic Utterance: Voice, Speech and Death in the American Gothic (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2021)’, Revenant, ‘Contemporary Legends’ special issue (forthcoming 2022)

Stage Reviews 

  • Gheorghe Williams, ‘Review: Hild Bede Theatre presents Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper at Caedmon Hall’, The Bubble, 25 June 2019
  • ‘Gheorghe Williams, ‘Review: Castle Theatre Company presents Bram Stoker’s Dracula in the Norman Chapel at Durham Castle’, The Bubble, 15 November 2018