Dr Trish McTighe BA, MA, HDip, PhD,

Photograph of Dr Trish McTighe

Department of Drama and Theatre Arts
Director of Postgraduate Studies

Contact details

Department of Drama and Theatre Arts
University of Birmingham
Selly Oak Visual Arts Centre (SOVAC)
The Old Library
998 Bristol Road
Selly Oak

I joined the department in September 2016 after having taught at Queen’s University Belfast and worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Reading. My teaching and research specialism lies the drama of Samuel Beckett, with particular focus on haptics and the body in performance, performance histories of Beckett’s work, and its place within the cultural economies of the UK and Ireland. I also have research interests in the area of gender studies and queer theory.


I hold an undergraduate degree in English and philosophy from the National University of Ireland, Galway. Also from NUI Galway, I hold a Master’s degree in drama and theatre studies and a higher diploma in education.


I earned my PhD from Queen’s University, Belfast in 2010 before working as a postdoctoral researcher on the AHRC funded Staging Beckett project at the University of Reading.  I spent a semester in 2014 as a visiting scholar in Irish Studies at Fordham University, New York.

My doctoral research focused on the act of touch in Beckett’s drama and since then the issue of how we might trace the ‘haptic’ residue of performance through the archive has been central to my work. My most recent research has been concerned with tracing performance histories, specifically analysing Beckett’s place within the theatre cultures of the island of Ireland.

My teaching interests reflect an interest in theatre and performance from the late nineteenth century to twentieth and contemporary performance, including Beckett, experimental and avant-garde work, feminist theatre and histories, and queer performance.


  • The work of Samuel Beckett
  • Gender and performance
  • Performance Analysis
  • Modernist Theatre
  • Contemporary Performance
  • Irish theatre

Postgraduate supervision

I welcome informal enquiries from potential applicants with an interest in any aspect of the work of Samuel Beckett, but particularly projects that seek to address the author’s work in performance and/or employing an historical/historiographical approach to its staging. More broadly, I welcome potential applicants with an interest in the relationship between arts practice and tourism/the festival. I also welcome potential applicants with an interest in gender studies, in particular the history of feminism and queer theory, portrayals of domesticity in theatre and performance, and the intersection of ecological concerns, and eco-criticism with gender studies. 


My current research involves two distinct strands. One emerges from my work on Beckett and seeks to examine the relationship between the arts and the economy in the latter half of the twentieth and twenty-first century, with particular emphasis on literary tourism and the festivalisation, so-called, of culture. I am in the process of establishing a research network which will address key questions about the ways in which the arts and tourism interact in Ireland (and elsewhere). I have a number of publications forthcoming on the festivalisation of Beckett’s work in Ireland and internationally.

The other strand of my research has to do with the politics of cleaning in contemporary performance. Rooted in what performance artist Mierle Laderman Ukeles has termed ‘maintenance art’, this project seeks to trace the ways in theatre and performance has used the labour of cleaning as a mode of exploring inequality, class and gender. I am currently working on ways to trace the politics and temporality of the act of cleaning in contemporary performance.

Other activities

Within the Department of Drama and Theatre Arts, I am postgraduate admissions tutor.

I also coordinate the annual Queer at Queen’s conference as part of Belfast’s Outburst Queer Arts Festival.

And I am theatre reviews editor for the Journal of Beckett Studies (http://www.euppublishing.com/loi/jobs). 



  • The Haptic Aesthetic in Samuel Beckett’s Drama (New York: Palgrave, 2013)

Edited collection

  • (with David Tucker), Staging Beckett in Ireland and Northern Ireland and Staging Beckett in Great Britain (London: Bloomsbury-Methuen, forthcoming 2016)

Articles/Chapters in books

  • 'Vessel and Nation: Company SJ's Beckett in the City, The Women Speak', Performing Ireland (forthcoming 2017)
  • ‘In Caves, in Ruins: Place as Archive at the Happy Days Beckett Festival’, Contemporary Theatre Review (forthcoming 2016)
  • ‘Museum, Furniture, Men: The Queer Ecology of I Am My Own Wife,’ Modern Drama, (forthcoming, 2016)
  • (with Anna McMullan), ‘Samuel Beckett and Irish Scenography,’ Irish University Review, 45.1 (2015), 141-156
  • (with Anna McMullan) ‘Samuel Beckett, the Gate Theatre Dublin, and the Contemporary Irish Independent Theatre Sector: Fragments of Performance History,’ Breac Digital Journal of Irish Studies 2 (2014), [accessed 29July 2014]
  • (with Anna McMullan, David Pattie and David Tucker) ‘Staging Beckett: Constructing Performance Histories,’ Journal of Beckett Studies 23.1 (2014), 11-33
  • ‘“Getting known: Beckett, Ireland and the Creative Industries in That was us: Contemporary Irish Theatre and Performance ed. by Fintan Walsh (London: Oberon, 2013), 157-172
  • ‘Acts of Estrangement: Reading the Psoriatic-skin,’ Nyx, A Noctournal 8 (2013), 6-15
  • ‘Noli me Tangere: Haptic Certitude in Beckett’s Eh Joe and Nacht und Träume,’ Modern Drama 55.3 (2012), 216-229
  • ‘Haptic Interfaces: The Live and Recorded Body in Beckett’s Eh Joe on Stage and Screen,’ Samuel Beckett Today/Audjourd’hui 22 (2010), 463-475