Corinne Furness

Corinne Furness

Shakespeare Institute
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

PhD title: Dream 16: Amateur and professional Shakespeare and the question of communal identity
Supervisor: Professor Michael Dobson and Erica Whyman (RSC)
PhD Shakespeare Studies


My research explores the relationship between amateur and professional Shakespeare and the place of Shakespeare in the workings of both national and local communities. The focus of my thesis is the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 2016 production A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation, a landmark collaboration between the RSC and amateur theatre companies across the UK.

Exploring all areas of Dream 16 my research seeks to explore how the production and the project negotiates tension of identity, not only between amateur and professional, but also between participant and spectator, artistic practice and cultural policy, and Shakespeare and national identity. This research will focus around identities of amateur and professional in relation to a number of key themes arising from the project: creation/ performance/ product, temporal and geographical place, digital space, young people’s participation, and legacy.

More widely, I am interested in Shakespeare’s cultural and performance legacy, community and amateur performance, women’s non-professional writing and playwriting in the UK since 1945. My work as a theatre maker both informs and reflects my research interests.

My research is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council through the Collaborative Doctoral Awards scheme.