Ella Hawkins

Ella Hawkins

Shakespeare Institute
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

PhD title: The significance of Jacobethanism in 21st-century stage and costume design for Shakespeare and his contemporaries
SupervisorDr Abigail Rokison-Woodall and Professor Michael Dobson
PhD Shakespeare Studies


My research focuses on design for Shakespeare, and is funded by the Midlands3Cities AHRC DTP. I analyse aesthetics to better understand the cultural significance of various approaches to representing the playwright’s work in performance.

My PhD thesis explores the significance of Jacobethanism in 21st-century stage and costume design for productions of early modern texts. Particularly since Shakespeare’s Globe began staging ‘Original Practices’ productions in 1997, there has been a wider trend in the reproduction of Elizabethan/Jacobean clothing and iconography in design for Shakespeare and his contemporaries. The majority of productions, however, do not intend to replicate these authentically; early modern symbols and styles of clothing are often reimagined, or layered with those of other periods. My research focuses on such productions to explore the intentions, influences, and outcomes of practitioners’ approaches to staging Jacobethanism. How have directors and designers researched the Elizabethan/Jacobean periods, what impression do they intend to convey to an audience, and what might 21st-century audience members actually read in the stage and costume design? I am also interested in the history of Jacobethanism in design for early modern drama, and how staging and costuming practices have evolved in the centuries since the plays’ first performances.