Dr Will Sharpe BA MA PhD FHEA

Photograph of Dr Will Sharpe

Department of English Literature
Teaching Fellow in Shakespeare

Contact details

Arts Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

My teaching and research interests focus on the early modern period, and Shakespeare in particular, chiefly, in my research, on the textual editing and collaborative authorship of Shakespeare’s plays.


  • MA Shakespeare Studies (University of Birmingham)
  • PhD  (University of Birmingham)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy


After my PhD (2009) I held postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Warwick (AHRC-funded) and the University of Leeds (Mellon Foundation), working on William Shakespeare and Others: Collaborative Plays (RSC/Palgrave, 2013) and The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Ben Jonson (CUP, 2012) respectively. I joined the University as a Teaching Fellow in September 2014, and prior to that I have taught at the University of Warwick, Nottingham Trent University, and the University of Birmingham’s Shakespeare Institute as a Visiting Lecturer.


I mostly teach early modern literature (1500-1700), with a particular focus on Shakespeare.

I convene the second-year undergraduate module ‘Shakespeare: Elizabethan and Jacobean’, and the third-year special option module ‘Shakespeare’s Tragedies’.

Postgraduate supervision

I have co-supervised an M4C-funded PhD at the Shakespeare Institute on Thomas Middleton’s adaptations of Shakespeare (2021), and am currently lead co-supervising an M4C-funded PhD in collaboration with Birmingham City University on metallurgical metaphors in Shakespeare’s language.

Find out more - our PhD English Literature  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


My research interests are in sixteenth and seventeenth-century drama and poetry, especially Shakespeare; text and bibliography with especial emphasis on the critical editing of Renaissance drama and the history of Shakespearean editing; history of the book and print culture; authorship and collaboration in Renaissance drama, including formalist and quantitative appraisals of authorial style; Shakespeare in performance, both modern and historical.

My monograph Shakespeare and Collaborative Writing will be published this summer (2023) by Oxford University Press.

Other activities

Selected conference papers and plenaries

  • Invited speaker to The University of Melbourne's event Beyond 400: New Shakespeares (fully funded), November 2016.
  • Invited speaker to the Stratford, Ontario Shakespeare Festival (fully funded). Lectured on the William Shakespeare and Others: Collaborative Plays volume with Professor Eric Rasmussen, August 2014.
  • Plenary session on William Shakespeare and Others: Collaborative Plays with Dr Pete Kirwan (University of Nottingham), British Graduate Shakespeare Conference, Shakespeare Institute, June 2014.
  • ‘Canon, Chronology and Collaboration in Shakespeare’s Early Career’. Invited participant alongside John Jowett, Gary Taylor, MacD. Jackson and others in ‘Early Shakespeare’ seminar, Shakespeare 450 Conference, Société Française, Paris, April 2014.
  • ‘Shakespeare, Authorship, and Emotionality in the Hand D section of Sir Thomas More’, University of Queensland, Centre for the History of Emotions, 2013.
  • ‘The Influence of Anxiety(?): Thoughts on the Supposed 'Crisis in Editing' and the use of Editions in Pedagogical Practice’, British Shakespeare Association Conference, Lancaster, 2012.
  • ‘A Geography of History: Considering the Roles of Place and Distance within Politics and ‘History’ in 2 Henry IV’, Henry IV Part 2 seminar, Shakespeare Association of America Annual Conference, Seattle, 2011.

Selected activities

  • General Editor, Digital Renaissance Editions, with Brett Hirsch (University of Western Australia), Eleanor Lowe (Oxford Brookes) and Dr Sarah Neville (University of West Virginia). Online edition and platform hosted by University of Western Australia and University of Victoria. 
  • Co-Founder and Trustee of the Lizz Ketterer Trust and Ketterer’s Men – registered charity established in memory of Dr Lizz Ketterer, fundraising activities support yearly scholarship for a student from The Winedale Shakespeare Programme in Texas to attend the RSC Summer School at the Shakespeare Institute. In 2013-14 I directed and performed in a production of Pericles as a fundraiser. 


  • British Shakespeare Association
  • Shakespeare Association of America
  • Malone Society
  • World Shakespeare Congress (WSC)



I have just finished a monograph entitled Shakespeare and Collaborative Writing for the Oxford Shakespeare Topics series (forthcoming, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2023) as well as co-editing, with Rory Loughnane, The Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare and Authorship (forthcoming, 2024). I have also begun work on editing Henry VI Part 3 for the Arden 4 Shakespeare series.

I wrote a monograph-length study on ‘Authorship and Attribution’ for the RSC/Palgrave volume William Shakespeare and Others: Collaborative Plays (2013), and edited All Is True: Or, King Henry VIII for The New Oxford Shakespeare (2016). I was also a revising editor of the updated Oxford Companion to Shakespeare (2015), and most recently published the chapter ‘Canon, Chronology and Collaboration in Shakespeare’s Early Career’ in the edited collection Early Shakespeare, 1588-1594 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020).

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