Dr Will Sharpe BA MA PhD

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), PhD - University of Birmingham


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.


This year I am teaching on:

  • Shakespeare’s Afterlives (third-year)
  • Shakespeare’s Craftsmanship (MA, convenor)
  • Shakespeare: Elizabethan and Jacobean (second-year, convenor)
  • Shakespeare’s Theatre (MA, convenor)

Postgraduate supervision

Currently supervising MA dissertations at the Shakespeare Institute.

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.

I am currently working on a monograph for Oxford University Press entitled Shakespeare and Collaboration.

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)




  • The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare (Oxford University Press, 2015), revising editor.
  • ‘Authorship and Attribution’ in William Shakespeare and Others: Collaborative Plays, ed. Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen, with Jan Sewell and Will Sharpe (RSC Shakespeare/Palgrave Macmillan, 2013): One of the most fascinating elements of the volume is an extended essay (running to almost 100 pages) by Will Sharpe … It is a tour de force piece and the volume is worth acquiring for this alone’, Prof. Andrew Murphy in Around the Globe Magazine 56, Spring 2014.


  • ‘Framing Shakespeare’s Collaborative Authorship’, in Shakespeare Survey 67 (Cambridge University Press (2014), 29-43.


  • ‘Shakespeare’s Early Collaborations and Chronology’ in Early Shakespeare (Cambridge University Press, edited collection, 2017). Forthcoming.
  • Essays on the RSC’s King John and Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 in the BBC’s ‘Hollow Crown’ for A Year of Shakespeare, ed. Paul Edmondson, Paul Prescott and Erin Sullivan (Arden Shakespeare/Bloomsbury, 2013).


  • All Is True (Henry VIII) for the New Oxford Shakespeare (2016).
  • Cymbeline, lead editor with Bate and Rasmussen (RSC Shakespeare/Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).
  • Scholarly edition of Ben Jonson’s Sejanus for Stages of Transition: Six Plays from 1603-1604,ed. Matteo Pangallo (Open Book Publishers, forthcoming).


  • Critical commentaries for Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing and Henry VIII for the New Oxford Shakespeare (Oxford University Press, 2016).
  • Chief Associate Editor, RSC Shakespeare series, editions include Coriolanus, Julius Caesar, The Merry Wives of Windsor, and The Comedy of Errors, Titus Andronicus, Timon of Athens, All’s Well That Ends Well, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and Cymbeline. 1,2,3 Henry VI, King John, Henry VIII, and Pericles. Scene analyses for Pericles, Titus Andronicus and Henry VI volumes (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010-12).
  • Editorial Assistant, the RSC Complete Works of Shakespeare, ed. Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007).
  • ‘An Emendation to The Wisdom of Doctor Dodypoll’ in Notes and Queries, 51 (2004): 264.