Dr Abigail Rokison-Woodall LAMDA Dip., LLAM, BA Hons (Open University), MA, PhD

Dr Abigail Rokison-Woodall

Senior Lecturer in Shakespeare and Theatre

Contact details

Address
The Shakespeare Institute
Mason Croft
Church Street
Stratford-upon-Avon
CV37 6HP
UK

I joined the Shakespeare Institute in 2013, having been lecturing at Cambridge University for 7 years. I began my career as a professional actor, training at LAMDA and working quite extensively in theatre. Since deciding to move into academia my main research interests have been in the field of Shakespeare in performance, in particular verse speaking, adaptation and theatre history.  I have written three monographs - Shakespearean Verse Speaking (CUP) (winner of the Shakespeare's Globe first book award 2012), Shakespeare for Young People (Bloomsbury Arden) and Shakespeare in the Theatre: Nicholas Hytner (Bloomsbury Arden). I am one of the General Editions of the new Arden Shakespeare Performance Editions, for which series I have edited A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Hamlet.  I am now embarking on two new projects - a book about The Other Place (RSC) for Bloomsbury Arden, and a project on Teaching Shakespeare to D/deaf Children with RSC Education.

Qualifications

  • Diploma in Acting from LAMDA (3 year course) - 1996
  • LAMDA Teacher’s Diploma (LLAM) - 1998
  • BA Hons in Humanities with Literature (Open University) - 2001
  • MA in Shakespeare Text and Playhouse (King’s College, London/ Shakespeare’s Globe) - 2002
  • PhD on ‘Shakespearean Verse Speaking’  (Cambridge University) - 2006

Biography

I began my career as a professional actor, my acting work including numerous roles in theatre, and, amongst other television roles, Primrose Larkin in TV’s The Darling Buds of May. Following a degree with the Open University, undertaken whilst acting, I went on to take an MA in ‘Shakespeare: Text and Playhouse’ at the Globe Theatre/ King’s College London. I completed my PhD in ‘Shakespearean Verse Speaking’ in the English faculty at Cambridge University in 2006 after which I became a lecturer in Drama and English in the Education Faculty in Cambridge and Director of Studies in English and Drama at Homerton College, Cambridge. I joined the Shakespeare Institute in January 2013.

I was on the board of the British Shakespeare Association from 2002-2010 and Chair from 2008-10. My first monograph, Shakespearean Verse Speaking was published by Cambridge University Press in January 2010, and in July 2012 won the Shakespeare’s Globe First Book Award, as a result of which I was invited to give public lectures at Shakespeare’s Globe, Cheltenham Literary Festival and the Shakespeare Institute.  Following these lectures Shakespeare's Globe and The Shakespeare Institute collaborated on a series of Verse Speaking Symposia - 'The End of Shakespeare's Verse?' in which Giles Block I presented our ideas about verse speaking in venues in Staunton Virginia, New York, Stratford Ontario, Stratford upon Avon and at Shakespeare's Globe in London. 

I completed a second monograph – Shakespeare for Young People: Productions, Versions and Adaptations for Bloomsbury Arden in 2013 and a third – Shakespeare in the Theatre: Nicholas Hytner for Bloomsbury Arden in 2017.

In 2017, I was appointed one of the general editors of the new Arden Shakespeare Performance Editions with Michael Dobson and Simon Russell Beale.  I have edited A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Hamlet for the series.

I have contributed chapters to King's College Cambridge 1415-2015 (Harvey Miller), Shakespeare Beyond English (CUP), Shakespeare in Stages (CUP), The Children’s Literature Handbook (Routledge), The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare’s Poetry (OUP) and The Great Shakespeareans: Gielgud, Olivier, Ashcroft, Dench (Bloomsbury Arden) and the supplementary material on Much Ado About Nothing for the Greenwood Companion to Shakespeare.

I have written a number of journal articles including the only interview given by David Tennant on his performance as Hamlet.  In 2013 I edited a special edition of Shakespeare journal for Routledge on  ‘Shakespeare and Authenticity’.

I am currently working on a book about The Other Place (RSC) for Bloomsbury Arden and a project about Teaching Shakespeare to D/deaf Children with RSC Education.

I am represented for academic presenting work by Sara Cameron at Take Three Management. I acted as an academic advisor/ interviewee on the first, second and third series of Shakespeare Uncovered (Thirteen/ BBC/ Sky).

Teaching

My teaching is largely focussed in the areas of Shakespeare in performance and Shakespeare for young people.  I convene the MA routes in Shakespeare and Theatre and Shakespeare and Education and co-convene the MA in Shakespeare and Creativity.

I convene the modules - ‘Shakespeare and Theatre Practice’, ‘Shakespeare and Pedagogy’ and ‘The Shakespeare Ensemble’ and teach on the 'Shakespeare's Theatre' module.

I believe that students can benefit greatly from practical exploration of Shakespeare’s work in areas of both original practices and contemporary performance, particularly in terms of appreciating the impact of elements such as space, casting, textual choices, voice, movement, dialect and design. 

Postgraduate supervision

I currently supervise PhDs in a range of areas connected to the history of Shakespeare in performance, contemporary theatre practice, and Shakespeare and mental health. I am interested in supervising PhDs in areas of Shakespeare in performance, Shakespeare’s language, Shakespeare and adaptation, Shakespeare for young people and applied Shakespeare.


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

Research

I am one of the general editors of the Arden Shakespeare Performance Editions, for which series I have recently edited A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Hamlet. I am currently writing a book about Shakespeare in Performance at The Other Place and am working on a project on Teaching Shakespeare to D/deaf Children.

Other activities

I fulfil the following roles at the Shakespeare Institute:

  • Staff rep for SSC
  • Library Rep
  • Timetabling and Student Enrichment
  • Welfare Contact

Publications

Books:

  • 2017 A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Arden Performance Edition (London: Bloomsbury)
  • 2017  Hamlet: Arden Performance Edition (London: Bloomsbury)
  • 2017 Shakespeare in the Theatre: Nicholas Hytner (London: Bloomsbury)
  • 2013 - Shakespeare for Young People: Productions, Adaptations and Re-workings (London: Bloomsbury).
  • 2010 - Shakespearean Verse Speaking (Cambridge: CUP)

Book chapters:

  • 2014 - 'Drama in King's College Chapel' in King's College Chapel, Cambridge (Harvey Miller)
  • 2013 - ‘Shakespeare’s Dramatic Line’ in The Oxford Handbook to Shakespeare’s Poetry (Oxford: OUP)
  • Henry V’ in Shakespeare Beyond English (Cambridge: CUP)
  • ‘Laurence Olivier’ in The Great Shakespeareans: Gielgud, Olivier, Ashcroft, Dench (London: Bloomsbury)
  • 2010 - ‘Authenticity in the 21st Century: Propeller and Shakespeare’s Globe’ in Shakespeare in Stages (Cambridge: CUP)

Editing

  • 2014 – Special Edition of Shakespeare Journal (Routledge) on ‘Shakespeare and Authenticity’

Journal articles:

  • 2016 - Interviews with theatre practitioners about texts for performance, Shakespeare Bulletin 34, 1, p. 47-68
  • 2010 - ‘Our scene is alter’d’: Versions and adaptations of Hamlet for young people’ in Literature Compass (Oxford: Blackwell)
  • 2009 - ‘David Tennant: Playing Hamlet’ in Shakespeare Vol. 5 No.3(London: Routledge)
  • 2009 - ‘Romeo and Juliet for the young viewer’ in The New Review of Children’s Literature and Librarianship Vol. 15 Issue 1(London: Routledge) 
  • 2008 - ‘The RSC Histories Cycle: Actor and Audience Perspectives’ in Shakespeare Vol. 5 No. 1 (London: Routledge)
  • 2005 - ‘Shakespeare in Performance at the Second Biennial British Shakespeare Association Conference’ in Shakespeare Vol. 1 No. 2(London: Routledge)

View all publications in research portal

Expertise

  • Shakespeare
  • Shakespeare in Performance
  • Theatre history
  • Dramatic literature

Media experience

Academic advisor and Interviewee on Shakespeare Uncovered (BBC)