My research interests span the full corpus of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century drama, but I specialise in plays which bear witness to multilingual practices, Classical influences, the pedagogical functions of drama, and the relationships between educational institutions in early modern England.
I am particularly interested in adolescent writing, coming of age themes in school and university drama, systems of academic assessment in early modern schools and colleges, and the grammar play tradition. Probing archives and translating Latin sources, I employ my training as an early modernist and classicist to advance our understanding of the relationship between theatre, pedagogy, and institutional identity.
I am currently spearheading an exciting collaboration with two scholars from the Orationes Project in Finland: Tommi Alho (Åbo Akademi University), Aleksi Mäkilähde (University of Turku) and I are working together on an article which investigates the relationship between school plays and university plays in early modern England.
Over the next two years my focus will be on the political intrigues at the universities of England in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, illuminating the specific role played by theatre in that political context. The monograph I am currently drafting, University Drama Under the Stuarts, is designed to complement F.S. Boas’ indispensable study University Drama in the Tudor Age; it will give readers access to a synoptic analysis of key developments across the whole of the long seventeenth century. This monograph builds, in part, on my work as a member of the team for the Stuart Successions Project run by Professor Andrew McRae (University of Exeter) and Dr Paulina Kewes (Jesus College, Oxford).
In 2018 and 2019 I will be acting as Academic Advisor to Shakespeare’s Globe for productions of three university plays. The series will begin with a performance of Samuel Daniel’s Arcadia Reformed (better known as The Queen’s Arcadia) staged in the original venue where it premiered in 1605: the dining hall at Christ Church, Oxford. I am also acting as translator for this Globe series: my English translation of George Ruggle’s Latin play Ignoramus will be performed in 2019.
Making the corpus of texts more accessible by translating and staging plays has always been an important part of my work. As an undergraduate I translated Euripides’ Hippolytus and took it on tour to Paris, narrowly escaping censure for disappearing from Oxford in termtime. Six sell-out shows followed at the Oxford Playhouse (in the role of Executive Producer), including three productions in ancient Greek as part of Oxford’s long-standing tradition. I have also worked for the Donmar Warehouse in London, translating extracts from Shakespeare into Latin to create a soundscape for their production of Coriolanus, which ran at Covent Garden from 6 December 2013 to 13 February 2014. In 2011 I was one of the founder members of Early Drama at Oxford (EDOX) with Elisabeth Dutton and James McBain, and in 2013 we co-organised the conference ‘Performing Dido’, which offered audiences the chance to compare and contrast William Gager’s Dido of 1583 (a Latin play which we staged in English using my translation) with Christopher Marlowe’s much more famous version, Dido, Queen of Carthage. See http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/arts-blog/night-dido-drama-and-dinner-difference. This project grew out of the research I had undertaken for a chapter of my doctoral thesis, which has now been published (see publications section).
I have a proven track record in winning grants for my research, including full AHRC funding for my doctorate, a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship, and a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship.