Professor Tiffany Stern

Professor Tiffany Stern

Shakespeare Institute
Professor of Shakespeare and Early Modern Drama

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

My work combines literary criticism, theatre and book history and editing from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. I’m fascinated by the theatrical contexts that brought about plays by Shakespeare and others; several of my books and articles are on the theatrical documents put together by authors and theatrical personnel in the process of writing and learning a play: actors’ parts (the documents consisting of cues and speeches from which actors learned their roles), prologues, epilogues, songs, letters, arguments, backstage plots, plot scenarios and other separate stage documents. As General Editor of the New Mermaids play series, and Arden Shakespeare 4, I’m also interested in the way plays were manifested in manuscript and print, and in how to rethink editing for the digital age. My current projects are a book on early modern theatre and popular entertainment, Playing Fair, exploring the cultural exchanges between playhouses and fairgrounds, a book on Shakespeare Beyond Performance, looking at the theatrical documents produced in the light of a play’s performance – ballads, chapbooks, commonplace books, ‘noted’ texts – and an edition of Shakespeare’s Tempest.


  • BA (Oxford, 1990)
  • MA (Oxford, 1994)
  • MPhil (Cambridge, 1993)
  • PhD (Cambridge, 1997)


I’m a Londoner by birth and went to school in Finchley, North London, and Lewes, East Sussex. My first degree, in English, is from Oxford (Merton College); my MPhil and PhD are from Cambridge (Emmanuel College). After a three-year Junior Research Fellowship at Oxford (Merton College), I became a lecturer at Oxford Brookes University (2001-5). From 2005-16 I was Lecturer, then Professor, of Early Modern Drama at the University of Oxford and Fellow and Tutor in English at University College. From there I took a Chair at Royal Holloway, University of London, where I convened the Shakespeare MA, before taking up my current post as Professorial Fellow in Shakespeare and Early Modern Drama at The Shakespeare Institute in 2017.

I have had grants from the British Academy and Research Leave and Innovation awards from the AHRB (now AHRC), have won the Barbara Palmer/Martin Stevens award for Best new Essay in Early Drama Studies and have twice won the David Bevington Award for Best New Book in Early Drama Studies.

Because I have written on the practical side of early modern performance, my work is often used by theatre companies interested in putting on ‘O.P.’ (‘original practice’) productions. At the Blackfriars Playhouse, a reconstructed Shakespearean theatre in Staunton, Virginia, actors of the American Shakespeare Company have a three month ‘Renaissance Season’ in which performances are mounted from actors’ parts without a director, which stems from my research on rehearsal. The New American Shakespeare Tavern in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, the Grassroots Shakespeare Co in Utah, USA, and the Queen’s Men Players in Toronto, Canada, have all used my work. With Hidden Room Theater Company, Austin, Texas, I collaborated on an eighteenth century puppet version of Hamlet, based on the German play Der Bestrafte Brudermord; and a production of Nahum Tate’s Restoration adaptation of King Lear, using costumes and gesture of the period. I have given talks at the Globe and National Theatre, and written programme notes for both, and am a member of the Globe’s Architectural Research Group.

A keen public speaker, I gave the British Academy Shakespeare Lecture for the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth (Sam Wanamaker Theatre, 2014); and the ‘Annual Birthday Lecture’ for the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC, USA (2016). Last year, for ‘Shakespeare 400’ (the anniversary of Shakespeare’s death), I gave over 40 public lectures including university papers in England, USA, Germany; conference papers in England and USA; addresses to schools; ‘public engagement’ talks at museums, festivals and bookshops; and the Oxford University sermon. In addition to giving annual invited and plenary talks at a range of international universities, I have held several visiting professorships in the USA, New Zealand, and Australia.

Postgraduate supervision

I have supervised doctorates on the publishers of Shakespeare’s first folio, Carolean stage warfare, Jonson in parts, eighteenth century Shakespeare editors, Coronation literature, warrior women, English translations of Moliere, and commonplace books amongst others. I welcome enquiries from graduate students on these, any of the subjects outlined above, and related 16-18th century topics.

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


My work mingles literary criticism, editing, theatre history and book history. I specialise in the dramas of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, particularly Jonson, Brome, Middleton and Nashe, but also write on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century playwrights and editors, including Wycherley, Farquhar, Sheridan, Theobald and Johnson.

My monographs are Rehearsal from Shakespeare to Sheridan (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2000), Making Shakespeare (New York and London: Routledge, 2004), [with Simon Palfrey] Shakespeare in Parts (Oxford: OUP, 2007; winner of the 2009 David Bevington Award for Best New Book in Early Drama Studies) and Documents of Early Modern Performance (Cambridge: CUP, 2009; winner of the 2010 David Bevington Award for Best New Book in Early Drama Studies). I have co-edited a collection of essays with Farah Karim-Cooper, Shakespeare’s Theatres and the Effects of Performance (2013); my range of specialisation is reflected in over fifty articles, chapters and notes: on Barnes, Farquhar, Jonson, Middleton, Nashe, Shakespeare (in his time and later), Wycherley, Theobald, Malone, Johnson, Garrick, Stanislavski, Advertising, Architecture, Bibliography, Book History, Book-sellers, the Blackfriars Playhouse, Close-Reading, the Curtain Playhouse, Dumb Shows, Editing, Eighteenth Century Editors, Finance, Forgery, German Shakespeare Translations, the Globe Playhouse, Music, Note-Taking, Puppets, Satire, Sermons, Sixteenth to Eighteenth Century Drama, Songs, Stage-Directions, the Stationers’ Registers, Theatre History, Time-Keeping, Tragedy and Trumpets.

As text and performance are, for me, closely linked, I have long been an editor, and have edited a range of sixteenth- to eighteenth-century plays: the anonymous King Leir for Globe Quartos (2003), Richard Sheridan’s The Rivals for New Mermaids (2004), George Farquhar’s Recruiting Officer for New Mermaids (2010), William Congreve’s Country Wife (2014, intro only), Richard Brome’s A Jovial Crew for Arden Early Modern Drama (2014). I am General Editor of the New Mermaids play series, with William C. Carroll; and General Editor, with Peter Holland and Zachary Lesser, of the next complete Arden Shakespeare series (Arden Shakespeare 4). 



  • Documents of Performance in Early Modern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2009), i-xiv, 1-362, 
  • [with Simon Palfrey], Shakespeare in Parts (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), i-xiv; 1-545
  • Making Shakespeare for Accents on Shakespeare Series (London: Routledge, 2004), general editor Terence Hawkes, i-xiv; 1-188
  • Rehearsal from Shakespeare to Sheridan (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2000), i-xii; 1-337

Scholarly editions

  • New introduction for William Wycherley, The Country Wife, New Mermaids (London: Methuen Drama, 2014), general editors Brian Gibbons, William Carroll, Tiffany Stern, i-xxxii
  • Richard Brome, The Jovial Crew for Arden Early Modern Drama (London: Methuen, 2014), general editors Suzanne Gossett, John Jowett, Gordon McMullan
  • George Farquhar, The Recruiting Officer for New Mermaids (London: A & C Black Publishers Ltd, 2010), general editors Brian Gibbons, William Carroll, Tiffany Stern, i-xxix, 1-157
  • Richard Sheridan, The Rivals for New Mermaids (London: A & C Black Publishers Ltd, 2004), general editor Brian Gibbons, 1-182
  • King Leir for Globe Quarto Series (London: Nick Hern Books; New York: Routledge, 2003), general editors David Scott Kastan and Gordon McMullan, 1-135

Edited collections

  • Shakespeare’s Theatres and the Effects of Performance ed. with Farah Karim-Cooper for Arden Shakespeare (London: Methuen, 2013) ISBN-10: 1408146924; ISBN-13: 978-1408146927; reprinted in paperback 2013


  • ‘Stage Directions’ in Book Parts ed. Adam Smyth and Dennis Duncan (Oxford: OUP, forthcoming, 2018)
  •  ‘Inventing Stage Directions; Demoting Dumb Shows’, Stage Directions and Shakespearean Theatre, ed. Sarah Dustagheer and Gillian Woods for Arden Shakespeare (London: Methuen, forthcoming 2017), 19-43
  • ‘Nashe and Satirical Fiction’, Prose Fiction in English from the Origins of Print to 1750 ed. Thomas Keymer (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2017)
  • ‘Forward’ to Ross Duffin’s Some Other Note: The Lost Songs of English Renaissance Comedy (Oxford: OUP, forthcoming 2017)
  • ‘Researching Early Modern Plays in the Stationers’ Company Archives’, Adam Matthew Ltd, Stationers’ Company Archives Online (2017)
  • ‘The Study of Historical Performance’, Shakespeare in Our Time ed. Dympna Callaghan and Suzanne Gossett for Arden Shakespeare (London: Methuen, 2016), 319-23
  • ‘Production Preparation’, The Cambridge Guide to the Worlds of Shakespeare ed. Bruce Smith (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), 22-28
  •  ‘Tragedy and Performance’, The Oxford Handbook of Shakespearean Tragedy ed. Michael Neill and David Schalkwyk (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), 489-504
  • ‘“Before the Beginning; After the End”: When did Plays Start and Stop?’ in Shakespeare and Textual Studies ed. M.J. Kidnie and Sonia Massai (Cambridge: CUP, 2015), 358-74
  • ‘“A Ruinous Monastery”: The Second Blackfriars Playhouse as a Place of Nostalgia’, Moving Shakespeare Indoors ed. Andrew Gurr and Farah Karim-Cooper (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 97-114
  • ‘Inverted Commas around the “Fun”’: Music in Twelfth Night’, Twelfth Night: A Critical Guide (Arden Renaissance Drama), ed. Alison Findley and Liz Oakley-Brown (London: Methuen, 2013), 166-88
  • ‘“This Wide and Universal Theatre”: the Theatre as Prop in Shakespeare’s Metadrama’, Shakespeare’s Theatres and the Effects of Performance ed. with Farah Karim-Cooper for Arden Shakespeare (London: Methuen, 2013), 11-32
  • with Farah Karim-Cooper, ‘Introduction’, Shakespeare’s Theatres and the Effects of Performance ed. with Farah Karim-Cooper for Arden Shakespeare (London: Methuen, 2013), 1-8
  • ‘Shakespeare in Drama’, Shakespeare in the Eighteenth Century ed. Fiona Ritchie and Peter Sabor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 141-157 
  • Hamlet: the Dumb Show’, Shakespeare Up Close: Reading Early Modern Texts ed. Russ McDonald, Nicholas Nace and Travis Williams, for Arden Shakespeare (London: Methuen, 2012), 273-81 
  • ‘(Re:)Historicizing Spontaneity: Original Practices, Stanislavski, and Characterisation’, Shakespeare’s Sense of Character: on the Page and from the Stage, ed. Yu Jin Ko and Michael W. Shurgot (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2012), 99-110
  • ‘Middleton’s Collaborators in Music and Song’, The Oxford Handbook of Thomas Middleton ed. Gary Taylor and Trish Thomas Henley (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 64-79
  • ‘“Whether one did Contrive, the Other Write, / Or one Fram’d the Plot, the Other did Indite”: Fletcher and Theobald as Collaborative Writers’, The Quest for Cardenio: Shakespeare, Fletcher, Cervantes and the Lost Play, ed. David Carnegie and Gary Taylor (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 115-30
  • ‘Forward’, An Annotated Edition of Joshua Barnes’ The Academie, or, The Cambridge Dunns ed. Alan Swanson (Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press, 2011), i-v
  • ‘The Theatre of Shakespeare’s London’, The New Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare ed. Margreta de Grazia and Stanley Wells (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 45-60
  • ‘The Globe and the Open-air Amphitheatres’, Ben Jonson in Context ed. Julie Sanders (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 107-15 
  • ‘“The Curtain is Yours!”, Locating the Queen’s Men, 1583-1603: Material Practices and Conditions of Playing ed. Helen Ostovich, Holger Schott Syme and Andrew Griffin (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2009), 77-96 
  • ‘Actors’ Parts’, Handbook on Early Modern Theatre ed. Richard Dutton (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), 496-512
  • ‘Watching as Reading: the Audience and Written Text in the Early Modern Playhouse’, How to do Things with Shakespeare ed. Laurie Maguire (Oxford: Blackwell, 2008), 136-59
  • ‘“I do wish that you had mentioned Garrick”: the absence of Garrick in Johnson’s Shakespeare’, Comparative Excellence: Essays on Shakespeare and Johnson ed. Eric Rasmussen and Aaron Santesso (New York: AMS Press, 2007), 70-96
  • ‘“Taking Part”’: Actors and Audience on the Blackfriars Stage’, Inside Shakespeare: Essays on the Blackfriars Stage, ed. Paul Menzer (Selinsgrove: Susquehanna University Press, 2006), 35-53 
  • [with Simon Palfrey], ‘What does the Cued Part Cue?: Parts and Cues in Romeo and Juliet’, Blackwell Companion to Shakespeare and Performance ed. Barbara Hodgdon and William B. Worthen (Oxford: Blackwell, 2005), 179-196
  • ‘Repatching the Play’, From Script to Stage in Early Modern England, ed. Peter Holland and Stephen Orgel (London: Palgrave, 2004), 151-77; reprinted in Teatro do Mundo da Página à Cena, da Cena à Página, ed. Cristina Marinho (Porto: Centro de Estudos Teatrais da Universidade do Porto, 2012) 
  • New article on Thomas Chapman (c. 1683-1747), New Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004) 
  • ‘Teaching Shakespeare in Higher Education’, Shakespeare in Education, ed. Martin Blocksidge (London: Continuum, 2004), 120-40 


  • [2017] ‘“Ev’ry Man must Play a Part”: Actors’ Parts and The Merchant of Venice’, Filologia Teatro Spettacolo [2017]
  • ‘“The Two Hours’ Traffic of Our Stage”: Time for Shakespeare’, Journal of the British Academy, 3 (2015), 1-33
  • ‘“Fill thy Purse with Money”: Shareholders, Shakespeare and Theatrical Finance’, Shakespeare Jahrbuch, 150 (2-14), 65-78
  • An Eighteenth Century Puppet Hamlet’, Animations Online (2014) 
  • ‘Sermons, Plays and Note-Takers: Hamlet Q1 as a “Noted” Text’, Shakespeare Survey, 66 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 1-23
  • ‘“If I could See the Puppets Dallying”: Der Bestrafte Brudermord as a Puppet Play’, Shakespeare Bulletin, 31 (2013), 337-52 
  • ‘Renaissance Drama: Future Directions’, Renaissance Drama, 40 (2012), 151-160
  • ‘“I Have Both the Note, and Dittie About Me”: Songs on the Early Modern Stage’, Common Knowledge, 17 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011), 306-20
  • ‘“The Forgery of Some Modern Author”?: Theobald’s Shakespeare and Cardenio’s Double Falsehood’, Shakespeare Quarterly, 62.4 (2011), 555-93
  • ‘Epilogues, Prayers after Plays, and Shakespeare’s 2 Henry IV’, Theatre Notebook, 64 (2010) 122-9; reprinted in Henry IV, parts 1 and 2 ed. Lawrence Trudeau (Gale: Cengage, 2017)
  • ‘Right and Wrong on Cue’, Around the Globe (Summer, 2008), 8-9, ISSN: 13662317; reprinted in the Globe theatre programme for A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2008), 16-18
  • ‘“On each Wall / And Corner Post”: Playbills, Title-pages, and Advertising in Early Modern London’, English Literary Renaissance, 36 (2006), 57-85
  • ‘“A Small-Beer Health to his Second Day”: Playwrights, Prologues, and First Performances in the Early Modern Theatre’, Studies in Philology, 101 (2004), 172-199,
  • ‘The “Part for Greene’s Orlando Furioso: A Source for the “Mock Trial” in Shakespeare’s Lear’, Notes and Queries, 49 (2002), 229-231 
  • ‘Behind the Arras: The Prompter’s Place in the Shakespearean Theatre’, Theatre Notebook, 55 (2001), 110-18 
  • ‘Live Rehearsals’, Around the Globe (Spring, 2001), 12-13, ISSN: 13662317
  • ‘“You that Walk i’th’galleries”: Standing and Walking in the Galleries of the Globe Theatre’, Shakespeare Quarterly, 51 (2000), 211-16


  • [2018] ‘Rehearsal’, ‘Prologues’, ‘Actors’ Parts’, ‘Playbills’, ‘Titleboards’, ‘Prompters’, ‘Playbooks’ in The Stanford Global Shakespeare Encyclopedia (Stanford: Stanford UP)gen. ed. Patricia Parker
  • ‘Quite the Reverse’, National Theatre Programme for William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (2017)
  • 2016  ‘Time Will Tells’, Shakespeare Lives 2016, BBC Digital Website (2016)
  • The Beaux’ Stratagem and Eighteenth Century Life’, National Theatre Programme for George Farquhar’s The Beaux’ Stratagem (2015) 
  • 2014 ‘Hamlet and Reversal: Content, Staging, Sound and Casting’, Globe to Globe Hamlet (special Shakespeare’s Globe website on Hamlet, 2014).
  • The Fragment and the Whole’, for Take Note, an interactive exhibition hosted by Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University (2012).
  • ‘Places Please: Mozart’s Rehearsals’, Glyndebourne Touring Opera Programme (1998)

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