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Peter Kirwan

Associate Professor in Early Modern Drama, Faculty of Arts



BA Hons (2005), MA (2007), PhD (2011): University of Warwick

I joined the University of Nottingham in 2011 following completion of my PhD. I am currently section head for Drama and Creative Writing, and teach on a range of modules (mostly focused on early modern drama) in the School at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. You can follow me on Twitter here.

Expertise Summary

My broad expertise is in the drama of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, in both the early modern period and in later print and performance history.

I have a particular interest in the dividing line between 'Shakespeare' and 'not-Shakespeare' and the ways in which 'Shakespeare' is constructed and defined to meet particular needs. Specific areas of expertise include: collaborative and disputed authorship (especially the 'Shakespeare Apocrypha'); book and editing history; contemporary performance and screen adaptations; digital Shakespeare. I am currently completing a monograph on the theatre company Cheek by Jowl and an edited collection on Shakespeare's print history from 1640-1740.

I am Book Reviews Editor for the journal Early Theatre, incoming Theatre Reviews Editor for Shakespeare Bulletin, Editions and Textual Studies reviewer for Shakespeare Survey and a peer reviewer for the AHRC and several leading journals and academic presses. I sit on the editorial board of Shakespeare and the editorial advisory boards for Digital Renaissance Editions and Apocrypha Redivivus.

I speak regularly at theatres and societies around the region and nationally, and participate in a range of outreach activities including theatre programmes, websites, theatre review archives and events.

Teaching Summary

Before beginning my PhD I worked at the CAPITAL (Creativity and Performance in Teaching and Learning) Centre at the University of Warwick, which instilled in me a lifelong passion for teaching. At… read more

Research Summary

My research deals broadly with historical and contemporary divisions between Shakespeare and not-Shakespeare in print history, theatre history, contemporary performance and film. I have several… read more

I welcome PhD candidates in any area of Shakespeare and early modern drama, particularly the following:

  • Texts and editorial theory
  • Contemporary stage and screen performance, including live-streaming
  • Adaptations and new writing based on Shakespeare
  • Reception studies
  • Early modern drama in its historical context

Current PhD students:

Hannah Manktelow, 'Provincial Shakespeare Performance', 2013- (co-supervision with Dr Jo Robinson, and Tanya Kirk (British Library))

Sarah O'Malley, 'Gendered Lands: Women, Nature, and the Representation of Seventeenth-century English Landscapes', 2014- (co-supervision with Julie Sanders, University of Newcastle)

Alessia Molteni, 'Shakespeare in Taiwan', 2015- (co-supervision with Jem Bloomfield)

Before beginning my PhD I worked at the CAPITAL (Creativity and Performance in Teaching and Learning) Centre at the University of Warwick, which instilled in me a lifelong passion for teaching. At Nottingham I am lucky enough to be able to teach at all levels of undergraduate and postgraduate study, and my teaching interests both reflect and inform my research. I teach broadly across the School's drama modules, specialising in early modern drama.

In 2014 I was delighted to accept the Student Union Staff Oscar for Best All-Round Teacher.

Undergraduate modules

In 2017-18 I am teaching on the following modules:

Q3109S Shakespeare's Histories: Critical Approaches Q31401 Academic Community Q31501 Drama, Theatre, Performance Q32502 Shakespeare and his Contemporaries on the Stage (convenor) Q33606 Screen Shakespeares (convenor)

I am also supervising six undergraduate dissertations, and am happy to talk to future dissertation students about prospective projects.

Postgraduate modules

In 2017-18 I will be offering some sessions on Q34547 Early Performance Cultures . I am pleased to talk to MA students about proposals for dissertations in all areas of early modern literature and drama.

My office hours are Tuesdays, 9am-11am in Trent A.73, or email me for appointments outside these times.

Current Research

My research deals broadly with historical and contemporary divisions between Shakespeare and not-Shakespeare in print history, theatre history, contemporary performance and film. I have several ongoing strands of research into Shakespeare in Performance, Shakespeare on Screen, Early Modern Book History, Textual Editing, The Shakespeare Apocrypha and Digital Shakespeare, and you can find more information on each strand below.

Shakespeare in Performance

My primary current project is a book-length study of the theatre company Cheek by Jowl, to be published in 2018 as part of the new series 'Shakespeare in the Theatre' from The Arden Shakespeare. This book will focus on Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod's important work on early modern drama in English, French and Russian, interrogating the company's utilisation of stage space and actors' bodies.

Other recent and forthcoming work on Shakespeare and his contemporaries in performance includes:

  • Coverage of the 2012 World Shakespeare Festival in the edited collections A Year of Shakespeare (Bloomsbury, 2013), Shakespeare Beyond English (Cambridge, 2013) and [with Charlotte Mathieson] Shakespeare on the Global Stage (Bloomsbury, 2015).
  • A chapter for an edited collection on Shakespeare and Quotation interrogating practices of quotation in Ben Power's play A Tender Thing and Paul Griffiths's novel Let Me Tell You (Cambridge, forthcoming).
  • A chapter for The Oxford Handbook to Shakespeare and Performance (Oxford, forthcoming) on the influence of Shakespeare on productions of Shakespeare's contemporaries.
  • An article for a special issue of Shakespeare on the RSC's 2014 'Roaring Girls' season.

Since 2013 I have been collaborating with the British Library and Dr Jo Robinson (Nottingham) on a collaborative doctoral partnership entitled 'Provincial Shakespeare Performance', connected to an exhibition in 2016 at the British Library for which I sat on the Advisory Board. In 2016, with Monika Smialkowska (Northumbria), I ran a seminar at the World Shakespeare Congress on this topic.

Past publications on Shakespeare in performance also include performance histories for nine volumes in the RSC Shakespeare series (Coriolanus, the Henry VI plays, Julius Caesar, The Merchant of Venice, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Pericles, Richard II, Troilus and Cressida and The Two Gentlemen of Verona).

Shakespeare on screen

Developed from my work teaching the final year undergraduate module Screen Shakespeares, I am also undertaking work on Shakespearean performance on film. Recent and forthcoming work includes:

  • '"You have no voice!": Constructing Reputation Through Contemporaries in the Shakespeare Biopic' Shakespeare Bulletin (2014).
  • A review of Volpone on television for a special issue of Shakespeare Bulletin on early modern performance on television (2015).
  • 'Framing the Theatrical: Shakespearean Film in the UK' in The Shakespearean World (Routledge, 2017)
  • A chapter on Cheek by Jowl's live-streamed productions for a new edited collection on streamed Shakespeare (Bloomsbury, forthcoming).
  • A chapter on the tragedies on film for the brand new Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare on Screen.

Past Research

The Shakespeare Apocrypha

As part of the AHRC-funded team working on Collaborative Plays by Shakespeare and Others (PIs: Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen), my work seeks to interrogate easy binaries between canonical and disputed plays and situate the plays of the 'Shakespeare Apocrypha' within their historical contexts.

Publications emerging from this research include:

I also contributed several items to the 'Collaborations and (Mis)Attributions' section of the Folger Shakespeare Library's Shakespeare Documented online exhibition.

Digital Shakespeare

In 2013 I collaborated with Professor Roberta Pearson (Nottingham) and Dr. Kate Rumbold (Birmingham) on a series of workshops entitled Shakespeare in the New Media Age with a view to larger interdisciplinary collaborations.

  • Shakespeare and the Digital World (Cambridge, 2014), an essay collection co-edited with Dr. Christie Carson (Royal Holloway), reflecting on the effects of the digital revolution on Shakespeare Studies.

Future Research

Early Modern Book History

In 2014, in collaboration with Dr Emma Depledge (Fribourg), I convened a seminar for the Shakespeare Association of America annual conference in St. Louis on 'Shakespeare and the Book Trade, 1640-1735'. We are currently completing a collection of essays on the subject for Cambridge University Press entitled Canonising Shakespeare: Stationers and the Book Trade, 1640-1740 (September 2017).

Other recent and forthcoming work on book history includes:

  • '"May I subscribe a name?": Terms of Collaboration in 1616' for 1616: Shakespeare and Tang Xianzu's China (Bloomsbury, 2016).
  • '"Complete" Works: The Folio and All of Shakespeare' for The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare's First Folio (Cambridge, 2016).
  • 'Marlowe's Early Books: 1 Contention and a "Marlowe Effect"' for Booking Christopher Marlowe: Cultures of Performance and Publication (Cambridge, 2016). This work was generously supported by a short-term fellowship at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Textual Editing

I am currently preparing a new edition of Doctor Faustus to be included in The Routledge Anthology of Early Modern Drama, gen. ed. Jeremy Lopez (Routledge, forthcoming).

I am currently preparing a revision of the New Cambridge Shakespeare edition of Pericles (Cambridge, forthcoming).

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