Drama and Creative Writing
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Postgraduate Student Profiles

Drama and Creative Writing has a dynamic postgraduate research community. Our postgraduate students are involved in a wide range of innovative research, from the production and study of performance, to creative writing, including novels, short stories and poems.

A dynamic postgraduate research community
Mathilda Branson

Mathilda Branson

Dissertation topic: Re-imagining the Rural Tour

I am currently writing up my PhD which is an AHRC funded collaboration with New Perspectives Theatre Company. My research looks at the UK rural touring sector as an area of theatre practice which has been overlooked academically, with a particular focus on rural audiences; places of performances; and the rural touring distribution model, which relies on a network of rural touring schemes and thousands of volunteer promoters. My research also looks at the possibility of more formally innovative work for this sector, and through the collaboration with New Perspectives I have been able to make and trial two pilot pieces of work for rural audiences: Something Blue which was an interactive show set at a wedding take place in the village hall; and Homing, a performance which took the entire village as its setting and included a walk around the village accompanied by both audio recordings and live actors.

I previously completed a Research Masters at the University of Nottingham - both this and my PhD were under the supervision of Dr Jo Robinson and Dr Gordon Ramsay. Outside of my research I am a director, dramaturg and theatre-maker, with a particular interest in women's voices and new writing. More information about my directing work is available at www.tillybranson.com.


Oscar Delgado

Dissertation Topic: Life in the Machine: Natural and Supernatural Visions of a Victorian Empire

I am currently in my second year of PhD studies at the University of Nottingham under the supervision of Dr Spencer Jordan and Thomas Legendre. My research revolves around the idea of hybridity as applied to literature. I see the text as a melting pot in which genres, cultures, and identities can merge. I am interested in the way the act of writing can create junctures. My creative process involves merging factual and alternative historical realities of Britain, as well as revealing and conjuring links between peoples, settings, and cultures inside the text. My current focus is on the juncture points in which gothic, steampunk, and fantasy meet, as well as the cultural hybridity of Latin-Americans living in Great Britain.

I began studying English when I was seventeen and have never stopped since. I earned my BA in English from the University of Costa Rica. Then, I continued with a Master’s degree in English Literature from the same university, where I also began teaching. In 2014, I came to England to undertake an MA in Creative Writing at Lancaster University, and presently the University of Nottingham has given me the opportunity to continue my studies in creative writing.

Steven Justice

Steven Justice

Dissertation Topic: Using Literary Linguistics in the Creation of Fiction

I am currently in the first year of a PhD in Creative Writing under the supervision of Dr Spencer Jordan and Professor Peter Stockwell.  As I am undertaking a PhD in Creative Writing, my research consists of a creative component and a critical component. In the creative component I plan to explore themes of escapism, depression, fear of change, and loss of control using magical realism to represent emotional and psychological distress. In the critical component my intent is to analyse how effectively literary linguistic frameworks can be used in the creation of literature to achieve the creative goals, reduce distance between the author and reader, and increase emotional impact.  

I did my undergraduate Masters at St Andrews University before moving to South Korea, where I worked for over ten years mostly at universities as a lecturer of English language and literature. During my time in Korea I completed a postgraduate Masters in Literary Linguistics from the University of Nottingham before moving here in 2017 to begin my PhD studies full-time.

Hannah Manktelow

Hannah Manktelow

Dissertation Topic: Provincial Shakespeare Performance, 1769 - 2016

My PhD looks at performance of Shakespeare's plays in provincial England from 1769-2016. I’m affiliated with the British Library as well as the University of Nottingham, and my research has made use of the Library’s extensive collection of theatrical playbills as well as those from local archives all over the country. I am particularly interested in the degree to which regional theatres are able to resist the influence of London and Stratford-upon-Avon, and the role that Shakespeare productions can play in the development of local and national identities.

Over the course of my PhD I have contributed to the British Library’s upcoming exhibition Shakespeare in Ten Acts, and have written a chapter for the accompanying exhibition catalogue, as well as a little book called The Bard in Brief: Shakespeare in Quotations. Both will be published in 2015. I’ve also acted as a consultant for the BBC on their digital project ‘Shakespeare on Tour’ and will be appearing on various local airwaves talking about all things Shakespeare in March 2015.

Sarah O'Malley

Sarah O’Malley

Dissertation Topic: Gendered Lands: Literary Representations of Seventeenth-Century English Landscapes, Spaces and Places at Home and Abroad

I am currently in the second year of my AHRC Midlands 3 Cities funded PhD. My research looks at how the old and New Worlds of seventeenth-century England were connected via a shared discourse and frame of reference through which space was understood and represented. Within this I look at how identity, specifically gender identity, was closely related to conceptions of and interactions with space and place. I look at a variety of source material, including pamphlets, letters, sermons and drama. I am interested in how these various sources of information on old and New World spaces circulated simultaneously to build multifaceted, overlapping identities for the different spaces they represented. The theatre holds a particular interest as a unique space in which these various, often conflicting ideas were brought together, displayed and interrogated for a wide range of audiences.

I also co-ordinate the interdisciplinary Landscape, Space, Place Research Group at the University of Nottingham, and am in the process of expanding this network across the Midlands 3 Cities Universities to bring together academics with similar research interests. I previously completed my degree and MA at Nottingham Trent University, and spent several years working at the British Library before beginning my PhD.

Emma Wisher

Emma Lauren Wisher

Dissertation Topic: Writer as God: Threats and Challenges to Authorial Intent During the Creation, Development and Destruction of Fictional Characters  

The aim of my research is to explore the ways authorial intent is challenged during the creation, development and destruction of fictional characters. I will consider how the details and descriptions provided by writers in their work can be interpreted and adjusted by other individuals involved in the creative process, such as readers who envisage characters subjectively in their minds or actors who bring a physicality to prose descriptions. Each individual contributes towards the creation and development of fictional characters, but can often challenge the writer’s original intent. My research will take the form of a self-referential novel told from the point of view of my protagonist, Lily, who begins to question whether she is in control of her own destiny or is nothing more than a fictional character in a predetermined narrative.

I previously studied at the University of Nottingham for a BA (Hons) in English and a MRes in Film and Television. I have also achieved a MA in Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University. I have always been passionate about writing and have had several short pieces published, including the poem 'Family Tree' in the anthology Bringing it Home, a short screenplay entitled ‘Inspire, Expire’ in the student-produced anthology Restless Minds and several informative pieces that were published by the online magazine The National Student.


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Drama and Creative Writing

School of English
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The University of Nottingham
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