School of English

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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 sit in the Drama and Creative Writing section of the School, 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.

I am Director of Postgraduate Teaching for the Faculty of Arts, Senior Tutor for the School of English, and Deputy Director of Teaching for the Drama and Creative Writing section.

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 the general editor of Shakespeare Bulletin, a general editor of the Revels Plays Companion Library, a regular contributor to Shakespeare Survey on UK Shakespeare performance, and a peer reviewer for the AHRC and several leading journals and academic presses. I sit on the editorial boards of Early Theatre and Shakespeare and the editorial advisory board for Digital Renaissance Editions.

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 current research is split between projects on Shakespeare and his contemporaries in modern performance, and editing projects that build on my earlier work in Shakespearean book history and… read more

Selected Publications

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
  • Early modern drama in its historical context

Current PhD students

Josh Caldicott, 'The Development of Epilogues in English Commercial Theatre, 1566-1642', 2018- (co-supervision with Simon Smith, Shakespeare Institute)

Amy Bromilow, 'Relevant Shakespeare', 2020- (co-supervision with Jem Bloomfield and Stuart Hampton-Reeves, University of Warwick)

Andy Barrett, 2014- (co-supervision with Pat Thomson and Jo Robinson)

Completed PhD students

Hannah Manktelow, 'Provincial Shakespeare Performance', awarded 2019 (co-supervision with Jo Robinson, and Tanya Kirk, British Library)

Sarah O'Malley, 'Gendered Lands: Women, Nature, and the Representation of Seventeenth-century English Landscapes', awarded 2019 (co-supervision with Julie Sanders, University of Newcastle)

Beth Sharrock, 'Paratexts for Live Theatre Broadcasts of Shakespeare', awarded 2021 (co-supervision with Erin Sullivan, Shakespeare Institute)

Ben Haworth, 'Liminality in Early Modern Literature and Drama', awarded 2021 (co-supervision with Pete Smith, Nottingham Trent University)

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 and 2018 I was delighted to accept the Student Union Staff Oscar for Best All-Round Teacher, and in 2021 I was awarded a Lord Dearing Award for high levels of commitment to teaching and learning.

I am a full fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and completed a full PGCHE in 2018.

Undergraduate modules

In 2021-22 I am convening the following modules:

ENGL1012: Shakespeare's Histories: Critical Approaches. This first-year subsidiary module, open to students around the university, introduces Shakespeare's second tetralogy from a range of critical approaches, with guest lecturers from several areas of the School of English.

ENGL2018: Shakespeare and Contemporaries on the Stage. This second-year module investigates how early modern drama works in performance, 'then and now'. We train students in how to read clues for performance into the earliest printed texts, and analyse contemporary responses through theatre trips.

I am supervising several undergraduate dissertations on a range of topics related to Shakespeare and his contemporaries on stage, screen and the page. I am always pleased to talk to students about potential dissertation topics, especially in the area of early modern drama and contemporary performance.

Postgraduate modules

In 2021-22 I am convening:

ENGL4219: Shakespeare: Text, Stage, Screen. This module focuses on three plays each year, exploring them in turn through examination of their earliest printed forms, live stage productions, and film, introducing students to theoretical approaches to adaptation and interpretation. This year's plays are Hamlet, Othello and The Winter's Tale.

CULT4058: Mastering the Arts. This cross-Faculty module introduces postgraduate students to the opportunities and challenges of interdisciplinary research, with a focus on research skills training.

AE404: Shakespeare and Text. This pod for the Applied Englishes programme in the School of English introduces distance learning students to the intricacies of Shakespearean textual studies.

I am always pleased to talk to MA students about dissertation topics in the field of early modern drama and performance.

Current Research

My current research is split between projects on Shakespeare and his contemporaries in modern performance, and editing projects that build on my earlier work in Shakespearean book history and editorial theory. Specific projects include:

Doctor Faustus for The Routledge Anthology of Early Modern Drama, ed. Jeremy Lopez (Routledge, 2020), a new student-facing edition of Marlowe's play.

The Arden Research Companion to Shakespeare and Contemporary Performance, ed. with Kathryn Prince (Bloomsbury, 2021), a major state-of-the-field collection of new research, practitioner interventions and research resources.

Shakespeare's Audiences, ed. with Matteo Pangallo (Routledge, 2021), a new edited collection exploring the role played by audiences in Shakespearean performance across the centuries.

Past Research

Please see my Publications page for a list of my already-published work.

The Shakespeare Apocrypha

Much of my research from 2011-2016 focused on the plays of the Shakespeare Apocrypha, culminating in a major monograph, Shakespeare and the Idea of Apocrypha (Cambridge, 2015), a new edition of disputed plays general edited by Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen, William Shakespeare and Others: Collaborative Plays (Palgrave, 2013), a curated section of the Folger's Shakespeare Documented exhibition, and several book chapters and articles.

Shakespeare in the Book Trade

Following a successful seminar at the Shakespeare Association of America conference in St. Louis, 2014, Emma Depledge and I curated a volume building on our shared interest in the role of the book trade in consolidating Shakespeare's canonicity, Canonising Shakespeare: Stationers and the Book Trade, 1640-1740 (Cambridge, 2017). My work on Shakespearean book history has featured in Shakespeare Quarterly, Philological Quarterly and several book collections.

Shakespeare on Stage and Screen

For an audience beyond academia, my theatre review blog, The Bardathon, is one of the longest-running single-authored theatre review blogs still in operation, and I also wrote nine performance histories for single volumes in the RSC Shakespeare series. My scholarly articles on Shakespeare in performance have featured in Shakespeare, Shakespeare Bulletin, and several book collections. I have a particular interest in Shakespeare on screen, both film and in live relays of theatre productions, an interest explored in my first co-edited collection, Shakespeare and the Digital World (Cambridge, 2014).

My most recent book, Shakespeare in the Theatre: Cheek by Jowl (Bloomsbury, 2019), is the first scholarly monograph on one of the world's leading Shakespeare companies, and you can read more about it here.

Future Research

Over the next few years, I will be working on three book-length projects:

The Winter's Tale: I am developing a new critical edition of this extraordinary play, and will be spending much of the next few years working in detail on all aspects of his history. I am always keen to hear new hot takes!

Arden of Faversham: With Duncan Salkeld, I am putting together an edited collection of current research and approaches to this endlessly rewarding play.

Early Modern Theatre: A Very Short Introduction: I am writing this short introductory book for Oxford University Press's VSI series.

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