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Hannah Manktelow

Research Student, Faculty of Arts


Research Summary

Current Status

PhD (full-time) - currently registered

Research Topic

Provincial Shakespeare Performance, 1769 - 2016

Research Summary

I am working on a Collaborative Doctoral Project between the University of Nottingham and the British Library, examining how Shakespeare's plays have been performed outside London from 1769 onwards. The project was created to make use of the British Library's extensive, and under-used, collection of playbills, and to create a body of work that will contribute to the Library's planned commemorative Shakespeare exhibition in 2016.

Currently, the vast majority of scholarship by theatre historians and Shakespearean scholars focuses on London performance which, although spectacular and well-resourced, was fundamentally un-representative of typical theatrical culture. In contrast, my research will concentrate on provincial productions, taking five towns as case studies: Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Nottingham, Norwich, Bath, and Brighton. Using information gathered from playbills, I am undertaking a qualitative analysis of the nature of Shakespearean performance in these towns, asking questions of the data that include how frequently Shakespeare was performed and the popularity of different plays in the canon.

In identifying regional and national trends and examining how these changed over time, I aim to link provincial performance to wider questions concerning the nature of, and relationship between, regional and national identities in England and Britain. This project accordingly draws on the fields of theatre history, performance studies, urban history and political history, resulting in a truly interdisciplinary study that looks to emphasise the value of looking beyond the London stages to those of alternative urban centres and county towns to gain insight into the cultural experiences of everyday men and women.

Research Interests

  • Shakespeare Performance
  • Performance History
  • National and Regional Identity
  • Theatrical Culture

Research Supervisors

Primary Funding Source

Arts and Humanities Research Council


Manktelow, H., The Bard in Brief: Shakespeare in Quotations (London: The British Library, 2016)

Manktelow, H, '"Do You Not Know I Am a Woman?": The Legacy of the First Female Desdemona, 1660', in Shakespeare in Ten Acts (London: The British Library, 2016)

Conference Papers and Presentations

  • Reclaiming Regional Theatre History with the British Library Playbill Collection' - "Dumb Objects, Spoken For"?: On Performance Archives and Documentation, STR New Researchers' Network, June 2015

  • "They reserve themselves for the London theatres": Railways, Redefined Boundaries, and the Loss of Local Shakespeare - Victorian Travel and Imperial Spaces, University of Kent, May 2015

  • Reclaiming Regional Shakespeare - East Midlands Universities Research Student Conference, University of Leicester, September 2014

  • "The celebrated Infant Kean, only six years of age": Celebrity, novelty and innovation in nineteenth century provincial Shakespeare - British Graduate Shakespeare Conference, Shakespeare Institute, June 2014

  • "A Six Year Old Macbeth and Other Extraordinary Attractions": Examining Provincial Shakespeare Performance Through Playbills- School of English PGR Symposium, University of Nottingham, May 2014

Academic History

  • MA Early Modern History, King's College London
  • BA (Hons) History, University of Leicester

School of English

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