Drama and Creative Writing
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Staff Profiles

The staff team is actively engaged in a broad range of academic disciplines and activities. Team members have written plays, novels, short stories and poems.

They are also engaged in the critical exploration of creative form and contexts. All this feeds into and enriches their teaching and supervision of students.

There is an emphasis on the practicalities of getting published in our teaching activities, from the initial writing, through to editing and publication or performance.

The team has a strong record of collaboration with regional creative and cultural partners.

Each team member has a rich variety of experience

The School of English is a partner of the annual Festival of Words, and staff have close connections with the Nottingham Playhouse, Theatre Royal, and other local theatres, as well as with the Nottingham Writers’ Studio, and a number of regional publishers and writing organisations.


Chris Collins

Assistant Professor of Drama

My primary area of research centres around performances of history, memory and heritage. We are all fascinated by the past because it is the best way of planning for the future. The simple question that my research continually returns to again is this: how is the future affected by the performance of what has been forgotten? I have written publications, directed performances, and facilitated workshops on this research topic for many years. For example, my most recent book, Theatre and Residual Culture, considered what happened when Irish playwright J.M. Synge staged performances about a pre-Christian history that Catholic Ireland at the turn of the twentieth-century desperately wanted to forget. I am equally interested in how communities use contemporary theatre to perform their own histories, memories and heritage to a wider public.

Spencer Jordan

Spencer Jordan

Assistant Professor in Creative Writing

My teaching speciality is fiction (the novel and the short story); historical and experimental writing; digital/hypertext fiction; and literary geography, particularly as it relates to the digitally-enhanced context of the smart city. My novel, Journeys in the Dead Season, was published by Macmillan in 2005.

I’m particularly interested in the role and function of creative writing within literary geography (and within that aspects of psychogeography). I’ve undertaken a number of projects that have looked at the interaction of creative writing, digital technology and subjective conceptions of place.

Peter Kirwan

Peter Kirwan

Associate Professor in Early Modern Drama

I joined the School of English in 2011, and specialise broadly in the textual and performance histories of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, as well as digital Shakespeare and Shakespearean film.

I am repeatedly drawn to questions of how Shakespeare is accommodated to specific historical moments and media, and how Shakespeare is distinguished and separated from his contemporaries, a problem I address in my book Shakespeare and the Idea of Apocrypha. As well as writing books and articles, I put theory into practice as both a textual editor and theatre reviewer.

My current projects include a monograph on the theatre company Cheek by Jowl, an edited collection on Shakespeare and the book trade 1640-1740, and new editions of Doctor Faustus and Pericles. I am also working with the British Library on its 2016 Shakespeare exhibition.

Dr Thomas Legendre

Thomas Legendre

Lecturer in Creative Writing

Much of my creative work in fiction (and a bit of drama) explores the subjective underpinnings of apparently objective material, drawing heavily from not only social sciences like economics and archaeology but also harder sciences such as astronomy and physics. This interest translates variously across my teaching from first-year undergraduate all the way up to PhD supervision, encouraging students to produce fiction of all shapes and sizes.

In particular I enjoy the subtle but crucial use of narrative voice and distance in relation to point-of-view, the self-generated structures of narrative, and the unexpected renderings of character, dialogue, setting, and plot that lead to engaging stories and novels. I also have an abiding interest in space and place, as demonstrated by my site-specific performance piece, Half Life, and my novel The Burning, which is set firmly in the American southwest.

Dr Lila Matsumoto

Lila Matsumoto

Assistant Professor in Creative Writing

John Cage wrote: ‘I have nothing to say/ and I am saying it/ and that is poetry/ as I need it.’ Cage expresses here the mysterious quality of poetry: both its power to draw out the beauty of the seeming ‘nothing’, and our need for this in our everyday lives. Much of my writing, research, and teaching engages with how poetic language can make our world wonderfully strange. I am interested in collaborative processes and have recently worked with visual artists to create a series of film poems and a physical theatre performance.

I am committed to connecting the practice and study of creative writing to wider research culture, in particular through small press publishing and organisation of literary events. I am on the steering committee of the poetry festival Outside-In/Inside-Out which takes place in Glasgow from October-November, and am the organiser of the Women Translate symposium taking place in Edinburgh in November 2016. My publications include the collections Soft Troika (If a Leaf Falls Press, 2016) and Allegories from my Kitchen (Sad Press, 2015).

Jon McGregor

Jon McGregor

Professor of Creative Writing

I’ve been a writer in residence in the School of English since 2012, and have worked with undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as colleagues to establish and produce The Letters Page, a literary journal in letters which has published writers from across the world who are interested in exploring correspondence as a literary form.

My work in the School draws extensively on my ongoing professional experience as a fiction writer. I aim to strip away some of the mystique which accrues around the publishing process, but also to encourage students to complicate and diversify their thinking about writing and publication, and about their roles within literary communities. My publications include the novels If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things and the Impac Dublin Prize winning Even the Dogs, and a short story collection. My next novel, Reservoir 13, will be published by 4th Estate in April 2017.


Jim Moran

Professor of Modern English Literature and Drama

I am a professor of modern English literature and drama, and my research focuses in particular upon the theatre of twentieth-century Ireland and Britain. I first developed a serious interest in drama as an undergraduate student, when I ran a small theatre troupe and had a brief but glorious acting career, the highlights of which included being cross-dressed for a role in The Taming of the Shrew, and being cast as a non-speaking corpse in Richard III. I then continued my postgraduate studies by researching a group of modern Irish dramatists, and this work was published as my first book in 2005.

I was lucky enough to be appointed lecturer at the University of Nottingham in 2004, since when I have been awarded prizes and fellowships by the British Academy; the Leverhulme Trust; and the National University of Ireland, Galway. Today, I find it a genuine pleasure to explore literature and drama with a diverse range of students both inside and outside the university; I enjoy writing for a number of different publications; and I have had the good fortune to participate in a number of fascinating projects with colleagues at organisations including the Royal National Theatre and the BBC. 


Gordon Ramsay

Lecturer in Drama and Performance

I try to encourage lots of playfulness, experimentation and draft work – from quick writing exercises where you can catch yourself out to the opposite – the reworking and crafting that is so important to the writing process.

Being able to reflect on the work of peers, to ask pertinent questions and to make helpful and constructive questions in a supportive and encouraging environment can only be a good thing for the writer in developing a similar level of criticality and analysis with their own work.


Jo Robinson

Associate Professor in Drama and Performance

I have worked at the University of Nottingham since 1998, and was appointed Associate Professor in Drama and Performance in 2010: the university has provided a supportive and stimulating environment and enabled me to build interdisciplinary research links within the Faculty of Arts and beyond. My research interests focus on the relationships between performance, place, community and region: within that frame I have worked on regional cultural geographies of theatre from the nineteenth century onwards; collaborative research projects with theatres and creative industry partners; theatre audiences and communities. I’m also interested in the processes by which we tell the stories of past performance cultures, so my final area of research is that of theatre history and historiography.

I led the AHRC project, ‘Mapping the Moment: Performance Culture in Nottingham 1857-1867’, an interdisciplinary collaboration with the School of Geography, from 2006-09: research outputs from that project were published in Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film, NTQ and Performance Research. My current research, 'Changing Communities: performance, engagement and place', focuses on theatre and community in the East Midlands from the 1970s onwards. One output from that project, Theatre and the Rural, will be published as part of the Palgrave Theatre and series in 2016. Collaborative work with regional theatres has led to two AHRC-funded collaborative doctoral awards for students to work with Nottingham Playhouse and New Perspectives Theatre Company; I am currently working with Nottingham Theatre Royal to develop innovative ways of presenting their rich archival and performance history to new audiences.

Lucie Sutherland

Lucie Sutherland

Assistant Professor in Drama

As a researcher, I specialise in commercial theatre – specifically London’s West End – from the late nineteenth century to the present day. I came to the University in 2006 to work on the innovative AHRC project, ‘Mapping the Moment: Performance Culture in Nottingham 1857-1867’ led by my colleague Dr. Jo Robinson, and since that time, I have enjoyed working with a range of students and colleagues on teaching as well as research.

My particular interest lies in the way professional infrastructure influences repertoire in mainstream theatre, and I have published on subjects including the emergence and influence of formal training for actors, and the altering professional status of the actress in the early twentieth century. Current work includes a critical biography of actor-manager George Alexander and an edition for the Routledge ‘Fourth Wall’ series: J.M. Barrie’s ‘Peter Pan’.


Matt Welton

Assistant Professor in Creative Writing

I think of myself as a writer rather than as a poet. Here’s why. When I began writing, I imagined I would write books that had something important to say. I figured, though, that in order to get the important stuff across I would first need to master writing technique. What actually happened was that my interest in technique led to a fascination with form, and my poems moved from using obvious technical things like rhyme and metre towards playing games with grammar or phrasing or the repetition of words. These days my poems resemble tiny novels. Really I think I just care about having fun with language.

Recognition for my work includes the Jerwood-Aldeburgh First Collection Prize, second place in the Arvon International Poetry Competition, the Eric Gregory Award, and a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. My third book, The Number Poems, will be published by Carcanet in 2016.

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Photos by Nic McPhee / CC BY 2.0

Drama and Creative Writing

School of English
Trent Building
The University of Nottingham
University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5900
Fax: +44 (0) 115 951 5924

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