My thesis explores realism and feminism in contemporary theatre in Britain, focusing on playwrights and theatre-makers including RashDash, Alice Birch and Katie Mitchell, and Ella Hickson. It revisits the feminist critique of realism that dominated feminist theatre criticism in the 1980s and 90s and rethinks it in relation to the forms of twenty-first century theatre. My key research questions investigate the forms and meanings of realism in the twenty-first century British theatre, and, crucially for my selected plays which all engage with gender, how realism relates to concepts of gender norms and binaries. The thesis contends that, instead of being an impediment to questioning gender (as the feminist critique of realism argues), elements of realism might be essential to how these playwrights and theatre-makers go about questioning gender.
At Oxford, I co-convene the Theatre & Performance network, which provides an interdisciplinary intellectual home for theatre researchers across the university. Events I’ve organised as part of this have included a biweekly critical reading group, a day symposium on collaboration in theatre, ‘in conversation’ events with playwrights Ella Hickson and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, and academic talks by Professor Dan Rebellato, Professor David Wiles, and Dr Emma Whipday. I am also Postgraduate Representative for the Theatre and Performance Research Association.
I’m currently exploring how I can better bring my academic research together with my practice as a playwright. I received funding from the TORCH Theatres Seed Fund to collaborate with colleagues from the Classics Faculty and Pegasus Theatre to develop a practice as research project around my queer reimagining of Euripides’ Andromeda. You can read more about the first phase of the project here.