Our next plenary speaker: Heather Knight

Last week we confirmed out first plenary speaker, Dr José A. Pérez Díez, who we are delighted to announce will be joined by Senior Archeologist with the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA), Heather Knight.


Heather was recently involved in the excavations of the Theatre and the Curtain, two 16th century Elizabethan playhouses in Shoreditch where many of Shakespeare’s early plays were performed. The main excavation of the Curtain playhouse took place last year and the post-excavation analysis has only just begun but the results of the excavation are already contributing enormously to an interdisciplinary dialogue researching the origins of English drama.

Heather is a member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA) and has been a Senior Archaeologist with MOLA since 1995. Over that time Heather has focused on the archaeology of medieval and post-medieval urban development in Greater London with a particular emphasis on theatre archaeology. Heather is also a member of the Advisory Board for “Before Shakespeare”, a multidisciplinary research project focusing on early modern drama and the first 30 years of London commercial playhouses.

We’re very much looking forward to welcoming all of this year’s plenaries to BritGrad and hope you will keep an eye on our blog as we announce more speakers. If you would like to submit a paper to BritGrad, details and the relevant information can be found here on our blog.


Our first plenary speaker: Dr José A. Pérez Díez

The BritGrad committee are delighted to confirm our first plenary speaker! A Shakespeare Institute alumnus, José is now a Research Fellow at the School of English of the University of Leeds.

         Dr José A. Pérez Díez

During his PhD at the Shakespeare Institute, José completed the first modern-spelling critical edition of Love’s Cure, or The Martial Maid by John Fletcher and Philip Massinger. He is currently part of the team of scholars working on the new edition of the complete works of John Marston, due to be published by Oxford University Press in 2020.

His main field of research is Anglo-Spanish literary and cultural relations in the Jacobean period, with specific interests in the plays of John Fletcher and the literary connections of the Count of Gondomar. He is also interested in the performance of rarely produced Renaissance drama, and has founded at Leeds The Playhouse Lab, a permanent forum to explore plays from the period in unrehearsed script-in-hand conditions to support teaching and practical research. He is a frequent reviewer of opera and Renaissance drama, including Shakespeare, for various academic journals and for the web portal Reviewing Shakespeare, of which he is Associate Editor for England. He is also the Membership Officer of the British Shakespeare Association.

In addition to his own plenary session, José will also be one of four people to take part in a new addition to BritGrad’s programme this year: a round-table discussion featuring early-career academics which aims to address welfare-related issues widely impacting academics both during and after the completion of doctoral work.

We are excited to welcome Dr José A. Pérez Díez to be a part of the Nineteenth Annual British Graduate Shakespeare Conference and look forward to him sharing is work with us!

Plenary Profile: Eoin Price

It’s time for the final Plenary Profile of the 2016 conference! Meet Eoin Price: an academic (and former BritGrad committee member) who works on the politics of Renaissance performance and publication.

Eoin Price

Dr Eoin Price is a Lecturer in English Literature at Swansea University. Before joining Swansea, he was a PhD student at The Shakespeare Institute where he co-organized BritGrad. His interest in the politics of performance and playbook publication led him to write ‘Public’ and ‘Private’ Playhouses in Renaissance England: The Politics of Publication (Palgrave: 2015) and has also written about Renaissance drama for Literature Compass, The Map of Early Modern London and The Year’s Work in English Studies. In addition to his historical research he is increasingly interested in the twenty-first century reception and afterlife of Renaissance plays. He writes about modern productions on his personal blog and also reviews for Shakespeare, Shakespeare Bulletin, and Reviewing Shakespeare. He is part of the Executive Committee of the Marlowe Society of America and serves as the Performance Editor for The Marlowe Society of America Newsletter.

Plenary Profiles: Harry Newman

Here’s the seventh in our series of Plenary Profiles. Meet Harry Newman: an academic specialising in early modern material culture and a former BritGrad Committee member.

Harry Newman

Dr Harry Newman is a Lecturer in Shakespeare and Early Modern Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London. He publishes primarily on material culture, book history and rhetoric in early modern literature, and his first book, Impressive Shakespeare: Identity, Authority and the Imprint in Shakespearean Drama, will be out with Routledge in 2017. He also runs The Paper Stage, a public Renaissance play-reading series with branches in Surrey, Kent and Mantua (Italy).

Check back soon to find out more about our plenary speakers for BritGrad 2016!

Plenary Profiles: Emma Whipday

Plenary Profile #6! Introducing Emma Whipday: academic and playwright specialising in early modern drama and practice as research.

Emma Whipday Photo
Picture by David Tett

Dr Emma Whipday is a Teaching Fellow in Shakespeare and Early Modern English Literature at King’s College London, and a Globe Education Lecturer at Shakespeare’s Globe. She has published on early modern street literature, staging the home in domestic tragedy, the RSC ‘Roaring Girls’ season, and theatrical practice as research; her practice as research productions of early modern plays include The Tragedy of Merry from Robert Yarington’s Two Lamentable Tragedies and Samuel Daniel’s The Tragedie of Cleopatra. Emma is also an Associate Writer for Oxford-based theatre company Reverend Productions, and her play Shakespeare’s Sister has recently been published by Samuel French.

Check back soon to find out more about our plenary speakers for BritGrad 2016!

Plenary Profiles: Patrick Gray

Here’s the fifth in our series of Plenary Profiles. Meet Patrick Gray, who’s tackled many subjects in his work, including psychology, philosophy, and vampires.

research papers out of high school students
Picture by Gretchen Ertl

Patrick Gray is Lecturer in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature in the Department of English Studies at Durham University. He is the co-editor with John D. Cox of Shakespeare and Renaissance Ethics (Cambridge UP, 2014) and currently co-editing a further collection of essays on Shakespeare and Montaigne with Lars Engle and Will Hamlin, as well as a special issue of Critical Survey on Shakespeare and war. His essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Shakespeare Survey, Shakespeare-Jahrbuch, Critical Survey, Comparative Drama, and Cahiers Shakespeare en devenir.

In the spring of 2016 he will be Early Career International Research Fellow at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, 1100-1800, where he will be working on his monograph, Shame and Guilt in Shakespeare, and organizing a symposium on the early modern reception of Hellenistic ethics, together with Peter Holbrook and Ada Palmer.

Before taking up his appointment at Durham, he taught Shakespeare and comparative literature at Providence College, Deep Springs College, and the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Check back soon to find out more about our plenary speakers for BritGrad 2016!

Plenary Profiles: Sarah Dustagheer

Introducing the fourth in our series of Plenary Profiles… Sarah Dustagheer: expert on historical theatrical spaces (and BritGrad alumna!).


Dr Sarah Dustagheer researches playwriting, performance and theatre space in early modern London, as well as contemporary Shakespearean performance. She completed her postgraduate work at King’s College London and Shakespeare’s Globe. She is the co-author of Shakespeare in London (Arden Shakespeare, 2015) and has published in Moving Shakespeare Indoors (Cambridge University Press, 2014), Shakespeare Jahrbuch, Literature Compass, Cahiers Élisabéthains and The Shakespeare Encyclopaedia: The Complete Guide to the Man and His Works (London: Apple Press, 2009).

She is currently preparing her first book, Shakespeare’s Playhouses: Repertory and Theatre Space at the Globe and the Blackfriars, 1599-1613 for publication. Before joining the University of Kent, Sarah has been a Globe Education Lecturer, Lecturer in Early Modern English at King’s and associate lecturer at the Central School of Speech and Drama; she has taught short courses on Shakespeare and performance in India and Germany.

Sarah has written for London’s City Hall blog, the Shakespearean London Theatres Project blog (www.shalt.org), Exeunt Online Theatre Magazine and the RSC myshakespeare blog. She has delivered public talks at Shakespeare’s Globe, the National Theatre, the Royal Opera House, the City of London Guildhall Library and The Marlowe Theatre. Sarah is a member of Shakespeare’s Globe Architecture Research Group, an association tasked with advising on the maintenance of the Globe and the construction of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.

Check back soon to find out more about our plenary speakers for BritGrad 2016!

Plenary Announcement

It’s been difficult keeping this quiet, but today we finally get to share the big news with you! Below is the official list of plenary speakers for BritGrad 2016. We’re thrilled to be able to offer nine amazing plenaries (including some BritGrad alums!) at this year’s conference, providing a broad range of interests and perspectives.

This year’s speakers include:

Martin Killeen (University of Birmingham)

John Jowett (The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham)

Sarah Dustagheer (University of Kent)

Patrick Gray (Durham University)

Emma Whipday (Kings College London)

Stephen Purcell (University of Warwick)

Eoin Price (Swansea University)

Harry Newman (Royal Holloway)

Erica Whyman (Royal Shakespeare Company)

You can download a PDF version of our 2016 Plenary Announcement here.

We will also continue to post Plenary Profiles each Friday over the next few weeks so that you can learn more about each speaker. We hope that you’re just as excited about them as we are!

~ The BritGrad Committee

Plenary Profiles: John Jowett

Here’s the next in our series of Plenary Profiles. Meet John Jowett, a leading scholar in the field of textual studies and familiar face at the Shakespeare Institute!


John Jowett is Professor of Shakespeare Studies and Deputy Director of the Shakespeare Institute. He is an Associate Editor of the Oxford Shakespeare (1986; rev. 2005) and has edited Richard III (2000) and Timon of Athens (2008) for the Oxford Shakespeare series; and Sir Thomas More (2011) for Arden. He is an Associate General Editor of the Oxford Thomas Middleton (2007) and its companion, Early Modern Textual Culture (2007), and is the author of Shakespeare and Text (2007), and [with Gary Taylor] Shakespeare Reshaped: 1606-1623 (1993). He is a General Editor of the Arden Early Modern Drama series, and of the New Oxford Shakespeare (2016).

Check out this interview with Prof. Jowett on textual editing, ‘Sir Thomas More,’ and Shakespeare as a writer.

Check back soon to find out more about our plenary speakers for BritGrad 2016!

Plenary Profiles: Martin Killeen

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be introducing our fabulous lineup of plenary speakers for BritGrad 2016 in a series of short profiles. Here is the first: meet Martin Killeen, Rare Books Librarian at the Cadbury Research Library!


Martin Killeen
Picture by http://www.edwardmoss.co.uk All rights reserved University of Birmingham Academic Services.

Martin Killeen is a qualified librarian with a Degree in Philosophy and English Literature and an MA in Shakespeare Studies. Martin’s professional career started in the Main Library of the University of Birmingham, where he managed public service departments including the Language, Literature and History Reading Room; in 1996 he joined Special Collections where he is now Rare Books Librarian at the Cadbury Research Library. A major part of Martin’s role involves exploiting the rich resources of the repository (printed books, archives and manuscripts) to support teaching, learning and research across all the disciplines within the University and beyond; this includes delivering talks and presentations, leading seminars with original materials and publishing papers based on the Library’s holdings (eg, Charles Dickens, A W Pugin, John Baskerville, John Drinkwater and Birmingham in WW1).

Check back soon to find out more about our plenary speakers for BritGrad 2016!