2020 applicants

Professor Elizabeth Kuti

Head of Department - Professor (R)
Department of Literature Film and Theatre Studies (LiFTS)
Professor Elizabeth Kuti
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 873408

  • Location

    5NW.6.13, Colchester Campus



I'm a playwright and researcher in Drama; and at present I'm the Head of Department. My teaching and research interests include playwriting; contemporary drama; tragedy; gender and literature; folklore and place in drama; theatre in museums and heritage sites; theatre history and literature of the long eighteenth century. Recent research projects include a new original piece for BBC's Drama on 3, broadcast in December 2018, Sea Longing, a response to the selkie stories and folklore collected by David Thomson and recorded in his classic work The People of the Sea. In 2017 I led the AHRC-funded Global Challenges research project, 'Tales of Spring and Winter: Gender, Histories and Intergenerational Exchange in Global Theatre' - more information about this project can be found on the project website, www.theatreconflictchange. As part of this project, my new play, Cold Season in Calcutta, a re-working of Shakespeare's A Winter's Tale, set in Calcutta in 1775, was given a reading at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester in June 2017. Other projects include an enquiry into free speech, in the form of a new play, Blue Pencil, given readings at the Bush Theatre, London and the Lakeside Theatre, in 2017. I was Writer in Residence at Hampton Court Palace and wrote two major works for the Palace: TimePlays, in 2015, as part of their 500th anniversary celebrations, and 'Encounters with the Past' in 2016. Before joining the Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies in 2004, I worked extensively as a playwright and actor in Irish theatre. As an actor, my roles included the title role of the Colleen Bawn in The Colleen Bawn (Abbey Theatre, Dublin, and Lyttelton Theatre, NT, London) and Olivia in Twelfth Night (Lyric Theatre, Belfast); Stella in Streetcar (Annie Ryan and Corn Exchange, Dublin); Maria in The School for Scandal (Rough Magic, Dublin). As a writer, my plays includes Treehouses (Peacock Theatre, Dublin and the Northcott Theatre, Exeter); The Whisperers (Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh and Irish tour); The Sugar Wife (Project Arts Centre, Dublin and Soho Theatre, London); and The Six-Days World (Finborough Theatre, London; developed while on attachment at National Theatre Studio); The Broken Token (Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds; Clark Memorial Library, Los Angeles, 2014); United Incandescent (commissioned by the National Theatre, with readings at the Vanburgh Theatre, Rada, and at the Old Red Lion, 2015-16); Fishskin Trousers (Park Theatre, 2017; Finborough Theatre, 2013). My plays have been translated into German and Greek and have been performed in Europe, Canada and the USA. I have written extensively for BBC radio, including Reader I Mended Him - a new ending for Jane Eyre; short stories, Strandgade 30 and That Door; two series of Dear Mr Spectator for Radio 4 Woman's Hour; numerous Afternoon dramas including May Child (starring Patricia Routledge) and a Drama on 3 about Henry Fielding and the advent of theatre censorship, Mr Fielding's Scandalshop. I was awarded the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize (2000) for The Sugar Wife and the Stewart Parker Radio award for Treehouses (1999). I have worked as a writer for Historic Royal Palaces, and my micro-dramas exploring lesser known aspects of life at court in the period 1516 - 1730, have been seen by visitors to Hampton Court Palace since 2015. I would particularly welcome PhD applications in the following areas: Contemporary playwrights and new writing for the stage Theatre, literature and drama in the long eighteenth century Women's writing' theatre and gender Playwriting, radio drama and creative writing


  • BA Oxon

  • PhD Trinity College Dublin

  • MA King's College London and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, (1992)


University of Essex

  • Head of Department, Literature, Film and Theatre Studies, University of Essex (2017 - present)

Research and professional activities

Research interests


Key words: scriptwriting;
Open to supervise

eighteenth-century drama and literature

My research interests in this area date from my completion of Frances Sheridan's unfinished 1763 comedy A Trip to Bath (staged as The Whisperers in 1999, in Ireland and at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh). My doctoral dissertation focused on Sarah Siddons, Hannah More, Elizabeth Inchbald and Hannah Cowley, and the literary and theatrical contexts of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. I've worked with the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds on a number of joint projects including the Staging the East conference in 2010, and also the bi-centennial celebrations in 2019.

Key words: women playwrights of the 18th century
Open to supervise

Conferences and presentations

Edith Craig: Staging Suffragettes

Invited presentation, Keynote presentation, Theatre Royal Norwich Heritage Week, Norwich, United Kingdom, 14/9/2018

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Performing Shakespeare (TH205)

  • Origins and Transformations in Literature and Drama (LT111)

  • The Humanities Graduate: Future Pathways (LT705)

  • Independent Film Project (LT833)

Previous supervision

Rene Victor Okwudili Onyeisi
Rene Victor Okwudili Onyeisi
Thesis title: Criminal Justice in British Playwriting and Theatre Practice, 1979-2017.
Degree subject: Theatre Studies
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 22/5/2020
Mona Barbara Becker
Mona Barbara Becker
Thesis title: Flieder, 1945 / Lilac, 2015 Visibility, Memory, Gender: Writing and Re-Imagining National Socialist Atrocity for the Stage
Degree subject: Theatre Studies (Playwriting)
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 7/5/2019
David Jonathan Crane
David Jonathan Crane
Thesis title: Sudleigh: Place and Politics in the Modern Short Story
Degree subject: Creative Writing
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 7/9/2018
Rachel Hannah Nolson
Rachel Hannah Nolson
Thesis title: Gothic Stirrings on the Georgian Stage, 1740-1780
Degree subject: Literature
Degree type: Master of Arts (by Dissertation)
Awarded date: 9/1/2018
Gabriela Silva Rivero
Gabriela Silva Rivero
Thesis title: The Head Knows What Lies Near the Heart: An Anatomy in Stories, and Accompanying Essay
Degree subject: Creative Writing
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 15/9/2017
Majeed Mohammed Midhin Midhin
Majeed Mohammed Midhin Midhin
Thesis title: The Artist as a Character in British Theatre, 1970 - 2010: Stoppard, Barker, Wertenbaker
Degree subject: Literature
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 4/7/2017
Danae Brook
Danae Brook
Thesis title: 'Parallel Worlds: The Press on Stage and Screen. a Comparative Exploration of Television, Screenwriting and Playwriting'
Degree subject: Literature
Degree type: Master of Philosophy
Awarded date: 13/6/2017


Journal articles (1)

Kuti, E., (2008). Tragic Plots from Bootle to Baghdad. Contemporary Theatre Review. 18 (4), 457-469

Books (1)

Kuti, E., (2013). Fishskin Trousers. Nick Hern Books. 9781848423626

Book chapters (1)

Kuti, E., (2012). '"Strangeness Made Sense": On being a Non-Irish, Irish Playwright'. In: Irish Drama: Global and Local Perspectives. Editors: Grene, N. and Lonergan, P., . Carysfort Press

Media (1)

Kuti, E., Sea Longing - a radio drama for BBC Radio 3.

Other (11)

Kuti, E., (2016).Encounters with the Past,Historic Royal Palaces, Hampton Court

Kuti, E., (2016).Reader, I Mended Him,BBC Radio 4

Kuti, E., (2015).United Incandescent,Rehearsed reading, Old Red Lion Theatre Pub, London

Kuti, E., (2015).Time Plays,Historic Royal Palaces, Hampton Court

Kuti, E., (2015).Lefter Than Thou,Royal Academy of Dramatic Art playreadings series

Kuti, E., (2015).Strandgade 30,BBC Radio 4. Sitters? Stories

Kuti, E., (2014).The Broken Token,John Gielgud Studio (RADA Festival) & Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds

Kuti, E., (2013).Scheherazade, Blue-beard and Theatrical Curiosity,New York University Press

Kuti, E., (2010).Dear Mr Spectator, Series 2,BBC

Kuti, E., (2009).Dear Mr Spectator, Series 1,BBC

Kuti, E., (2009).Short story for radio: That Door,BBC

Grants and funding


Tales of Spring and Winter: Gender, Histories and Intergenerational Exchange in Global Theatre

Arts And Humanities Research Council


Imagining the Nation from the Eastern Fringe: the Norwich Company of Comedians, 1811-1845

The British Academy


Staging the East in the British Theatre

The British Academy


+44 (0) 1206 873408


5NW.6.13, Colchester Campus