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
University of Essex