Clearing 2021

Dr Nora Williams

Department of Literature Film and Theatre Studies (LiFTS)
Dr Nora Williams



My first degree was jointly awarded the University of Toronto and Sheridan College, as the result of a unique combined programme in Acting, Theatre & Drama Studies, and English Literature. This conservatoire-style training led me to an MA in Staging Shakespeare at the University of Exeter, followed by a PhD in English Early Modern Drama at the same institution. My thesis, 'Between Performances, Texts, and Editions', considered the intersections of the print, performance, and archival histories of Thomas Middleton and William Rowley's 1622 play The Changeling. Since then, my work has pivoted towards Measure (Still) for Measure, a practice-as-research project that uses Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, feminist performance theory, and physical theatre techniques to facilitate conversations about consent and rape culture with young people. My first monograph project, tentatively titled Canonical Misogyny: Staging Sexual Violence in Early Modern Drama, arises from this work. The thread linking my various projects is a unifying interest in afterlives, adaptations, and remediations of early modern drama. Under that umbrella, my work is best described as inter- and multi-disciplinary, with links to theatre, drama, and performance studies, English literature, feminist theory, (digital) cultural studies, fan and fiction studies, and theatre history and historiography. I would be excited to supervise PhD research that covers any of these areas.


  • PhD University of Exeter,

  • MA University of Exeter,

  • BA(Hon) University of Toronto, Mississauga,


Other academic

  • Teaching Associate, Theatre, University of Bristol (1/9/2019 - 10/6/2020)

  • Associate Lecturer, Drama, University of Exeter (24/9/2018 - 1/6/2019)

Research and professional activities

Current research

Canonical Misogyny: Staging Sexual Violence in Early Modern Drama

Arising from my practice-as-research work, this monograph addresses the ways in which contemporary theatre allows Shakespeare and other canonical drama scope to stage and represent gendered and sexual violence in ways that would be unacceptable for new plays. The cultural capital of this canonical drama protects it from necessary criticism and intervention, and that needs to change. The book argues for meaningful interventions at the levels of: - casting, hiring, and programming; - dramaturgy and adaptation; - paratheatrical framing. Alternating theoretical/critical chapters with reflective writing about the practice-as-research process, I will suggest that failing to make these interventions results in tacit (or even explicit) glorifying and/or trivialising of problematic approaches to consent and agency, which intersect with questions of race, gender, sexuality, and class.

Conferences and presentations

Scaffolding Difficult Conversations in Theatre and Performance

Invited presentation, Not Your Grandad's Shakespeare: Thinking Through Shakespeare and Performance, Online, 21/7/2020

Shakespeare, Sexual Violence, and Creative Citizenship

Invited presentation, Keynote presentation, Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies seminar series, Canterbury, United Kingdom, 1/4/2020

“Who will believe thee?” Staging Early Modern Gendered Violence

Invited presentation, Keynote presentation, The British Graduate Shakespeare Conference (BritGrad), The Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom, 6/2019

Teaching Shakespeare’s Bad Politics: An Interactive Lecture

Invited presentation, Keynote presentation, Sidelights on Shakespeare: Shakespeare and Education Symposium, Coventry, United Kingdom, 5/2019

“Who will believe thee? Performing Gendered Violence in the 21st Century

Invited presentation, New Directions in Early Modern Theatre, Bristol, United Kingdom, 5/2019

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Global Shakespeare on Film (LT151)

  • Love and Death in the Renaissance (LT210)

  • Shakespeare: The Tragedies (LT372)

  • Research Methods in Literary and Cultural Analysis (LT901)

  • Shakespeare and the Modern (LT923)

  • Introduction to Theatre Studies (TH141)

  • Voice and Movement: Core Skills (TH144)

  • Performing Shakespeare (TH205)

  • Models of Practice (TH241)

  • Independent Literature Project (LT831)


Journal articles (4)

Williams, NJ., (2021). Review of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (Directed by Erica Whyman for the Royal Shakespeare Company) at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, May 2018. Shown as part of “Culture in Quarantine” on BBC iPlayer, 23 April to 22 August 2020. Shakespeare. 17 (1), 74-77

Williams, NJ., (2019). Writing the Collaborative Process: Measure (Still) for Measure, Shakespeare, and Rape Culture. PARtake: The Journal of Performance as Research. 2 (1)

Williams, N., (2019). @Shakespeare and @TwasFletcher: Performances of Authority. Humanities. 8 (1), 46-46

Williams, N., (2016). 'Cannot I keep That Secret?': Editing and Performing Asides in The Changeling. Shakespeare Bulletin: A Journal of Performance Criticism and Scholarship. 34 (1), 29-45

Book chapters (2)

Williams, NJ., (2019). Resources. In: The Changeling: A Critical Reader. Editors: Hutchings, M., . Arden Shakespeare. 1350011401. 9781350011403

Williams, NJ., (2017). Multivalence: The Young Vic and a Postmodern Changeling, 2012. In: Contemporary Approaches to Adaptation in Theatre. Editors: Reilly, K., . Palgrave Macmillan. 1137597828. 9781137597823

Other (2)

Williams, N., (2021).Review of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (directed by Erica Whyman for the Royal Shakespeare Company) at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, May 2018. Shown as part of “Culture in Quarantine” on BBC iPlayer, 23 April to 22 August 2020.. Shakespeare. 17(1),Routledge

Williams, NJ., (2017).The Changeling presented by Shakespeare’s Globe at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, London, January 2015. Early Modern Literary Studies: a journal of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English literature. 19(2),Sheffield Hallam University

+44 (0) 1206 872806


5NW.6.6, Colchester Campus

More about me

Follow me on social media