The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T +44 (0)1227 764000
Professor Robert Shaughnessy
Professor of Theatre
Drama and Theatre Studies
- 01227 82(3752)
Robert Shaughnessy is a Shakespearean scholar with publications in the fields of Shakespearean performance, film, and popular culture.
My undergraduate degree and postgraduate research was undertaken at Swansea University, where I also worked with Tandem Theatre Company, and directed both devised and scripted work (the plays of Shakespeare, Brecht, Howard Barker and others), and played Bartholo (in Figaro), Shelley (in Brenton’s Bloody Poetry) and Volpone. I began my academic career at the University of the West of England where I taught Drama and English, co-founded the Bristol-based music theatre ensemble Le Hot Club du Cinq, for whom I both wrote and performed (Holiday, 1989 and Voltaire’s Brain, 1990). In 1998 I moved to Roehampton University and promoted to Chair of Theatre Studies in 2003. I was appointed as Professor of Theatre at Kent in 2004. From 2001 to 2005 I was a member of the Board of C&T. I am currently on the editorial boards of Literature Compass and Shakespeare, and regularly act as a reader for Palgrave, Cambridge University Press, Wiley-Blackwell, and Routledge.
I act as Director of Graduate Studies for Drama and Theatre Studies, and have previously been Director of Research for Drama and Theatre Studies, and Director of Graduate Studies for the Faculty of Humanities.
My first book, a study of Edward Bond, John Arden and Arnold Wesker, was published in 1992; this was followed Representing Shakespeare: England, History and the RSC (Harvester Wheatsheaf) in 199 and by The Shakespeare Effect: A History of Twentieth-Century Performance (Palgrave, 2002). I have edited Shakespeare on Film (1998) and Shakespeare in Performance (2000) for the Macmillan New Casebooks series, and The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare and Popular Culture in 2007, and co-edited Shakespeare and Childhood (Cambridge University Press, 2007) and, with Nicola Shaughnessy, a volume on Margaret Woffington in the Lives of Shakespearian Actors series (Pickering and Chatto, 2008). My most recent book is The Routledge Guide to William Shakespeare (Routledge, 2011).back to top
- The Routledge Guide to William Shakespeare. London: Routledge, 2011
- Lives of Shakespearean Actors, Volume 3: Margaret Woffington. Co-edited with Nicola Shaughnessy. London: Pickering and Chatto, 2008
- The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare and Popular Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007
- Introduction and endnotes to A.C. Bradley, Shakespearean Tragedy, 4th Edition. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave, 2006
- The Shakespeare Effect: A History of Twentieth-Century Performance. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave, 2002
- ‘Falstaff’s Belly: Pathos, Prosthetics and Performance’, Shakespeare Survey, 63 (2010), 63-77.
- ‘A Choice of Programs’, Shakespeare Bulletin, 28 (2010), 51-71.
- ‘Behind the Scenes’, Shakespeare Survey, 62 (2009), 236-48
- ‘“I do, I will”: Hal, Falstaff and the Performative’, in Alternative Shakespeares 3,  ed. Diana E. Henderson. London and New York: Routledge, 2007.
- ‘The Shakespeare Revolution will not be televised: screening the media apparatus’, in Shakespeare, Memory and Performance , ed. Peter Holland. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006
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My undergraduate teaching lies mainly in the areas of theatre and performance history, with a particular emphasis on Shakespeare and early modern drama in its own time and our own, as well as on the theatres of the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States from the twentieth century to the present. Modules currently or recently taught include DR504 British Theatre 1945-2005, DR508 Drama and Society in the Age of Shakespeare, DR576 American Theatre, and DR636 The Shakespeare Effect. My approach rests upon close engagement both with the primary materials of performance history (including riches of the Special Collections in the University library) and, wherever possible, current productions. I also participate in studio-based teaching for DR592 New Directions and the fourth-year specialism Contemporary Performance Practice, and contribute to the MA in European Theatre.back to top
In addition to my publications in the fields of Shakespearean performance, film, and popular culture, I have published work on contemporary playwrights, practitioners and companies (Howard Barker, Edward Bond, Complicite, Michael Gambon, Heiner Müller, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare’s Globe), Shakespeare’s contemporaries, and on eighteenth century actors. Recent and forthcoming publications include work on backstage theatre tours, on the performing prosthetic body, on the eighteenth-century London Shakespearean stage, on the predicament of the Shakespearean understudy, on Hamlet and the art of the British political cartoon, and on the politics of Shakespearean silences.
In 2011 I published The Routledge Guide to William Shakespeare. Projects in development and in progress include a collaborative study of the transnational performance canon, a critical biography of the forgotten genius of twentieth-century theatre, Tyrone Guthrie, and a stage history of As You Like It.back to top
I am interested in supervising projects in any of my areas of specialism, including practice-based research. My current supervisions are:
- William Howe, Spontaneity in the Improvised Film (practice as research)
- Chris Jones, Psychic Distress in Contemporary British Theatre
- Krysta Dennis, Performing McDonagh in Britain, Ireland, France and the United States: Language, Spectatorshop and Terror