Dr Clare Wright

Lecturer in Medieval Literature


Dr Wright researches medieval drama and performance culture, focusing especially on questions of space, place, embodiment, medieval performance paradigms and practices. She also has interests in cross-disciplinary practice-as-research, and exploring collaborations between pre-modern scholars and contemporary theatre and creative practitioners. Her current research investigates performance at tournaments up to the reign of Henry VIII; it considers the aesthetic and conceptual overlaps between different performance modes represented at these events, and how they might challenge expectations of and approaches to pre-modern performance culture and history more broadly.
Clare has published in Theatre Survey, Shakespeare Bulletin, Medieval English Theatre, and The Oxford Handbook of Tudor Drama, and has designed and led a number of public performance workshops and events. From 2016-2019 she was Chair of the Medieval English Theatre Society and in 2013, she established the Early English Drama and Performance Network for postdoctoral and early career researchers, which now has over 2,000 subscribers worldwide. She is currently working with colleagues at De Montfort and Southampton to develop a postgraduate student consortium to investigate pre-modern performance venues in England as part of the Records of Early English Drama Patrons and Performances project, based at the University of Toronto.
Clare has taught and supervised on a wide-range of topics in medieval and early modern literature and drama. She enjoys exploring the canonical works of Chaucer, Hoccleve, Lydgate and the Gawain-poet, but has a particular passion for Older Scots literature, medieval women’s writing, and queer, postcolonial, and performance-based approaches to medieval literature and culture. 

Research interests

  • Early drama in the British Isles
  • Pre-modern European performance culture and practices (including liturgy, piety and devotion; civic and royal pageantry; games; performance techniques and methods; production contexts; cultural contexts for performance)
  • Medieval tournament culture and performance
  • Medieval courtly literature and culture
  • Intersections between medieval scholarship and contemporary creative arts
  • Space, place and site-specificity
  • The body and the senses; bodily experience; embodied cognition; distributed cognition; kinaesthetic empathy 


Clare welcomes proposals from students interested in any area of medieval and early modern British drama; European performance culture more broadly; late-medieval literature; and interdisciplinary, cross-period or creative projects.


Chair 2016-2019, Medieval English Theatre Society
Academic Consultant, ‘Before Shakespeare: The Beginnings of London Commercial Theatre, 1565-1595’ project, led by Dr Andy Kesson at Roehampton (AHRC-Funded).
Founder, Chair 2013-2017, Early English Drama and Performance Network  
Essay Prize Chair 2016/17, Medieval and Renaissance Drama Society Martin Stevens Essay Prize
Committee Member, Medieval and Renaissance Drama Society; Medieval English Theatre Society; Early English Drama and Performance Network. 

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