Portrait of Dr Sarah Dustagheer

Dr Sarah Dustagheer

Senior Lecturer in Early Modern Literature
Deputy Head of School


Sarah Dustagheer is Senior Lecturer in Early Modern Literature at the University of Kent. She is a member of Shakespeare’s Globe’s Architecture Research Group, Book Review editor for Shakespeare Bulletin and a member of the editorial board for the Revels Play Companion Library (Manchester University Press). Sarah researches playwriting, performance and theatre space in early modern London, as well as contemporary Shakespearean performance. She is the author of Shakespeare’s Two Playhouses: Repertory and Theatre Space at the Globe and Blackfriars, 1599-1613 (Cambridge University Press, 2017), which was shortlisted for Shakespeare’s Globe Book Award 2018. She is the co-author of Shakespeare in London (Bloomsbury, 2014) and co-editor (with Gillian Woods) of Stage Directions and the Shakespearean Stage (Bloomsbury, 2017). Her essays on early modern playwriting and theatre space and contemporary Shakespearean performance have appeared in Shakespeare Jahrbuch, Literature Compass, Cahiers Élisabéthains and Shakespeare Bulletin


  • Early modern theatre history
  • Repertory studies
  • Contemporary Shakespearean performance



  • Dustagheer, S. (2017). “Intimacy” at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. Shakespeare Bulletin [Online] 35:227-246. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1353/shb.2017.0015.
    The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse (SWP) opened next to Shakespeare’s Globe on London’s South Bank in January 2014. The new theater is described, by the Globe, as an ‘archetype’ of a Jacobean indoor playhouse and is based on the Worcester College plans on an unknown seventeenth-century indoor playhouse. Following these designs, the SWP is a U-shaped theater, with galleries surrounding a pit of seating and a small platform stage; it is a candlelit space and holds approximately 340 people. One word has reoccurred in reviews and responses to this new theater and the Jacobean repertory performed in it: ‘intimate’. This articles examines this somewhat complex term that has been used by reviewers and theatre historians with too little or no exposition at all. Analyzing what ‘intimacy’ means at the SWP over the first two years of its use reveals much about the unique environment of the playhouse, its actor/audience dynamic and modern interpretations of the Jacobean indoor repertory. Moreover, as work on intimacy in performance has arisen from analysis of very recent theatrical trends - immersive theater experiences, site-specific productions and one-on-one performance – considering intimacy at the SWP demonstrates the distinctive place of this Jacobean archetype in the contemporary theaterscape.
  • Dustagheer, S., Jones, O. and Rycroft, E. (2017). (Re)constructed Spaces for Early Modern Drama: Research in Practice. Shakespeare Bulletin [Online] 35:173-185. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1353/shb.2017.0012.
  • Dustagheer, S. (2015). Anticipating the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. Cahiers Élisabéthains: A Biannual Journal of English Renaissance Studies [Online] 88:139-153. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.7227/CE.88.1.10.
    The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, an archetype of a Jacobean indoor playhouse, opened next to Shakespeare's Globe on London's South Bank in January 2014. Just as the Globe's opening in 1997 was the source of expectancy and intrigue for the theatre and academic community so the opening of this new venue raises some important questions, which this article seeks to examine through four points of anticipation, or possible areas of theatre practice at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse: lighting, music, actor/audience dynamic and unexpected outcomes. This article discusses some of the first productions and trends that may shape the future debate about the theatre.
  • Dustagheer, S. and Sakowska, A. (2014). Introduction: Global Shakespeare for Anglophone Audiences. Multicultural Shakespeare: Translation, Appropriation and Performance [Online] 11:9-16. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.2478/mstap-2014-0002.
  • Dustagheer, S. (2013). Shakespeare and "Spatial Turn". Literature Compass [Online] 10:570-581. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/lic3.12068.
    This article examines the effect of the ‘spatial turn’ on the study of Shakespeare and early modern drama. In recent years, there has been a new attentiveness to space in the humanities – the so-called spatial turn – prompted by the work of philosophers Michel Foucault, Henri Lefebvre, Michel de Certeau and Gaston Bachelard. Such work demonstrates that spaces are political, cultural and imaginative entities for the societies who create them. This thinking has affected the study of early modern drama and its relationship with spaces, like the playhouse and the city, and spatial developments, such as the advances in cartography. The article outlines the key terms from this critical field, including ‘spatial practice’, ‘representational space’ and ‘cultural geography’. Scholarship in this area has been important not only because performance is spatial art but also because many political and economic developments represented on the Shakespearean stage concern society's changing use and experience of space.
  • Dustagheer, S. (2011). Our Scene is London: The Alchemist and Urban Underworlds at the Blackfriars Playhouse. Shakespeare Jahrbuch [Online] 147:94-104. Available at: http://shakespeare-gesellschaft.de/en/jahrbuch/volume-147-2011/inhalt.html.


  • Dustagheer, S. (2017). Shakespeare’s Two Playhouses: Repertory and Theatre Space at the Globe and the Blackfriars, 1599–1613. [Online]. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316996874.
    In what ways did playwrights like Shakespeare respond to the two urban locations of the Globe and the Blackfriars? What was the effect of their different acoustic and visual experiences on actors and audiences? What did the labels 'public' for the Globe and 'private' for the Blackfriars, actually mean in practice? Sarah Dustagheer offers the first in-depth, comparative analysis of the performance conditions of the two sites. This engaging study examines how the social, urban, sensory and historical characteristics of these playhouses affected dramatists, audiences and actors. Each chapter provides new interpretations of seminal King's Men's works written as the company began to perform in both settings, including The Alchemist, The Tempest and Henry VIII. Presenting a rich and compelling account of the two early modern theatres, the book also suggests fresh insights into recent contemporary productions at Shakespeare's Globe, London and the new Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.
  • Crawforth, H., Dustagheer, S. and Young, J. (2015). Shakespeare in London. [Online]. Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare. Available at: http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/shakespeare-in-london-9781472573728/.
    Shakespeare in London offers a lively and engaging new reading of some of Shakespeare's major work, informed by close attention to the language of his drama. The focus of the book is on Shakespeare's London, how it influenced his drama and how he represents it on stage. Taking readers on an imaginative journey through the city, the book moves both chronologically, from beginning to end of Shakespeare's dramatic career, and also geographically, traversing London from west to east.

    Each chapter focuses on one play and one key location, drawing out the thematic connections between that place and the drama it underwrites. Plays discussed in detail include Hamlet, Richard II, The Merchant of Venice, The Tempest, King Lear and Romeo and Juliet. Close textual readings accompany the wealth of contextual material, providing a fresh and exciting way into Shakespeare's work.

Book section

  • Dustagheer, S. and Woods, G. (2017). Introduction. In: Dustagheer, S. and Woods, G. eds. Stage Directions and Shakespearean Theatre. Bloomsbury, pp. 1 -16. Available at: https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/stage-directions-and-shakespearean-theatre-9781474257497/.
  • Dustagheer, S. and Bird, P. (2017). Strikes Open a Curtain Where Appears a Body: Discovering Death in Stage Directions. In: Dustagheer, S. and Woods, G. eds. Stage Directions and Shakespearean Theatre. Bloomsbury, pp. 213-237. Available at: https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/stage-directions-and-shakespearean-theatre-9781474257497/.
  • Dustagheer, S. (2017). Shakespeare, Memory and Contemporary Performance. In: Hiscock, A. and Wilder, L. P. eds. The Routledge Handbook of Shakespeare and Memory. Routledge, pp. 91-101. Available at: https://www.routledge.com/The-Routledge-Handbook-of-Shakespeare-and-Memory/Hiscock-Perkins-Wilder/p/book/9781138816763.
  • Dustagheer, S. (2014). Appendix: List of plays performed indoors, 1575-1642. In: Gurr, A. and Karim-Cooper, F. eds. Moving Shakespeare Indoors. Cambridge University Press.
  • Dustagheer, S. (2014). Chapter 8: Visual and Acoustic Practices. In: Gurr, A. and Karim-Cooper, F. eds. Moving Shakespeare Indoors. Cambridge University Press.
  • Dustagheer, S. (2009). Richard III. In: The Shakespeare Encyclopaedia: The Complete Guide to the Man and His Works. Apple Press.
  • Dustagheer, S. (2009). All’s Well That Ends Well. In: Cousins, T. ed. The Shakespeare Encyclopaedia: The Complete Guide to the Man and His Works. Apple Press.

Edited book

  • Dustagheer, S. (2017). Stage Directions and Shakespearean Theatre. [Online]. Woods, G. and Dustagheer, S. eds. London. UK: Bloomsbury. Available at: https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/stage-directions-and-shakespearean-theatre-9781474257497/.
    What do 'stage directions' do in early modern drama? Who or what are they directing: action on the stage, or imagination via the page? Is the label 'stage direction' helpful or misleading? Do these 'directions' provide evidence of Renaissance playhouse practice? What happens when we put them at the centre of literary close readings of early modern plays?
    Stage Directions and Shakespearean Theatre investigates these problems through innovative research by a range of international experts. This collection of essays examines the creative possibilities of stage directions and and their implications for actors and audiences, readers and editors, historians and contemporary critics. Looking at the different ways stage directions make meaning, this volume provides new insights into a range of Renaissance plays.

Edited journal

  • Dustagheer, S. and Sakowska, A. eds. (2014). Global Shakespeare for Anglophone Audiences. Multicultural Shakespeare: Translation, Appropriation and Performance [Online] 11. Available at: https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/mstap.2014.11.issue-1/issue-files/mstap.2014.11.issue-1.xml.

Internet publication

  • Dustagheer, S. (2013). Blog in Response to Jean Howard’s Public Lecture [Blog]. Available at: http://shalt.dmu.ac.uk/blog.html.
  • Dustagheer, S. (2013). Theatre Reviews: Dido Queen of Carthage, Forests, The Shakespearean Conspiracy, Shit-Faced Shakespeare, Timon of Athens, Henry V, King Lear, Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night’s Dream [Online magazine]. Available at: http://exeuntmagazine.com/author/sarah-dustagheer/.
  • Dustagheer, S. (2012). Sarah Dustagheer Exposes the Innovation of The Tempest, Shakespeare’s ‘first’ Play in Two Parts [Blog]. Available at: http://myshakespeare.rsc.org.uk/blog/.
  • Dustagheer, S. (2012). Shakespeare Returns to London’s Streets [Blog]. Available at: https://www.webarchive.org.uk/wayback/archive/20150131144325/http://www.london.gov.uk/city-hall/city-hall-blog/2012/08/shakespeare-returns-to-london-s-streets.


  • Dustagheer, S. (2014). Book Review of Staged Transgression in Shakespeare’s England. Review of English Studies [Online] 66:577-579. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/res/hgu091.
  • Dustagheer, S. (2012). Review of The Language of Space in Court Performance 1400–1625. Journal of Historical Geography [Online] 38:477-478. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhg.2012.08.010.
  • Dustagheer, S. (2012). Review of Actors and Acting in Shakespeare’s Time. The Bulletin of the Society for Renaissance Studies 29:36-38.


  • Hails, C. (2014). Social Circulation and Historical Culture: A Shakespeare Myth in Sevenoaks.
    This thesis explores a provincial myth in the context of local historical culture and with reference to what Daniel Woolf has called ‘the social circulation of the past’. The myth identifies Sevenoaks School as a ‘grammar school’ cited by Jack Cade in Shakespeare’s Henry VI Part 2.
    The thesis examines the processes by which the myth developed, focussing on elements of the myth and on several central texts: Lambarde’s A Perambulation of Kent; Henry VI Part 2; a handwritten local history; and Jack Cade in Victorian adventure fiction for boys. In discussing the interaction of print and oral culture, the thesis argues for a revised understanding of Lambarde’s work on Sevenoaks and illustrates how some elements of this local historical culture remained unrecorded, outside formal history writing, until the nineteenth century. It also proposes a new understanding of the school’s wider reputation in the early modern period, with reference to previously unexamined evidence of boarding scholars.
    The thesis concludes that the myth evolved from the early modern social circulation of the past in print and oral culture, custom, memory and landscape, and that it flourished in the early twentieth century in a historical culture infused with the ‘cult’ of Shakespeare and the rural, romantic nostalgia of ‘Englishness’ expressed in the arts and literature of the time.


  • Dustagheer, S. and Newman, H. eds. (2017). Metatheatre and Early Modern Drama. Shakespeare Bulletin.
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