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Dr Gillian Woods

  • Overview



  • Research


    Research overview

    My research concentrates on early modern drama in its cultural and historical contexts, with a particular focus on early modern stage practice, understandings of representation, post-Reformation religion, visual arts and nostalgia.

    I am currently working on a Leverhulme-funded book project (Renaissance Theatricalities) that explores the mixed representational form of plays, made up of speech, dance, combat, dumb shows, entr’actes and jigs.  Considering the varying interpretive demands these different devices place on audiences, I investigate the nature of representation itself. I analyse the interrelationship between different theatrical activities and reveal the dynamic ways in which meaning is made in plays.

    In addition, I am also producing an updated edition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Cambridge University Press).  My new Introduction taps into this quirky classic’s varying linguistic moods, fluid identities, theatrical instability, ecological breadth, zoological range and global perspectives.

    Both of these projects build on the new methodological questions posed by my recent co-edited essay collection, Stage Directions and Shakespearean Theatre (Arden, 2018). Bringing together literary critics, editors and theatre practitioners, this book explores the theatrical, imaginative and literary function of Renaissance stage directions.

    My previous work also includes  Shakespeare’s Unreformed Fictions (Oxford University Press, 2013), a book that looks at Catholicism’s imaginative hold on post-Reformation drama.  It identifies the ways Shakespeare makes literary capital out of conflicted attitudes to ‘un-Reformed’ material and analyses the interactions between ideological and theatrical fiction, and literary and theological transcendence. In 2014 this book was made joint winner of the Shakespeare’s Globe Book Award.

    I am strongly committed to improving university access and driving innovations in teaching.  These interests led me to set up and run a termly seminar series called Shakespeare Teachers’ Conversations: a forum for those involved in Shakespeare education in schools, universities and the wider arts sector.  I am also a Cambridge University Press Series Editor for Elements in Shakespeare and Pedagogy.

  • Supervision and teaching

    Supervision and teaching


    Current doctoral researchers



    Teaching modules

    • Tragedy (AREN157S5)
    • Doing English (AREN208Z4)
    • Shakespeare (AREN213S6)
    • Shakespeare in the Classroom (AREN259N0)
    • The Renaissance: Concepts and Issues (ENHU070S7)
    • Dummy module - change event title (ROOM000Z0)
  • Publications




    Book Section