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Dr Christian Billing

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Christian Billing

Reader in Drama, Director of Research (School of the Arts)

Biography I am currently Reader in Drama and Theatre Practice, and Director of Research in the School of the Arts, where I also teach in the Drama and Theatre Practice Programme.

Following a career of ten years in professional theatre-making in the UK (primarily in London) and northern Europe (France and Belgium), I returned to academia and trained at PGR level in the UK and USA (Warwick University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison) for a PhD in Theatre Studies. I followed this with an MA in Greek Civilisation (University of Leeds).

My current research involves:

1. Practice Research: Including projects relating to social justice for victims of sexual violence (funded by New York University, 2017); and issues of environmental sustainability (EPSRC-funded Audio artefact dealing with plastics pollution and the move towards a circular plastics economy, 2021). My most recent Practice Research project is an ongoing collaboration that looks at indigenous and colonial attitudes towards environmental stewardship. I am particularly keen within that work to explore the role of arts methodologies within social science and environmental science research.

2. Conventional Print and Digital Publication: I have published on various aspects of Classical Greek and early modern European drama for most of my career, including in the journals Shakespeare Survey, Shakespeare Quarterly, Shakespeare, New Theatre Quarterly, Theatralia, and Early Modern Literary Studies. My critical and philological work has used the lenses of gender studies (both queer theory and feminism) and various critical analyses of historical theatre practice in relation to Shakespeare and Classical Greek theatre and performance (writing about rehearsal methodology, the work of individual directors and actors, and stage designers - as well as individual plays and playwrights).

I have run three advanced seminars for the Shakespeare Association of America on: Shakespeare and Rehearsal Methodology (2010); Shakespeare and Scenography (2016); and Non-Binary Shakespeare (2023) - and I completed in 2015 a multi-national project on Czech and Slovak scenography for Shakespeare (from 1890 to 2015) with partners in the USA, Czech Republic and Slovakia. I have a wider interest in the theory and practice of Czech theatre.

I am a trained Classicist (Hellenist) and have most recently written on medieval and early modern Arabic sources relating to Cleopatra and their significant differences to sources normally used by scholars working in the Greek and Roman traditions.

My book-length publications include:

Czech and Slovak Scenography for Shakespeare (Masaryk University Press, 2018);
Czech Puppets in Global Contexts, (Masaryk University Press, 2015);
Rehearsing Shakespeare: Alternative Strategies in Process and Performance, Special Issue of Shakespeare Bulletin (Vol. 30 No. 4, Winter 2012);
Czech Stage Art and Stage Design, (Masaryk University Press, 2011); and
Masculinity, Corporality and the English Stage 1580-1635 (Ashgate, 2008).

I am currently a member of:

Arts and Humanities Research Council Peer Review College (UK)
Arts and Sciences Peer Review College (Canada)
The Shakespeare Association of America
The Renaissance Society of America
The Classical Association (UK)
Research Interests Environmental and Ecological Arts
Transnational Mobilities in Early Modern Drama
Gender Studies (particularly, queer theory, feminism, non-binary sex and gender identities, and gender fluidity)
Classical Greek theatre and performance cultures
Shakespeare (philological and practice-research approaches)
Theatre Design and Scenography (including Critical Costume)
Scopus Author ID 53563281000