Staff Profile:Dr Graham Saunders

  • Part 1 Convenor
  • Module convenor: Introduction to Film & Theatre; Director & the Theatre
  • Co-ordinator of MA Courses
Areas of Interest:

My main research and teaching interests focus on contemporary British drama since 1945. I also have other research interests that include the history of the Arts Council of Great Britain's impact on British theatre culture; the relationship between Elizabethan / Jacobean theatre and contemporary British dramatists, and the drama of Samuel Beckett.

Postgraduate Supervision:

I welcome enquiries from prospective postgraduate students to work on areas including any aspect of post-war British theatre; The Arts Council of Great Britain; the drama of Samuel Beckett; contemporary appropriations of Elizabethan and Jacobean drama.

Research groups / Centres:

I am Principal Investigator for the AHRC award, 'Giving Voice to the Nation': The Arts Council of Great Britain and the development of Theatre and Performance in Britain 1945-1995. This five-year project, which ends in January 2014, is an investigation of the extensive archive of the Arts Council housed at the Victoria & Albert Museum's Theatre Collection. The project will be looking principally at the Arts Council's work on regional and touring theatre as well as its role in the development of new writing.

I am also co-investigator on the three-year project Staging Beckett: The Impact of Productions of Samuel Beckett's Drama on Theatre Practice and Cultures in the United Kingdom and Ireland. This project is in partnership with the Victoria and Albert Museum and Chester University and looks at archival materials relating to professional productions of Samuel Beckett's drama in the United Kingdom and Ireland since the English language première of Waiting for Godot in 1955.

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This list was generated on Thu Sep 19 10:46:38 2019 UTC.

love me or kill me by graham saundersForthcoming:

  • 'Foco Novo: The Icarus of British Small Scale Touring Theatre' in Patrick Duggan & Victor Ukaegbu, Reverberations: Britishness, Aesthetics and Small-Scale Theatres (Bristol: Intellect Press. Forthcoming 2013).
  • From Fringe to Mainstream: British Theatre Companies 1979-1994 (Methuen: forthcoming 2014). This is part of a three-volume series that covers the history British theatre companies from 1965 to the present. The other editors in the series include John Bull (University of Reading) and Liz Tomlin (University of Birmingham).

Keynote Lectures and Conference Papers:

  • 'Flagships & Rowing Boats: The (Un) Resistible Rise of Tara Arts & Talawa 1980-1987'. Paper given at International Federation of Theatre Research, Barcelona, Re-routing Performance / Re-caminant l'escena, July 22nd-July 26th, 2013.
  • Keynote speaker as part of the Institute of Psychiatry London at King's College London series on 'The Art of Psychiatry', Wednesday 26 June 2013. The talk looked at issues of psychiatry in the work of Sarah Kane.
  • Keynote speaker at one day symposium at the University of Rome: 'Innovazione E Tradizione Nella Drammaturgia Britannica Contemporanea E La Su Ricezione In Italia', 21 June 2013. The title of the paper was ' "Upstart Crows": Or Why Rewrite Shakespeare and his Contemporaries'.
  • Arcadias: Shakespeare's A Winter's Tale and Tom Stoppard's Arcadia.
  • '"Every part of merry England": the Arts Council's regional "Gatherings" 1969-1970'. Cultures of Modernity, IFTR. Santiago, 2012.
  • 'Dinosaurs Playing the Rubik Cube: Alternative British Theatre in the 1980s'. American Society of Theatre Research, 'Theatrical Histories', November 1 - Sunday, November 4, 2012, Nashville, USA.
  • 'In-Yer-Face Tots and Trots: The English Stage Company Young People's Theatre Scheme 1966-1985'. ESSE Conference, September 4-8 Istanbul, Turkey.
  • 'Foco Novo: The Icarus of British Small Scale Touring Theatre'. American Society of Theatre Research, 'Economies of Theatre' 17-20 November 2011, Montreal, Canada.
  • Conference organized by the universities Paris-Sorbonne and the Sorbonne Nouvelle, 14 et 15 octobre 2011.
  • Panellist on Sarah Kane: A life. Birmingham Book Festival, 11 November 2010.
  • Sarah Kane Festival, National Theatre of Cluj, Romania 4-7th December 2008.
  • 'The Persistence of the "Well Made Play" in 1990s British Theatre'. Non-Standard Forms of Contemporary Drama and Theatre, Heidelberg Germany, 17th -20th May 2007.
  • 'The Reception of Political Theatre in the 1990s'. How do we Receive Reception? Symposium hosted at Royal Holloway, University of London, 25th May 2007.
  • 'Spectatorship in the Theatre of Sarah Kane'. What Public? Contemporary European Drama on the Lookout for its Spectator. University of Zurich, Switzerland, 14-16 April 2005.

Conference Papers:

  • 'From Provocateur to Queer Politico: Mark Ravenhill in the 1990s and Beyond'. Contemporary British Theatre: Towards a New Canon. Birmingham City University, Birmingham 16 October 2010. Paper to be published.
  • 'Prizes for Modernity in the Provinces': The Arts Council's 1950-51 Regional Playwriting Competition'. Cultures of Modernity, University of Munich, Germany 25 - 31 July 2010.
  • 'Tickets, Critics and Censorship: The Royal Court & The Spectator 1969-1970.' International Federation of Theatre Research, University of Lisbon, Portugal 14th -18th July 2009.
  • 'The Great Chinese Takeaway: the Strange Case of Absent Orientalism in Contemporary British Playwriting'. Re-Constructing Asian-ness (es) in the Global Age, 14-19 July 2008, Chung-Ang University, Seoul, Korea. Paper subsequently published.
  • 'Barrie Keefe's and Caryl Churchill's New City Comedies'. Adaptations - Performing Across Media and Genres. University of Siegen, Germany, 1-4 May 2008.
  • '"Getting Closer": Patrick Marber's Excursions into the Pinteresque.' 'Artist and Citizen': 50 Years of Performing Pinter. University of Leeds, 12th -14th April 2007.
  • '"Reclaiming Sam for Ireland": The Beckett on Film Project and National Identity'. Beckett at 100: New Perspectives, Florida State University, Tallahassee, USA, 9-11 February 2006.
  • '"A Theatre of Ruins": Edward Bond and Samuel Beckett: Theatrical Antagonists.' Page and Stage: 50 Years of Performing Beckett. University of Leeds, 20-22 June 2003.
  • 'Beckettian Motifs in the Work of Sarah Kane'. Beckett and Modern Theatre, University of Sydney, Australia 6-9 January 2003.
  • 'Edward Bond and the Celebrity of Exile'. Comparative Drama Conference. Columbus, Ohio USA, 24-26 April, 2003.
  • '"Out Vile Jelly"! Shakespeare's King Lear and Sarah Kane's Blasted'. Scaena: Shakespeare and his Contemporaries in Performance. St John's College Cambridge, 9-11th August 2001. Paper subsequently published.

Knowledge Transfer, Enterprise & Outreach:

  • Introductory programme notes for Brussels Theatre Company (Ocean Nord) production of Sarah Kane's play 4.48 Psychosis, prior to a European tour (May 2008).
  • Invited panellist at Ocean Theatre Nord Brussels 15th March 2008, for a public symposium on Sarah Kane to mark the theatre's production of 4.48 Psychosis.
  • Post-show discussion with director Thomas Ostermeier to discuss his production of Hedda Gabler. Barbican Theatre London, 28th February 2008.
  • Invited panel speaker at one-day public symposium on the work of Sarah Kane, Barbican London, 10th November 2006 (
  • Talk given to sixth form students at Charles Darwin School, Kent on the work of Sarah Kane. I also spoke to the group about applying for university (October 15th 2006).
  • Invited panel speaker at pre-show discussion of Sarah Kane's play Phaedra's Love at Bristol Old Vic, 1st November 2005.
  • Invited speaker on panel to discuss the work of Sarah Kane. Royal Court Theatre, June 20th 2002.
  • Invited speaker at British Council's Ciclo de Autor dedicated to Sarah Kane. Teatro Pradillo, Madrid, Spain 5th February 2002.

Broadcasts and Interviews:

  • Interviewed by Aleks Sierz for audio broadcast on TheatreVoice website ( to mark publication of About Kane: the Playwright and the Work.
  • Invited panel speaker at post-show discussion of Sarah Kane's play Cleansed, Arcola Theatre London, 22nd November 2005. Audio broadcast on www.
  • Interviewed for publication in Hildegard Klein and Pilar Zozaya, eds. British Theatre of the Nineties: Interviews with Directors, Playwrights, Critics & Academics, Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2007, 208 pp ISBN 978-0-230-00509-9. Interview, pp. 172-85.


  • Part One Coordinator
  • Departmental liaison for Combined Students
  • MA Convenor


  • Introduction to Film and Theatre
  • Performance & Nation
  • Director & the Theatre

  • Advisory Board for the journal Contemporary Theatre Review
  • Reviewer to Year's Work in English Studies on Post-1950 Drama

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