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Dr Matthew McFrederick

  • Outreach and Widening Participation Co-ordinator

Areas of interest

My research interests range from the playwright Samuel Beckett to modern practices in directing and scenography, as well as contemporary British, Irish and Northern Irish playwriting.

Much of my research has explored performance histories and practices in the UK from the 1950s to the present day. I completed my Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)-funded PhD in the Department as part of the AHRC Staging Beckett project, where I investigated the production histories of Samuel Beckett’s drama in London. This led to a number of published articles and interviews with key practitioners of Beckett’s drama. It also led me to co-curate the exhibition Waiting for Godot at 60 for the Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival. This research developed new methods in theatre historiography and included significant research in performing arts archives. I was a Visiting Fellow at the Harry Ransom Center (University of Texas, Austin) as part of the AHRC’s International Placement Scheme.

During my recent appointment as a Jocelyn Herbert Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of the Arts London and the National Theatre Archive, I advanced my interest in how historical and contemporary theatre designers represent the real or reality in performance with a specific focus on Herbert’s designs for the plays of Arnold Wesker and David Storey. As part of this Fellowship, I spoke and co-convened Staging the Real, a theatre design symposium held at the National Theatre and, in 2020, I will co-convene a second theatre design symposium on Staging Mixed Reality.

Much of my teaching builds upon my experience as a theatre practitioner, where I have acted in TIE in France and Belgium and worked as a director in Belfast and London. Notably, I was Assistant Director on Not I/Footfalls/Rockaby at the Royal Court Theatre and, more recently, I supervised an in-the-round production of The Cherry Orchard at Minghella Studios.

In the Department, I have also been responsible for initiating the Race and Performance Today series, which saw the Department host in-conversation events with leading playwrights, including Inua Ellams and Natasha Gordon. In 2018, I was appointed Project Manager on Reading Assembly at Tate Exchange at the Tate Modern, which saw over 3,800 visitors engage with the Department’s vibrant programme of events on the theme of production.

Postgraduate supervision

I welcome enquiries from postgraduate students in any of my areas of interest. I currently supervise postgraduate students on topics ranging from the theatre of Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter to the globalisation of National Theatre Live.


I teach across a range of practical and critical modules, at all levels, including:

  • Introduction to Theatre (BA Year 1) (Convenor)
  • Practical 1: Making Meaning (BA Year 1) (Convenor)
  • Practical 2: Theatre (BA Year 1)
  • Practical 3: Theatre Project (BA Year 1)
  • Performance and Identity (BA Year 2)
  • Radical Forms and Practices in Theatre (BA Year 2) (Convenor)
  • Practical Project: Theatre (BA Year 2) (Convenor)
  • Dissertation (BA Year 3) (Convenor)
  • MA Dissertations.

Professional bodies/affiliations

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)
  • Scenography Working Group at the Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA)
  • Samuel Beckett Working Group at the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR).

Selected publications

  • McFrederick, M. (2019) ‘Barber Shop Chronicles’, in The Cambridge Companion to British Playwriting Since 1945, eds. Angelaki, V. and Rebellato, D., (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) (forthcoming)
  • McFrederick, M. (2019) ‘The air is full of our cries’: Staging Godot during apartheid in South Africa.’ Beckett and the ‘Political Turn’. Eds. Bailey, H. and Davies, W., (Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan), pp. 148–58. (forthcoming)
  • McFrederick, M. and G. Saunders (2018) ‘Interview with William Gaskill.’ Contemporary Theatre Review, 28:1 : 150–60.
  • McFrederick, M. (2016) ‘Feckham, Peckham, Fulham, Clapham…Hammersmith: Beckett at Riverside Studios’, in Staging Samuel Beckett in Great Britain, eds. Tucker, D. and McTighe, T., (London: Bloomsbury, Methuen Drama), pp. 37–55. 


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