Professor Christine Dymkowski

Research interests

I am a theatre historian with interests in three disparate research areas – the history of Shakespeare production within its wider cultural contexts, Edwardian theatre, and feminist/women’s theatre – while making links between them (e.g., considering the gender ideology underlying Shakespeare production, uncovering lost work by women playwrights and directors in the Edwardian period):


1. The history of Shakespeare production within its wider cultural contexts:  i.e., in what ways do the meanings of a produced play resonate with the time and place in which it is performed?  What can the production of the play tell us about the culture/society that produced it, and how can an understanding of a culture/society illuminate the meanings that the production generates? For instance, in the production history of The Tempest, why is Ariel female in one period/place and male in another, and, similarly, why does Caliban change from a bestial sub-human to a dignified black slave?  Why does Measure for Measure have virtually no performance history before the mid-twentieth century, and why does its focus in British productions change so much between the 1970s and the 1990s?


2. The recovery of women’s theatre history, particularly in regard to playwrights and directors in the Edwardian period:  i.e., what significant theatrical activities by women have been written out of the standard accounts?  For instance, why does everyone remember Gordon Craig and no one remember his sister Edith, when, as Bernard Shaw justifiably claimed, the brother ‘has made himself the most famous producer in Europe by dint of never producing anything, while Edith Craig remains the most obscure by dint of producing everything’?


3. Contemporary feminist historiography:  i.e., ensuring that current significant work by women playwrights is recorded and exploring its contemporary reception.  For instance, in what ways are the reviews of work by a provocative playwright like Sarah Daniels gendered in their judgments? 

Personal profile

Please note:  I retired on 1 October 2012 but can be reached at c.dymkowski@rhul.ac.uk or cdymkowski@dwa2.net.

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