Sarah Jane Dickenson

Dr Sarah-Jane Dickenson

Senior Lecturer / Head of English and American Studies

Faculty of Arts, Cultures and Education

01482 465281

Dr Dickenson's recent and current research projects include the Wellcome Trust-funded investigation, The Not Knowns: Psychology, Engagement and Cultural Memory, with co-investigators from the University of Hull, in partnership with Hull Training and Park Bench Theatre.

As a playwright her plays are at the core of most of her research projects including the recent The Not Knowns. Dr Dickenson's plays have been performed across Europe. She has primarily concentrated on the writing of large cast pieces for young people to perform, and has also had some success with more mainstream forms of scriptwriting.


Research Interests

  • Community applied drama

  • Scriptwriting

  • Unseen Pain

Research groups

Current projects

  • Co-investigator 'The Key' with Lincolnshire County Council and Bishop Grosseteste University which focuses on peer-on-peer child sexual exploitation in Lincolnshire and surrounding counties.

  • Co-investigator 'Hull Rises' working with the BBC and the British Council Hull Rises is a participatory, cross-disciplinary project that will explore the history of milling and baking in Hull and Poland and situate it within the context of contemporary food culture.

Recent experience includes

  • working with Graeae Theatre Company, the leading Disability Arts Theatre Company in the country with an international profile, where she was part of the Write to Play initiative

  • the Wellcome Trust-funded investigation, The Not Knowns: Psychology, Engagement and Cultural Memory, which is being delivered with co-investigators Dr Colette Conroy and Prof Giuliana Mazzoni from the University of Hull, in partnership with Hull Training and Park Bench Theatre

  • a project in 2014 for the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, on developing continuing professional development for artists working in participatory settings, in which Dr Dickenson was co-investigator


Play scripts

Dickenson S J (2014), That Berlin Moment, London: Barbican Press.

Dickenson, S.J. (2014), CBA, London: Barbican Press.

Text books

Maria Cerny, Sarah Jane Dickenson, Daniela Schwark and Bettina Steurer (2011), 'Die Mauer' (A Level German teaching resource, now being used in 60 Schools in the region).


Conroy C. Dickenson S J, Mazzoni G, ‘The Not-Knowns: Playwriting, Psychology and Participation’. RIDE: Research in Drama Education. (Forthcoming 2017)

Dickenson S J (Sept 2015), ’The Playwright and Applied Drama’, 30th anniversary edition of Research in Drama Education, Taylor & Francis.

Dickenson S J (2013), ‘Anthony Minghella: Autobiographical Memory and the Creation of an Adapted Screenplay’, Journal of Adaptation in Film & Performance, 6.2 2013, pp.317-328.

A full list of Dr Dickenson's publications is available by following this link.


Programmes taught on (2019)

Modules list

  • Scriptwriting

  • Adaptation

  • Screenwriting Process Drama

Research PhDs

Dr Dickenson has recently supervised students working on applied drama and scriptwriting.

Professional highlights

Academic qualifications

  • PhD English (English Creative Writing), University of Hull

  • MA Drama as Education, University of Central England

  • PGCE, Drama & English, Manchester Metropolitan University

External roles

Until recently, Dr Dickenson was on the Executive of the Council of University Deans for Teaching the Arts, Social Sciences & Humanities (DASSH UK) and was a member of the board of Hull Truck Theatre.

Most recently she has been an adviser on new drama degree programmes at both Oxford Brookes University and the University of Greenwich and has been external examiner at the University of Sheffield, University of Huddersfield and University of Wales Institute Cardiff.

Dr Dickenson is currently external examiner at Sheffield Hallam and at Edge Hill University. She is a member of the UK’s Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA).

Professional highlights

Dr Dickenson's plays have been performed across Europe. For example, she was commissioned to write a play for the Goethe-Institut to mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The play Not Yet was performed in the UK in February 2009 at various venues. Of the 18 plays commissioned by the Goethe-Institut from across Europe, Not Yet was one of seven chosen to be performed at the culminating festival in Dresden and Mulheim November 2009.

Not Yet was also filmed by the Christmas TV & Film Company and now translated, in conjunction with the Languages into Schools project, forms the core of a language pack for A level students. She gave a keynote presentation on the project at a conference in London in July, 2009, for the Goethe-Institut.

Dr Dickenson was a commissioned playwright on Graeae Theatre Company's Write To Play programme, October 2015 – November 2016. Graeae Theatre Company is a force for change in world-class theatre, breaking down barriers, challenging preconceptions and boldly placing disabled artists centre stage.