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Dr Christian Billing

Dr Christian Billing

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

Faculty and Department

  • Faculty of Arts Cultures and Education
  • School of The Arts

Qualifications

  • BA (University of Kent)
  • MA (University of Leeds)
  • PGCert (Goldsmiths, University of London)
  • PhD (University of Warwick)

Summary

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)

Recent outputs

View more outputs

Book Chapter

'Though this be method, yet there is madness in't': Cutting Ovid's tongue in recent stage and film performances of Titus Andronicus

Billing, C. M. (2016). ‘Though this be method, yet there is madness in’t’: Cutting Ovid’s tongue in recent stage and film performances of Titus Andronicus. In P. Holland (Ed.), Shakespeare and Rome (58-78). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/sso9781316670408.006

"Here is my space": Josef Svoboda's Shakespearean imagination

Billing, C. M. (2016). "Here is my space": Josef Svoboda's Shakespearean imagination. In J. R. Brown, & S. Di Benedetto (Eds.), Designers' Shakespeare (12-37). Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge

Conference Proceeding

Historiography, Rehearsal Processes, and Performance as Translation; or, How to Stage Early Modern English Drama Today?

Billing, C. (2015). Historiography, Rehearsal Processes, and Performance as Translation; or, How to Stage Early Modern English Drama Today?.

Journal Article

Czech puppet theatre in global contexts: roots, theories and encounters

Billing, C. M., & Drábek, P. (2015). Czech puppet theatre in global contexts: roots, theories and encounters. Theatralia, 5-31. https://doi.org/10.5817/ty2015-2-1

Responsibilities to the past; duties to the present: considerations on translating, editing and (re)presenting the Czech structuralist canon for modern international audiences

Billing, C. M. (2014). Responsibilities to the past; duties to the present: considerations on translating, editing and (re)presenting the Czech structuralist canon for modern international audiences. Theatralia, 17(2), 13-23

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)

Lead investigator

Project

Funder

Grant

Started

Status

Project

ECPE PPF: Getting the Plastics Circular Economy Message Out: Arts Research and Performance as a Route to Shared Arts and Science Impact and Engagement

Funder

EPSRC Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council

Grant

£16,535.00

Started

1 November 2019

Status

Complete

Postgraduate supervision

Shakespeare and Early Modern European Drama

Classical Greek Drama

Intercultural and Polyglot Theatre and Performance

Stage Design and Scenography (including Critical Costume)

Environmental and Ecological Arts

Acting, Directing and Rehearsal Methodology

Current PhD supervision:

Gemma Dodds, 'Eros and Thanatos in Aeschylus’ Oresteia and its Modern Adaptations' (first supervisor);

Mal Williamson, 'Cognitive Eye Movement as a Film Acting and Directing Tool and Critical Evaluation Framework' (co-supervisor);

Tony Chapman-Wilson, Verbatim Theatre and the Construction of Queer Identity in Newcastle-upon-Tyne (co-supervisor).

Successfully Completed PhDs (all as first supervisor):

Zuzana Koblišková, 'Socio-historical Contexts and Aesthetic Perceptions of Slovak Scenography for Shakespeare 1920-1989' (2020);

Thomas Harrison, '‘Guides Not Commanders’: Imitation and Contamination of the Classics in the Comedies of Ben Jonson' (2017);

Henry Bell, 'Proxemics and Kinaesthetics in Relation to Youth Engagement with Shakespeare' (2016);

Renfang Tang, 'Chinese Shakespeare: An Intercultural Study across Three Genres' (2016);

Farah Ali, 'The Construction and Deconstruction of Identity in the Plays of Harold Pinter' (2016);

Andrew Head, 'Acting Beckett: Towards a Poetics of Performance' (2015);

Simon Benson, 'The Production of Early Modern Dramatic Space: Practices, Places and Perceptions' (2010);

Amy Skinner, 'Fragments of Times and Spaces: Collage in the Theatre of Vs. E. Meyerhold, 1906-1926' (2005).

Committee/Steering group role

Member of Theatre without Borders Steering Group

2015

Conference presentation

Keynote Lecture: Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic

2016 - 2016

Delivered Keynote Lecture, entitled: 'Race as Scenography in Jozef Ciller’s Set Design and Katarína Holková’s Costumes for Rastislav Ballek’s Production of Othello at the Národní Divadlo, Brno (2014)'

Keynote Lecture: Barbican Theatre

2016 - 2016

Delivered Keynote Lecture: 'Czechoslovak Scenography for Shakespeare 1918–1968: The Cradle of Modernism', at The Barbican Theatre, London. For the Barbican International Symposium on Shakespeare & Modernism.

Keynote Lecture: McMaster University, Ontario, Canada

2015 - 2015

Delivered the Keynote Lecture: 'Historiography, Rehearsal Processes and Performance as Translation; or, How to Stage Early Modern English Drama Today?' For the John Douglas Taylor Conference: Performance in Early English Theatre History Research: The Three Ladies of London in Contexts and Collaborative International PaR Research Project (see: http://threeladiesoflondon.mcmaster.ca). McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Funder panel member

Member of AHRC Peer Review College

2020

Honorary position

Visiting Professor, New York University (Gallatin School) 2022

2022 - 2022

Visiting Professor, New York University (Gallatin School) 2017

2017 - 2017

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