Staging Beckett: The Impact of Productions of Samuel Beckett’s Drama on Theatre Practice and Cultures in the United Kingdom and Ireland

The Staging Beckett project, a collaboration between the Universities of Reading and Chester and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, received substantial AHRC funding (£668,144) from 2012 – 2015, in order to research professional productions of Samuel Beckett’s stage plays in the UK and Ireland. We have created a searchable database of these productions accessed via the Staging Beckett website. The website includes information on upcoming UK productions of Beckett’s plays and a blog on aspects of staging Beckett. The AHRC funded project has therefore enabled ongoing research into staging Beckett in the UK and Ireland, and beyond.

New materials such as transcribed interviews, blogs, and learning materials are continually added to the Staging Beckett website. Any recent publications within the remit of the overarching research questions initially posed by the project are also added to the Staging Beckett Publications page. As the Staging Beckett team continues to grow and the research outputs develop, this website both connects and showcases the various new strands of research with the existing scholarship on Beckett’s drama.

Staging Beckett draws on original archival material in the University of Reading’s world-leading Beckett Collection, the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Theatre and Performance archives in London, and other archive collections across Britain, Ireland and international archives such as the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin. The database includes information on original archival holdings relating to specific productions.

The AHRC Staging Beckett project held three international conferences between April 2014 and April 2015: on Staging Beckett: Constructing Performance Histories (University of Reading, 4-5 April, 2014); Staging Beckett at the Margins (University of Chester, 11-12 September, 2014); and Staging Beckett and Contemporary Theatre and Performance Cultures (University of Reading, 9-11 April, 2015). These included papers on staging Beckett across the globe, many of which are included in our publications which you can find out more about here.

The project also held a number of public talks and exhibitions which you can find out about here.

Data Partners and Providers

The data providers for the Performing Arts Database are UKTheatre Web, The Royal National Theatre, Royal Opera House and Shakespeare Library.

For any queries, comments or information about productions of Beckett’s plays you have seen or been involved in, please contact Anna McMullan on a.e.mcmullan@reading.ac.uk.

The Staging Beckett Team

The Staging Beckett project was led by Professor Anna McMullan (University of Reading), Professor Graham Saunders (University of Birmingham, previously University of Reading) and Professor David Pattie (University of Chester), in partnership with the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The research team also included Post-Doctoral Researchers Dr Trish McTighe (Reading) and Dr David Tucker (Chester), and a Doctoral Researcher Matthew McFrederick. The biographies of the research team and their contact details are listed below.

The project’s technical and data team included Ramona Riedzewski (Victoria & Albert Museum), Guy Baxter (University Archivist, University of Reading) Siobhan Wootton (Database Co-ordinator, University of Reading) , open source software design partner Knowledge Integration, and website developers, Obergine.

Staging Beckett Research Team

Anna McMullan

Anna McMullan is Professor of Theatre at the University of Reading. She is the Principal investigator of the AHRC Staging Beckett project, as well as Director of Research in the Department of Film, Theatre & Television and a Co-director of the Beckett International Foundation. Her main area of research is the drama of Samuel Beckett, on which she has published two monographs (Theatre on Trial: The Later Drama of Samuel Beckett and Performing Embodiment in Samuel Beckett’s Drama), a co-edited volume (Reflections on Beckett), and many essays.

a.e.mcmullan@reading.ac.uk

David Pattie

David Pattie is Professor of Drama at the University of Chester. He is the author of The Complete Critical Guide to Samuel Beckett (2001) and Modern British Drama: The 1950s (Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, 2012). He has also published on contemporary British theatre, Scottish theatre, popular culture and popular music.

D.Pattie@bham.ac.uk

Graham Saunders

Graham Saunders is Professor of Theatre at the University of Birmingham. He is author of Love me or Kill me: Sarah Kane and the Theatre of Extremes (Manchester: MUP, 2002), About Kane: the Playwright and the Work (London: Faber 2009), Patrick Marber’s Closer (Continuum, 2008) and co-editor of Cool Britannia: Political Theatre in the 1990s (Palgrave, 2008) and Sarah Kane in Context (MUP,2010). His current book is British Theatre Companies 1980-1994 (Methuen, 2015) He was Principal Investigator for the five year AHRC funded ‘Giving a Voice to the Nation’: the Arts Council of Great Britain and the Development of Theatre & Performance in Britain 1945-1994′ and is currently co-investigator on the three year AHRC funded project Staging Beckett: The Impact of Productions of Samuel Beckett’s Drama on Theatre Practice and Cultures in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

He has contributed articles on contemporary British and Irish drama to journals including Modern Drama, Journal of Beckett Studies, Contemporary Theatre Review, Theatre Research International, New Theatre Quarterly and Studies in Theatre and Performance.

g.j.saunders@bham.ac.uk

Trish McTighe

Trish McTighe is Lecturer in Theatre at the University of Birmingham. Previously, she lectured at Queen’s University, Belfast and was an AHRC post-doctoral researcher on the Staging Beckett Project at the University of Reading (2012-2015). Her book, The Haptic Aesthetic in Samuel Beckett’s Drama, was published with Palgrave in 2013, and she recently co-edited the double volume Staging Beckett in Ireland and Northern Ireland and Staging Beckett in Great Britain (Bloomsbury-Methuen, 2016). She has published in the journals Modern Drama, Samuel Beckett Today/Aujourd’hui, and the Irish University Review, on topics such as Beckett’s drama, embodiment, and Irish culture and performance histories. She is theatre reviews editor for the Journal of Beckett Studies.

t.mctighe@bham.ac.uk

David Tucker

David Tucker is an Associate Lecturer in the department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London. His monograph is entitled Samuel Beckett and Arnold Geulincx: Tracing ‘a literary fantasia’ (Continuum, 2012) and he was written the short book A Dream and its Legacies: The Samuel Beckett Theatre Project, Oxford c.1967-1976 (Colin Smythe, 2013) as well as a number of journal articles and book chapters on Beckett. Editorial work includes the books British Social Realism in the Arts since 1940 (Palgrave, 2011), Staging Beckett in Great Britain (Bloomsbury, 2016) and Staging Beckett in Ireland and Northern Ireland (Bloomsbury, 2016), and a number of journal volumes for Rodopi and Oxford University Press. Current work includes a critical edition of Beckett’s non-fiction prose (Faber & Faber, forthcoming 2019).

d.tucker@gold.ac.uk

Matthew McFrederick

Matthew McFrederick is a Teaching Fellow and AHRC funded PhD student in the Department of Film, Theatre & Television at the University of Reading. In December 2016 he successfully defended his thesis on the production histories of Samuel Beckett’s drama in London. From September-November 2014 he was a Visiting Fellow at the Harry Ransom Center in Austin, as part of the AHRC’s International Placement Scheme. He is also a theatre practitioner and was assistant director on the Royal Court’s production of Not I/Footfalls/Rockaby. In 2015 he co-curated (with Professor Anna McMullan and Dr Mark Nixon) the exhibition Waiting for Godot at 60 for the Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival. He recently published a chapter on Beckett’s experiences and legacies at Riverside Studios in London for Staging Beckett in Great Britain and has a forthcoming article due to appear in Samuel Beckett Today/ Aujourd’hui.

m.mcfrederick@reading.ac.uk

Lucy Jeffery

Lucy Jeffery has updated the design of the Staging Beckett website, writes the learning materials, and edits the recorded interviews and talks for the project (made available as transcripts). She was a Teaching Fellow at the University of Reading and Postdoctoral Researcher for the Samuel Beckett Research Centre. She is currently (2020) a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Mittuniversitetet, Sweden. She has published on the work of Beckett, Harold Pinter, Ingeborg Bachmann, and Ezra Pound. Her articles have appeared in the Journal of Beckett StudiesRadio Journal: International Studies in Broadcast & Audio Media, Interdisciplinary Literary StudiesHistorical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, The Harold Pinter Review, and Word and Image. She has also contributed chapters to Samuel Beckett and Technology eds. Adar, Kiryushina, and Nixon; The Oxford Handbook of Samuel Beckett eds. Nixon and Van Hulle; and Radio Art and Music: Culture, Aesthetics, Politics eds. Mildorf and Verhulst.

lucy.jeffery@reading.ac.uk

Search site

Blog archive

Gallery

Staging Beckett team members, Matthew McFrederick and Professor Anna McMullan, alongside Walter Asmus and Dr Nick Johnson at the TCD Beckett Summer School. IMG_3277
Walter Asmus in conversation with Nick Johnson for the second Staging Beckett public talk at the Beckett Summer School, August 2014.
James Knowlson with Richard Wilson and the BBC Artsnight team at the University of Reading, July 2015.
Richard Wilson and James Knowlson during the filming of the BBC's upcoming Artsnight episode dedicated to Samuel Beckett, July 2015.
Lisa Dwan and Walter Asmus at the Royal Court, December 2013.
Lisa Dwan and Anna McMullan interview University of Reading, March 2018.
Samuel Beckett directing the San Quentin Drama Workshop actors Bud Thorpe and Rick Cluchey. (Photo by Chris Harris, David Gothard Collection.)
Billie Whitelaw's dress for Footfalls
Godot, Gare St Lazare, 2014.
Conor Lovett in Godot, Gare St Lazare, 2014.
Fizzles, 'Beckett in the City'. Photo courtesy of Company SJ., 2013.
Beckett observing rehearsals at the Riverside Studios. (Photo by Chris Harris, David Gothard Collection.)
Waiting for Godot at 60: An Exhibition, 2015.
Exhibition photo, 2014.
Exhibition photo, 2014.
Exhibition photo, 2014.
Staging Beckett conference at the University of Reading, 5 April 2014
Staging Beckett conference at the University of Reading, 5 April 2014
Staging Beckett conference at the University of Reading, 5 April 2014
Staging Beckett conference at the University of Reading, 5 April 2014
Staging Beckett conference at the University of Reading, 5 April 2014
Staging Beckett conference at the University of Reading, 5 April 2014
Staging Beckett conference at the University of Reading, 5 April 2014
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Staging Beckett team members, Matthew McFrederick and Professor Anna McMullan, alongside Walter Asmus and Dr Nick Johnson at the TCD Beckett Summer School. IMG_3277
Walter Asmus in conversation with Nick Johnson for the second Staging Beckett public talk at the Beckett Summer School, August 2014.
James Knowlson with Richard Wilson and the BBC Artsnight team at the University of Reading, July 2015.
Richard Wilson and James Knowlson during the filming of the BBC's upcoming Artsnight episode dedicated to Samuel Beckett, July 2015.
Lisa Dwan and Walter Asmus at the Royal Court, December 2013.
Lisa Dwan and Anna McMullan interview University of Reading, March 2018.
Samuel Beckett directing the San Quentin Drama Workshop actors Bud Thorpe and Rick Cluchey. (Photo by Chris Harris, David Gothard Collection.)
Billie Whitelaw's dress for Footfalls
Godot, Gare St Lazare, 2014.
Conor Lovett in Godot, Gare St Lazare, 2014.
Fizzles, 'Beckett in the City'. Photo courtesy of Company SJ., 2013.
Beckett observing rehearsals at the Riverside Studios. (Photo by Chris Harris, David Gothard Collection.)
Waiting for Godot at 60: An Exhibition, 2015.
Exhibition photo, 2014.
Exhibition photo, 2014.
Exhibition photo, 2014.
Staging Beckett conference at the University of Reading, 5 April 2014
Staging Beckett conference at the University of Reading, 5 April 2014
Staging Beckett conference at the University of Reading, 5 April 2014
Staging Beckett conference at the University of Reading, 5 April 2014
Staging Beckett conference at the University of Reading, 5 April 2014
Staging Beckett conference at the University of Reading, 5 April 2014
Staging Beckett conference at the University of Reading, 5 April 2014
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