PROF Mary Luckhurst

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  • Academic

Research expertise

  • Applied theories of acting and directing. (Theories of actor-training; performing real people; theatre and celebrity studies.)
  • Political Theatres. (Theatres of war and terror; theatre and human rights.)
  • The Gothic and spectrality studies. (As it relates to theatre and dramatic literature, theatre and emotion.)
Mary Luckhurst is Professor of Artistic Research and Creative Practice in the faculty of VCA-MCM. She is a theatre director, writer, theatre historian and a pioneer of practice as research. She is a world expert on dramaturgy and on analyzing and articulating the applied processes writing, acting and directing in theatre-making. She is a specialist in modern drama and her many books include Dramaturgy: A Revolution in Theatre; On Acting; On Directing; Theatre and Celebrity, and Playing for Real, as well as two Blackwells Companions on British and Irish Theatre. She completed a BA Hons: Modern Languages at the University of Cambridge (1985) and then an MSc. European Politics at the London School of Economics (1986). She then worked in theatre for ten years after winning the Most Promising Playwright Award (Stratford East Theatre, London), working as a director, dramaturg and playwright and running her own theatre company. She gained her MA Performing Arts from Middlesex University (1997) and returned to the University of Cambridge to do her PhD (2000). Having been a key player in the initiation the BA and MA Writing and Performance within the English Department at the University of York (UK), she co-founded the innovative, industry-led research Department of Theatre, Film and Television there in 2007. She was made a National Teaching Fellow and one of only fourteen International Scholars by the UK Higher Education Academy in recognition of her outstanding contributions to research and practice in theatre.

Her research expertise includes applied theories of acting and directing, theories of actor-training, performing real people, theatre and celebrity studies, political theatres, theatres of war and terror, practice as research, theatre and human rights, the Gothic and spectrality studies as it relates to theatre and dramatic literature, theatre and emotion. Her latest books include Theatre and Ghosts: Materiality, Performance and Modernity (Palgrave 201 4). Her book on playwright Caryl Churchill is in press (Routledge, 2014/15). She is currently working on Theatre and Human Rights after 1945: Things Unspeakable (Palgrave 2015).

Subject Areas

  • Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies
  • The Performing Arts (incl. Theatre and Dance)

Available for supervision

I am available for supervision.

I have supervised 15 PhD students to completion in both pure research and practice as research. I am a pioneer of practice as research and have supervised professional actors, playwrights and directors on the study of particular processes. Other areas include political theatres, feminist theatres, theatre and technology, theatres of war, theories of actor training, physical and immersive theatre, theatre and human rights, theatre and spectrality.

Contact Details

Phone Number: 03 9035 9136


Raising the Roof
Start: Tuesday, March 11th 2008 End: Wednesday, March 12th 2008


Authored Research Books

LUCKHURST M (2015), Caryl Churchill (ISBN:9780415345781)
LUCKHURST M (2014), Caryl Churchill: Routledge modern and contemporary dramatists
LUCKHURST M (2008), Dramaturgy: A Revolution in Theatre, Cambridge University Press

Edited Books

LUCKHURST M, CANTRELL (2010), Playing for Real: Actors on Playing Real People, Palgrave (ISBN:978-0-230-23042-2)
LUCKHURST M, HOLDSWORTH (2008), Contemporary British and Irish Drama, John Wiley & Sons (ISBN:9781405130530)

Research Book Chapters

LUCKHURST M (2016), The new genetics, genocide and caryl churchill. , Twenty-First Century Drama: What Happens Now
LUCKHURST M, MORIN E (2014), Introduction: Theatre and spectrality. , Theatre and Ghosts: Materiality, Performance and Modernity (ISBN:9781137345073)
LUCKHURST M (2010), Research, Acting Strategies, Performer and Audience. , Playing for Real: Actors on Playing Real People, Palgrave (ISBN:978-0-230-23042-2)
LUCKHURST M (2009), On the Challenge of Revolution. , Cambridge Companion to Caryl Churchill, Cambridge University Press
LUCKHURST M (2009), Speaking Out: Harold Pinter and the Freedom of Expression. , Cambridge Companion to Harold Pinter, Cambridge University Press (ISBN:9780521713733)
LUCKHURST M (2008), Verbatim Theatre, Media Relations and Ethics. , Blackwells Companion to Contemporary British and Irish Drama, John Wiley & Sons (ISBN:9781405122283)

Journal Articles Refereed

LUCKHURST M, RAE J (2016), Diversity Agendas in Australian Stand-up Comedy, M/C Journal - A Journal of Media and Culture, Vol 19, Issue 2
LUCKHURST M (2012), Taking a solitary stand, The Lancet, Vol 380, Issue 9855 , DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)61976-X
LUCKHURST M (2011), Ethical Stress and Playing Real People, Performing Ethos: International Journal of Ethics in Theatre & Performance, Vol 1, Issue 2
LUCKHURST M (2010), Dramaturgy and Agendas of Change: Tinderbox and Joint Sectoral Dramaturgy, Contemporary Theatre Review, Vol 20, Issue 2


LENNARD J, LUCKHURST M (2002), The Drama Handbook A Guide to Reading Plays

Education and Training

  • PhD: 'The History and Practice of Dramaturgy in England, 1760 - 1998' PhD , University of Cambridge, 1998
  • MA Performing Arts: Acting, Directing, Performance Studies MA , Middlesex University, 1995
  • M.Sc. European Studies: Politics, History, Economics MSc , London School of Economics and Political Science, 1986
  • BA Modern Languages: French and German BA , University of Cambridge, 1985

Awards and honours

  • Inaugural Visiting Professor of Performing Arts, University of Sydney, 2013
  • Martin E. Segal Research Fellow, City University New York (CUNY), 2012
  • Vice Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence, University of York, 2006
  • Camfest Award for Original Play, Camfest, 2000
  • Most Promising Playwright Award, Playwright Award, 1987
Higher Education Academy
International Scholar

British Academy
‘The History and Politics of Emotion Memory’

University of York and York city
‘Theatre and Human Rights’

University of York and York city
‘Theatre and Ghosts’

Worldwide University Network
‘Applied Theatre Techniques in South Africa’

Higher Education Academy,
CI on ‘Enhancing Actor Training in the UK’

University of York
Publications Grant.

Production and Research of Caryl Churchill’s Far Away.

White Rose Doctoral Bursary Scheme
‘Theatres of War in the Twentieth Century’

AHRB Research Leave Scheme
‘Current Dramaturgical Practices in Europe’

University of Cambridge
‘Theatrical Literary Management in Contemporary England’

Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation
‘Dramaturgy: A Cultural History in Europe’