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Oliver Jones

Research project

The Queen’s Men on Tour

Performance by Travelling Companies in Vernacular Spaces in Early Modern England

The Queen’s Men were an all-star Elizabethan theatre company that between 1583 and 1603 toured the nation’s town halls, country houses and inn-yards, performing its plays in front of aldermen and aristocrats, schoolboys and royalty.

Prompted by the work of Scott McMillin and Sally-Beth MacLean and the Toronto-based Shakespeare and the Queen’s Men Project, my PhD research seeks to place the plays of the Queen’s Men in their original context. By using survey and digital reconstruction to study the Guildhall at Stratford-upon-Avon and introducing performance into the original playing space, I seek to understand the practical opportunities and limitations to performance presented by the hall, the ideology of social space and the manner in which it is used by performers, and early modern audience reception.


Oliver read Archaeology at the University of York, graduating with First Class Honours in 2006. He gained a Distinction in his Masters in Medieval Studies in 2007 and started his doctoral research in October 2008.

Registered in the Department of Archaeology, co-supervised in the Department of Theatre, Film, Television and Interactive Media, and a member of the Centre for Renaissance and Early-Modern Studies (CREMS), his work necessitates an hollistic and truly interdisciplinary approach, combining methodologies from archaeological, historical, literary and theatrical academic traditions.

Since July 2011 Ollie has been the King’s College London/ Shakespeare’s Globe Indoor Jacobean Theatre Research Associate, examining the building and documentary evidence for Jacobean theatres and associated buildings that will inform the design of the new Indoor Jacobean Theatre next to Shakespeare’s Globe on Bankside.

His wider research interests include:

  • The archaeology of medieval and early-modern buildings
  • Space, performance and social discourse
  • Pre-Shakespearian drama and the development of the Elizabethan theatre
  • Shakespeare and renaissance drama in performance
  • The Mystery Cycles - performance and social identity

Ollie is supervised by Dr Kate Giles and Professor Mike Cordner.

Papers and Publications


  • (2012a) 'A Feast for the Senses' Around the Globe 51: 20-21.
  • (2012b) 'Let a Chair Come Down' Around the Globe 52: 32-33.
  • (forthcoming December 2012) ‘The Queen’s Men in Stratford and the Troublesome Reign of John, King of England’ in J. R. Mulryne (ed.) The Guild and Guild Buildings of Shakespeare’s Stratford. Farnham: Ashgate.
  • (forthcoming) 'A Mad World My Masters: report', Research on Medieval and Renaissance Drama 51.


  • Keeping up with the Joneses: 17th century theatre design and the mystery of the Worcester College Drawings
    - Society for Renaissance Studies Conference, Manchester, July 2011.
  • (Re)Creating an Archetype - Researching the Indoor Theatre Project
    - Jacobean Indoor Playing Symposium, King's College London, February 2012
  • The Other Shakespearean Stage: Provincial Performance at Stratford-upon-Avon
    - TFTV Research Seminar, York, November 2011.
  • It. pd for mendinge of a forme that was broken by the quenes players: Performance versus Archive at Stratford-upon-Avon
    - Shakespeare Before REED, International Shakespeare Association World Shakespeare Congress, Prague, July 2011.
  • Bastards, Brawls and Broken Benches: The Queen’s Men at Stratford-upon-Avon
    - The Archaeology of Performance Spaces Symposium, Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, York, November 2010.
  • The Queens Men in Stratford and the Troublesome Raigne of John, King of England
    - International Shakespeare Conference, University of Birmingham Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon, August 2010.
  • Did York have a Renaissance? Tracking drama in York from the medieval Mystery Plays to early-modern travelling players.
    - Society for Renaissance Studies Conference, York, July 2010.
  • Blackfriars on Bankside? Reconstructing Shakespeare’s other theatre
    - ‘Space and Performance’ symposium, Cabinet of Curiosities postgraduate forum, Centre for Renaissance and Early-Modern Studies, York, June 2010.
  • Blackfriars on Bankside? Reconstructing Shakespeare’s other theatre
    - Inaugural Annual Postgraduate Conference, Department of Theatre, Film and Televison, York, June 2010.
  • From Inigo Jones to a Bankside Blackfriars: an outline of the Indoor Jacobean Theatre project
    - Architectural Research Group AGM, Shakespeare's Globe, London, March 2009.
  • Stage, Performance and Audience: Theories of Space in Early-Modern Theatre
    - Architectural History and Theory Research School Conference, Department of History of Art, York, December 2009.
  • Playing with Prototypes? Elizabethan Touring Theatre before Shakespeare
    - Postgraduate Seminar Series, Department of History, York, October 2010.
  • Inigo Jones at Shakespeare's Globe: Identifying Current Research and Future Objectives
    - Architectural Research Group AGM, Shakespeare's Globe, London, September 2009.
  • Setting the Stage: An interdisciplinary approach to travelling players and their venues in early-modern England
    – Postgraduate Seminar Series, Department of Theatre, Film and Television, York, June 2009.
  • The State of Play: An Archaeological Approach to the Elizabethan Stage
    – 3rd Annual Conference of the Yorkshire Archaeology Postgraduate Group, York, March 2009.
snapshot taken on lindisfarne beach, castle in background

Contact details

Oliver Jones
Department of Archaeology
The King's Manor, YO1 7EP
Department of Theatre, Film, Television and Interactive Media
Campus East, YO10 5GB