Congratulations to Professor Benjamin Poore on publishing "The Contemporary History Play"

News | Posted on Friday 28 June 2024

Congratulations to Professor Benjamin Poore on publishing "The Contemporary History Play"

A picture of the front cover of Professor Benjamin Poore's new book

"The Contemporary History Play" by Professor Benjamin Poore


Something exciting is happening with the contemporary history play. New writing by playwrights such as Jackie Sibblies Drury, Samuel Adamson, Hannah Khalil, Cordelia Lynn, and Lucy Kirkwood, makes powerful theatrical use of the past, but does not fit into critics' familiar categories of historical drama. In this book, Benjamin Poore provides readers with tools to name and critically analyse these changes.

The Contemporary History Play contends that many history plays are becoming more complex and layered in their aesthetic approaches, as playwrights work through the experience of being surrounded by numerous and varied forms of historical representation in the twenty-first century.

For theatre scholars, this book offers a means of interpreting how new writing relies on the past and notions of historicity to generate meaning and resonance in the present. For playwrights and students of playwriting, the book is a guide to the history play's recent past, and to the state of the art: what techniques and formulas have been popular, the tropes that are widely used, and how artists have found ways of renewing or overturning established conventions.

The "The Contemporary History Play" book can be viewed and purchased here.

Notes to editors:

Professor Benjamin Poore Headshot

Professor Benjamin Poore

Benjamin Poore is Professor of Theatre in the School of Arts and Creative Technologies. He holds an MA and PhD from Royal Holloway, University of London, and a BA from the University of Oxford. Ben's previous books include Heritage, Nostalgia and Modern British Theatre: Staging The VictoriansTheatre & Empire, and  Sherlock Holmes from Screen to Stage. His research interests are centred on histories of playwriting, revival and adaptation in the theatre, particularly from the Victorian era to the present day. He has published widely on the stage and screen afterlives of characters from Victorian literature and culture. These have included Sherlock Holmes, Charles Dickens, the Bronte sisters, and the villains of fin de siecle popular fiction.