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Dr Rebecca Benzie
Lecturer in Theatre



I joined TFTI in 2019 as a Postdoctoral Research Associate on the pilot project ‘Staging History at York Theatre Royal: Archives and the History Play’ and the follow on project, ‘The History Play and New Writing in English Regional Theatres: Creating a Network for Impact’ led by Professor Benjamin Poore. I have since become a Lecturer in Theatre at the university where I am the Co-Programme Leader for the MA in Theatre Making and teach theory, practice, and project supervision across the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Theatre.

Previously, I completed an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded PhD at the University of Exeter in 2017 and went on to become an Associate Lecturer in Drama at Exeter teaching across lecture, seminar, and studio based modules. In addition, I have teaching experience from Oxford Brookes University and Bath Spa University.

Experience as a theatre practitioner and dramaturg, specialising in devised theatre and textual adaptation, shapes my research and teaching of both theory and practice.



Research interests

  • Twenty-first century new playwriting
  • Feminism and dramaturgy
  • The contemporary history play
  • Feminist performance analysis
  • Community commemoration and performance
  • Centenary and anniversary performance work
  • British theatre institutions and their wider socio-cultural contexts

My research explores how history is used within contemporary society and the gender politics of representations of the past, with a particular focus on new playwriting, theatre institutional identity, and acts of commemoration.

I am currently working on my first monograph titled Feminism, Dramaturgy and the Contemporary British History Play contracted to be part of Bloomsbury’s Engage series. Building on my PhD research, the book is a feminist intervention into the dramaturgy of newly written history plays in contemporary British theatre investigating work produced at major theatres from 2000-the present. In addition, my research interests include performance and commemoration particularly concerning the Suffrage Movement and contemporary acts of remembrance connected to the First World War. On this topic, I have a chapter forthcoming in the Cambridge Companion to First World War Theatre.

My research interests also include questions of pedagogy and in 2019 I was a co-investigator on a pedagogical research project titled ‘Reinventing the Lecture Using a Creative Practice Model’ funded by the University of York’s Strategic Learning and Teaching Fund. The project investigated how theories of theatre studies can be used to explore lectures as a live event in order to create more inclusive and interactive learning environments.


Selected publications

Journal Article

Benzie, R. and Poore, B. (2023) ‘History Plays in the 21st Century: New Tools for Interpreting the Contemporary Performance of the Past’, Studies in Theatre and Performance.

Book Chapter

Benzie, R. (2023) ‘Commemorating the War.’ In: Brooks, H. and Hammond, M. (eds.) The Cambridge Companion to British Theatre of the First World War, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [invited contribution]

Engagement, Impact, and Dissemination

Benzie, R. (2020) 'Take Time Out Today to Remember', Western Morning News, 11th November.

Benzie, R. and Poore, B. (2020) ‘Team Teaching: academic practice in action’, Forum Learning and Teaching Committee, University of York, issue 47, pp. 10-11.

Benzie, R. (2019) ‘Try Not to Make a Mess When You Smash That Window In Protest.’ In: Williams, N. (ed.) Staging Gendered Violence, Howlround Theatre Commons [Online].

Benzie, R. (2018) ‘In the Engine Room: Representation v Reality of the Female Whip.’ In: Inchley, M. and Vice, J. (eds.) Amending Speech: Women's Voices in Parliament, 1918-2018, London: Hansard.

Contact details

Dr Rebecca Benzie
School of Arts and Creative Technologies
University of York
YO10 5GB

Tel: +44 (0)1904 32 5231