Staff profile

Dr Stephen Watkins

Lecturer in English Literature

Stephen Watkins in a classroom.


English, Creative Writing and Publishing


College of Arts, Humanities and Education



Research centre

Identity, Culture and Representation Research Centre





I joined the Univeristy of Derby as a Lecturer in English Literature in 2019. Before that, I taught at the University of Southampton, where I earlier completed both my BA and PhD. I also hold an MA from the University of York.

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (Advance HE), a Visting Fellow of the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Culture at the University of Southampton, and Chair of the Premodern Performance Cultures Network.

Teaching responsibilities

Foundation Year

First Year

Second Year

Third Year


I welcome PhD proposals on any aspect of English theatre, c. 1580-1750.

Professional interests

Always keen to promote the study of English, and Higher Education in general, I regularly visit schools and sixth-form colleges to discuss questions with potential students.

I am a member of the UKRI Early Career Forum, and regularly engage with subject associations and other stakeholders to address the challenges facing Higher Education, especially in relation to early-career academics, precarity, and the future of academic publishing.

Research interests

My main research interests lie in English drama and performance, c.1580-1750. I have written essays on the emergence of English opera in the 1650s, on early modern printed playbooks, and on Restoration adaptations of Shakespeare. I am currently completing a book chapter on Restoration and 18-Century Comedy for the 3-volume Cambridge History of Punctuation in English Literature, as well as a short book on Restoration Shakespeare and/in performance.

Membership of professional bodies


Recent conferences

In July 2021 I hosted, with colleagues from the University of Kent, an international online symposium, 'Whither wander you?': New Directions in Premodern Performance, under the aegis of the Premodern Performance Cultures Network. This symposium brought together scholars from across the globe to discuss new research paradigms and trajectories in the study of medieval and early modern performance in its broadest sense. You can read a blog by some of the participants that reflects on the symposium's emergent themes and ideas on the Premodern Performance Cultures Network's website.  

As a speaker, I regularly give papers, both in the UK and internationally. Recent conference presentations include:

Experience in industry

Throughout 2017-19, I served as a scholar-consultant on the major AHRC project, 'Performing Restoration Shakespeare', led by Professor Richard Schoch (Queen's University, Belfast) and Professor Amanda Eubanks Winkler (Syracuse University, USA). This involved working with a number of partner organisations - including Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London and the Folger Shakespeare Theatre in Washington DC - to explore how we might stage Restoration adaptations of Shakespeare in meaningful ways for audiences today.

I regularly give talks on early modern theatre to public audiences (for example, as part of the 'Read Not Dead' series run by Shakespeare's Globe Theatre), and I frequently provide programme notes for professional productions. My reviews of recent productions and scholarly books have appeared in Renaissance StudiesRestoration, and The Seventeenth-Century Journal.

Recent publications

Journal Articles

Chapters in Edited Collections