Staff profile

Dr Stephen Watkins

Lecturer in English Literature

Dr Stephen Watkins talking to students


English, Creative Writing and Publishing


College of Arts, Humanities and Education





I am a Lecturer in English Literature, specialising in the early modern period.

Before joining Derby in January 2018, I taught at the University of Southampton, where I also completed an AHRC-funded PhD on the poet and playwright Sir William Davenant. I completed a BA (Hons) in English at Southampton in 2013 and received an MA in Renaissance Literature from the University of York in 2014.

I am Incoming Chair of the Early English Drama and Performance Network, which hosts an annual symposium for Early Career Academics working in the fields of medieval and early modern drama and theatre, and I have recently been appointed a Visiting Fellow of the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Culture at the University of Southampton.

Teaching responsibilities

Foundation Year

First Year

Second Year

Third Year


At postgraduate level, I lecture on Research Methods and Early Modern Literature to Humanities MA students.

Research interests

My research focuses primarily on Early Modern Literature, Restoration drama and performance.

I am currently preparing a monograph, based on my PhD research, previsionally titled The Revolutionary Theatres of Sir William Davenant, 1650-1667. This will constitute the first in-depth study of Davenant’s post-regicide writing for the stage. 

I have published articles and book chapters on seventeenth-century theatre history and performance, and am in the early stages of a new project exploring the development of 'heroic' literature and drama in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, across both England and Europe.

Membership of professional bodies


Recent conferences

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

Experience in industry

Throughout 2017-19, I served as one of a small number of scholar-consultants 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, London, and the Folger Shakespeare Theatre, Washington, D.C. - to explore how we might stage for contemporary audiences adaptations of Shakespeare's The Tempest and Macbeth first produced in the 1660s and 1670s. The project was structured around a series of public workshops, bringing together scholars, performers, musicians and other practioners, eventually leading to a full-scale, Equity professional production of William Davenant’s 1664 adaptation of Macbeth at the Folger Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC, USA. Scholarly outputs include a conference on Restoration Shakespeare and Performance as well as a forthcoming collection of essays, to be published by Cambridge University Press. More information about the project can be found here.

I have given 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. Reviews of productions and scholarly books have appeared in Renaissance StudiesRestoration, and The Seventeenth-Century Journal.

I am always keen to promote the discipline of English in both schools and universities; as such, I have an active interest in Higher Education policy making. I frequently engage in discussions with subject associations and other stakeholders about the challenges facing our sector, especially in relation to early career academics, precarity, and the future of academic publishing.

Recent publications

Journal Articles

'The Protectorate Playhouse: William Davenant's Cockpit in the 1650s', Shakespeare Bulletin, 37.1 (Spring, 2019), 89-109

Chapters in Edited Collections

'Heroic Shakespeare at Lincoln's Inn Fields', in Performing Restoration Shakespeare, ed. by Richard Schoch, Amanda Eubanks Winkler and Claude Fretz (forthcoming)

With Clara Jones, Clare Egan, Elizabeth English and Ilse A. Ras, 'Shared Futures: Early Career Academics in English Studies', in English: Shared Futures, ed. by Robert Eaglestone and Gail Marshall (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2018), pp. 64-72