Assistant Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies
Email: D dot J dot Coates at warwick dot ac dot uk
Phone: (+44) (0) 24761 50135 (Ext. 50135)
Room FAB 1.52, Faculty of Arts Building, University of Warwick,
Coventry, CV4 7AL.
David is an Assistant Professor in the School of Creative Arts, Performance and Visual Cultures at the University of Warwick. He is a cultural historian with a particular interest in theatre and performance in the long nineteenth century. David holds a BA (Hons) and MA by Research in Theatre a Performance Studies from the University of Warwick, with his MA dissertation on the subject of private theatricals at Chatsworth House: 1880-1914. In 2017 he submitted his PhD thesis titled The Development of Amateur Theatre in Britain, 1789-1914. Between January 2022 and January 2027 David is co-investigator on the European Research Council funded project 'Performing Citizenship: Social and Political Agency in Non-Professional Theatre Practice in Germany, France, Britain, Sweden and Switzerland (1780-1850)'.
Alongside this project work, as an Early Career Academic, David is working on a number of research outputs. He is preparing to submit a proposal to publish his writings on amateur theatre in the long nineteenth century as a monograph. He is also working on a number of journal articles, including one which considers grave hunting as part of a theatre historian's research methodology, and another which grapples with queer subcultures in nineteenth century amateur theatre. David also has a longstanding interest in the Shelley Theatre in Boscombe, Dorset, and would like to return to work on this after initial plans for a project were scuppered by the covid-19 pandemic.
David is an active member of a number of associations. He's been a member of the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR)'s Historiography Working Group since 2013, and was the Administrator for the IFTR Warwick World Congress in 2014. He's also a long-standing member of the Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA) and the Society for Theatre Research (STR), and has served on the Executive Committee of both organisations. For the former, he is the Theatre and Performance Histories Working Group Convenor (2022-2025) and for the latter, he founded the New Researchers’ Network (NRN), and served as its Chair between 2012 and 2015.
Alongside David’s PhD, he worked in Arts Administration at Warwick Arts Centre in various departments, including Programming and Business Development.
Teaching and Supervision
While David is working on a the ERC funded project, he will no longer be teaching in Theatre and Performance Studies. In previous years his teaching has included:
- British and European theatre in the long nineteenth century
- Amateur theatre histories
- Elite entertainments, country house society and culture and private theatricals
- The aristocracy or royalty and theatre
- Theatre and performance historiography and archives
- Queer theatre and performance histories
- Cemeteries, gravehunting and ‘theatrical tourism’
'Amateur Theatre Networks in the Archive', Performance Research, 25:1 (April 2020).
‘Mapping London’s Amateur Theatre Histories’ in Claire Cochrane and Jo Robinson (eds), The Methuen Handbook to Theatre History and Historiography (2019).
'Elite Private and Amateur Theatricals and the Professional Amateur' in Claire Cochrane and Catherine Hindson (eds.) Routledge Companion to Twentieth Century Theatre (2024)
PhD and MA by Research Supervision
David welcomes expressions of interest from prospective students who wish to pursue a research degree in Theatre and Performance Studies at Warwick. He is particularly keen to supervise projects that relate to his areas of expertise or those which use similar approaches and methodologies. If you are considering enrolling on a research degree, please reach out to David via email. He is more than happy to have an initial conversation with you and assist you in developing a proposal.
David also welcomes expressions of interest from anyone wishing to pursue postdoctoral research in Theatre and Performance Studies at Warwick. He is able to support applications to the Leverhulme Trust, the British Academy and several other major funding bodies. Please get in touch with him via email and he will be more than happy to arrange an initial online (or in-person) conversation and to work with you in developing a proposal.
Between 1 January 2022 and 1 January 2027 David is working on a European Research Council funded research project which means that he will be in the office less frequently. Please contact him via email to arrange a suitable time to meet in person or online.