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Professor Nadine Holdsworth

nholdsworthProfessor of Theatre and Performance

Tel: +44 (0)24 765 22878

Room G25, Millburn House
University of Warwick
Coventry, CV4 7HS


Nadine Holdsworth joined the department at Warwick in 2000 and served as Head of Department from 2009-2014. Whilst at Warwick Nadine has designed modules that address her interests in twentieth and twenty-first century political theatres and contemporary theatre and theories of identity, particularly in relation to nation, gender, ethnicity and globalization. She also supervises students undertaking practical projects, research topics and MA and PhD research.

Nadine's recent publication includes the book The Ecologies of Amateur Theatre (2018), an outcome of the AHRC-funded project Amateur Dramatics: Crafting Communities in Time and Space, co-written with Helen Nicholson and Jane Milling, which won the TaPRA David Bradby Award for Research Excellence in 2019. Other recent publications include Theatre and National Identity: Re-Imagining Conceptions of Nation (Routledge, 2014) Joan Littlewood’s Theatre (CUP, 2011), Theatre & Nation (Palgrave 2010) and a special issue of Contemporary Theatre Review, 'Theatre, Performance and the Amateur Turn' co-edited with Jane Milling and Helen Nicholson. She is currently completing a monograph called English Theatre and Social Abjection: A Divided Nation, which will be published by Palgrave later in 2020.

Research interests

Nadine's research has two distinct, but sometimes interconnected strands in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century popular theatre practitioners and theatre and national identities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. She has conducted a significant amount of research on John McGrath and edited Naked Thoughts that Roam About (Nick Hern, 2002), a selection of McGrath's writings on theatre that was shortlisted for the 2002 Theatre Book Prize, and edited and introduced a collection of McGrath's plays in Plays for England (Exeter University Press, 2005).

Nadine has also researched the theatre, creative processes and community activism of the theatre director Joan Littlewood. She published Joan Littlewood as part of the Routledge Performance Practitioners Series in 2006 and Cambridge University Press published Joan Littlewood's Theatre in 2011. This book was the culmination of a substantial period of AHRC-funded research and draws on research in theatre/performance studies, ethics, citizenship, cultural democracy, space, community, class and culture to explore various strands of Littlewood's work including her anti-war plays, the Fun Palace project and her playground schemes with children in the East End of London. Nadine has also published work on Littlewood and Theatre Workshop in the journals New Theatre Quarterly and Research in Drama Education. She has also contributed to a number of documentaries and discussions of Littlewood's work for organisations including the National Theatre in London, the Royal Shakespeare Company and BBC Radio 4.

Nadine's interest in theatre and national identities has resulted in Theatre and National Identity: Re-Imagining Conceptions of Nation (Routledge, 2014), Theatre & Nation (Palgrave, 2010) for the Palgrave Theatre& series and several essays on modern and contemporary Scottish and Northern Irish theatre that have been published in journals and edited collections including Contemporary Theatre Review (2003), The Cambridge History of British Theatre Vol. 3 (Cambridge University Press, 2004) and Cool Britannia: Political Theatre in the 1990s (Palgrave, 2007). She also co-edited A Concise Companion to Contemporary British and Irish Theatre (Blackwell, 2008).

Nadine is on the Advisory Boards for Contemporary Theatre Review, the International Journal of Scottish Theatre and Screen and is a Contributory Editor for New Theatre Quarterly.

Teaching and supervision in 2019/20

Post-War British Theatre and Social Abjection (autumn term)

Theatre and National Identities (spring term)

Independent Research Option

Administrative roles

Director of Research for Theatre and Performance

Research Seminar Series Co-ordinator for Theatre and Performance

Selected publications

Monographs and edited books

2018 The Ecologies of Amateur Theatre, co-written with Jane Milling and Helen Nicholson, Palgrave

2017 co-edited special issue of of Contemporary Theatre Review, 'Theatre, Performance and the Amateur Turn' with Jane Milling and Helen Nicholson, Vol. 27, No 1

2014 Theatre and National Identity: Re-Imagining Conceptions of Nation, Routledge
2014 European Theatre Performance Practice, 1900 to the Present (co-editor with Geoff Willcocks), Ashgate
2011 Joan Littlewood’s Theatre, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
2010 Theatre & Nation, Basingstoke: Palgrave

2008 A Companion to Contemporary British and Irish Drama (co-editor with Mary Luckhurst), Oxford: Blackwells, 295 pages

2006 Joan Littlewood, London: Routledge

2005 John McGrath’s Plays for England, Exeter: Exeter University Press

2002 Naked Thoughts That Roam About: Reflections on Theatre by John McGrath, Nick Hern Books (Shortlisted for Society for Theatre Research Book Prize 2002)

Book chapters

2019 'Dramatic Evolutions/Bodily Violations', British Literature in Transition 1980-2000: Accelerated Times, ed. by Eileen Pollard and Berthold Schoene, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 76-90

2016 'These Green and Pleasant Lands': Travellers, Gypsies and the Lament for England in Jez Butterworth's Jerusalem, Twenty-First Century Drama: What Happens Now, ed. by Sian Adiseshiah and Louise LePage, Basingstoke: Palgrave, pp. 175-190

2014 ‘Over and Beyond Under Milk Wood: Dylan Thomas, National icons and Re-Imagining the Cultural landscape of Wales’, Theatre and National Identities, ed. by Nadine Holdsworth, New York: Routledge, pp. 41-57

2014 ‘Citizenship, Cardboard Citizens and The Ethics of Inclusion’, Performance Studies: Key Words, Concepts and Theories, edited by Bryan Reynolds, Basingstoke: Palgrave, pp. 133-140

2014 ‘John McGrath’ 50 Modern and Contemporary Dramatists, ed. by Maggie Gale and John Deeney, Routledge, pp. 155-160

2013 ‘David Greig’, Modern British Playwriting: 2000-2009, edited by Dan Rebellato, London: Bloomsbury Methuen, pp. 169-189

2008 ‘The Landscape of Contemporary Scottish Drama: Place, Politics and Identity’ in Nadine Holdsworth and Mary Luckhurst, eds. A Companion to Contemporary British and Irish Drama, Oxford: Blackwells, pp. 125-145

Journal articles

2016 'Performing Place, Heritage and Henry V in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard' Contemporary Theatre Review, Vol. 26, No. 2, pp. 196-210

2014 ‘This blessed plot, this earth, this realm: Staging Treatments of Riots in Recent British Theatre’, Journal of Contemporary Drama in English, Vol. 2, No 1, pp. 78-96

2013 ‘Boys Don’t Do Dance Do They?’ Research in Drama Education, Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 168-173

2007 ‘Spaces to play/playing with spaces: young people, citizenship and Joan Littlewood, Research in Drama Education, Vol. 12, No. 3, pp.293-304

Professional associations

  • Serves on the AHRC Peer Review College.
  • Advisory Board: Contemporary Theatre Review, the International Journal of Scottish Theatre and Screen.
  • Contributory Editor: New Theatre Quarterly.
  • Member of the Standing Conference of University Drama Departments (SCUDD).
  • Member of the Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA).
  • Member of the International Federation of Theatre Research (IFTR).


  • PhD (Loughborough)
  • BA (Loughborough)

Office hours

Tuesdays 11-12 and Wednesdays 12-1

or email to arrange an appointment


Undergraduate modules

Post-war British Theatre and Social Abjection

Theatre and National Identities

Independent Research Option

Book cover: John McGrath Naked Thoughts

Cover of Theatre & Nation

Boo cover: Joan Littlewood's Theatre

The Ecologies of Amateur Theatre