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Professor Nadine Holdsworth

nholdsworthProfessor of Theatre and Performance

Tel: +44 (0)24 765 22878

Room The FAB, 6 University Road,
University of Warwick
Coventry, CV4 7EQ


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 publications includes English Theatre and Social Abjection: A Divided Nation (Palgrave, 2020) and The Ecologies of Amateur Theatre (Palgrave, 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 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 working on a body of research around arts, creativity and homelessness. The has involved a project called 'Homeless Monopoly' with a collaborator Jackie Calderwood and a local charity. Using co-creative arts methodology and gamification, ‘Homeless Monopoly’ has involved the creation of a board-game featuring real-life testimonies and scenarios of people affected by homelessness in the Coventry area. She has written on this project for Research in Drama Education: the Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance (see below). Nadine has also designed a creative toolkit as a resource for teachers, youth groups, and other voluntary organisations working with people aged 14 and above to help them approach the complex issues around homelessness.

She was on the steering committee for Coventry City of Culture's HOME: arts and homelessness festival, which took place in venues across Coventry city centre between Friday 8 - Saturday 16 October 2021. The festival was a celebration of arts and homelessness projects in the city, created and co-produced by people who had experienced homelessness. Coventry City of Culture also supported a Legislative Theatre project to refresh Coventry City Council’s homelessness policy and rough sleeper strategy via co-production methodologies. Both of these initiatives were co-produced by Arts and Homelessness International. Nadine has co-written a research report Arts and Homelessness in Coventry that explores and evaluates the initiatives pioneered by Arts and Homelessness International to re-think and re-position how arts and creativity can change perceptions, policy and outcomes for those who are or have been homeless in Coventry. You can find out more about this body of work around arts, creativity and homelessness here:

Nadine served as a panel member for the Research Framework Exercise in 2021. She 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.

During 2022/2023 Nadine will be on research leave developing a monograph with the provisional title Becoming Visible: Arts, Creativity and Homelessness

Research interests

Throughout her career Nadine has sustained an interest in the relationship between theatre, politics, communities and nation. Nadine has conducted 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). She 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. 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. Her work on John McGrath and Joan Littlewood draws on ideas around ethics, citizenship, cultural democracy, space, community, class and culture.

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.

Nadine worked on an AHRC funded research into amateur theatre that explored the processes of collaborative theatre making for ‘the love of it’ and what impacts this has on ideas of self, well-being, place-making, local heritage and the wider theatre ecology. In 2020, she completed a monograph on theatre and social abjection that thinks through how theatre can intervene in understandings of marginalised groups in England that takes in topics including the north/south divide; Gypsy and Traveller communities; riots, racism and white privilege. It interrogates how national divisions are generated and circulated in public discourse and how theatre offers up counter-hegemonic and resistant practices that question and challenge negative stigmatization, but also how theatre can contribute to the recirculation of problematic and discriminatory cultural imaginaries.

Selected publications

Monographs and edited books

2020 English Theatre and Social Abjection: A Divided Nation, Palgrave (shortlisted for the Theatre Book Prize)

2018 The Ecologies of Amateur Theatre, co-written with Jane Milling and Helen Nicholson, Palgrave (winner of the TaPRA David Bradby Award for Research Excellence in 2019)

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 (shortlisted for the TaPRA David Bradby Award for Research Excellence)
2010 Theatre & Nation, Basingstoke: Palgrave

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

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

2022 'Clive Barker as Tribal Scribe: Memory, Embodied Knowledge and the Power of Anecdotes', Clive Barker and his Legacy: Theatre Workshop and Theatre Games, ed. by Paul Fryer and Nesta Jones, London: Methuen Drama, pp. 51-66

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

2021 'Disrupting Monopoly: homelessness, gamification and learned resourcefulness' Research in Drama Education: the Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, Vol. 26, No. 1, pp. 38-52 (

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: the Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 168-173

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

Professional associations

  • Advisory Board: Contemporary Theatre Review
  • 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

Please email to arrange an appointment, but note I am on research leave 2022/2023


I am on research leave during the academic year 2022/23

The Ecologies of Amateur Theatre Boo cover: Joan Littlewood's Theatre

Book cover: John McGrath Naked ThoughtsCover of Theatre & Nation