Professor of Theatre Studies
CONVENOR: MA in THEATRE AND PERFORMANCE RESEARCH
Tel: +44 (0)24 765 74842
Email: jim dot davis at warwick dot ac dot uk
University of Warwick
Coventry, CV4 7HS
Professor Jim Davis holds a BA (Hons) in English and MA from Oxford University and a PhD in Drama from Exeter University. He joined the School in 2004 after eighteen years teaching Theatre Studies at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, where he was latterly Head of the School of Theatre, Film and Dance. In Australia he was also President of the Australasian Drama Studies Association (the tertiary association of drama teachers), and member of the Board of Studies of the National Institute of Dramatic Art. Prior to leaving for Australia he spent ten years teaching in London at what is now Roehampton University. He has co-organised conferences for the International Federation of Theatre Research (IFTR) in New South Wales and at Warwick. He has convened Historiography Working Groups for both the IFTR and for TaPRA. He is also an editor of Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film.
- Nineteenth-Century British Theatre
- Nineteenth-Century London Theatre Audiences
- Nineteenth-Century Australian Theatre
- Theatre Iconography
- History and Theory of Acting
- Melodrama and Pantomime
- Comic Performance
- Dickens and Theatre
- Contemporary British Theatre
His major research interest is in nineteenth-century British theatre and his most recent books are European Theatre Performance Practice Vol 3 1750-1900 (editor, 2014)), Comic Acting and Portraiture in Late-Georgian and Regency England (2015), - winner of the David Bradby Memorial Award for Research in International Theatre and Performance' 2017 and shortlisted for the 2015 TLA George Freedley Memorial Award USA - and Theatre & Entertainment (2016). Other publications include Victorian Pantomime: A Collection of Critical Essays and Lives of the Great Shakespearian Actors: Edmund Kean. He is also joint-author of a study of London theatre audiences in the nineteenth century Reflecting the Audience: London 1840-1880 published by the University of Iowa Press in 2001. This was awarded the 2001 Theatre Book Prize for the best book on theatre published in that year.He has previously published books on John Liston, a nineteenth-century actor, and on the Britannia Theatre, as well as editing a volume of the plays of H. J. Byron for Cambridge University Press. He has contributed chapters to a number of books, including essays on nineteenth-century acting to the Cambridge History of British Theatre and on audiences to the Cambridge Companion to Victorian and Edwardian Theatre.
He has also published in many periodicals including Theatre Survey, Theatre Notebook, Essays in Theatre, Themes in Drama, New Theatre Quarterly, Nineteenth Century Theatre, Theatre Research International and The Dickensian. He was also responsible for many of the theatrical entries in The Oxford Readers' Companion to Dickens and is a contributor to the Oxford Encyclopaedia of Theatre and Performance, The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Stage Actors and Acting and the New Dictionary of National Biography. For several years he wrote an annual review of publications on nineteenth-century English Drama and Theatre for The Year's Work in English Studies.
He also has interests in late nineteenth-century and contemporary European theatre (particularly British and Irish theatre), in nineteenth and early twentieth-century Australian theatre, in the history and theory of acting, in script-writing and in theatre historiography.
He is currently co-editor of Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film. He has convened Theatre Historiography Working Groups for both the International Federation of Theatre Research and for the British Theatre and Performance Research Association.
Recebt research projects include a two volume edition of nineteenth-century dramatisations of Dickens (with Jacky Bratton) for Oxford University Press (now in press) and a Leverhulme-funded study of cultural exchange between Britain and Australia 1880–1960 (with Australian academic Veronica Kelly). Current research focuses on the relationship between theatrical and visual culture in the nineteenth century.
Teaching and supervision
Professor Davis teaches on the first year undergraduate module Performance Analysis. He also offers second year modules on popular theatre forms such as melodrama and pantomime and a third year module on Theatre Historiography. He also co-ordinates the written dissertation component on the third year Research Option programme. He supervises MA and PhD dissertations on a range of topics largely, but not exclusively, pertaining to British theatre c.1780–1914.
Monographs and edited books
Theatre & Entertainment, Basingstoke: palgrave Macmillan, 2016
Comc Acting and Portraiture in Late-Georgian and Regency England, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015
Victorian Pantomime: A Collection of Critical Essays (editor), Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.
Reflecting the Audience: London Theatregoing, 1840-1880 Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2001 (with Victor Emeljanow)
‘Shakespeare in the visual arts’ in Jill Levenson & Rob Ormsby, eds., The Shakespearean World Routledge Worlds Series, (London & New York: Routledge, 2016}.
Melodrama On and Off the Stage’, The Oxford Handbook of Victorian Literary Culture, ed., Juliet John (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016)
‘Looking Towards 1843 and the End of the Monopoly’, The Oxford Handbook of the Georgian Theatre, 1737-1832, ed. Julia Swindells & David Francis Taylor (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), pp. 156-173.
'Can you do that, Auntie? Representing the Victorian Theatre through Caricature and Cartoon’ in Heinrich, Newey & Richards, eds., Ruskin, the Theatre, and Victorian Visual Culture, (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), pp. 216-238.
‘Disrupting the Quotidian: Hoaxes, fires and non-theatrical performance in nineteenth-century London’, New Theatre Quarterly, XXIX:1 (February 2013), 113, 3-12.
“The Sublime of Tragedy in Low Life”, European Romantic Review (April 2007), 159-167.
“Freaks, Prodigies and Marvellous Mimicry: Child Actors of Shakespeare on the Nineteenth-Century Stage”, Shakespeare 2:2 (December 2006), 179-193.
“Self-Portraiture On and Off the Stage: The Low Comedian as Iconographer” Theatre Survey, 43:2 (November, 2002), 177-200.
BA (Hons) (English Language & Literature) University of Oxford
MA University of Oxford
PhD (Drama) Exeter University
See noticeboard for available times each week.
Performance Spaces: Historical and Contemporary Developments (with Dr Margaret Shewring)