English and Theatre Studies focuses on the form, meanings and effects of imaginative writing and dramatic performance, and explains how these practices engage with the everyday world. We are a combined program, in which students can pursue literary interests, theatrical interests, or both through their major.
English and Theatre Studies at Melbourne
Recognised nationally and internationally for innovative teaching, scholarship and research, English and Theatre Studies boasts one of the oldest literature programs in the world. Today, it is a leading research hub for critical thinking about literature and performance across genres and historical periods.
Our scholars are experts in:
- Australian literature, theatre and culture
- Theatre, dance and performance
- Medieval literature and medievalism
- Shakespeare and Renaissance drama
- Enlightenment, Romantic and Victorian literatures
- World and comparative literature
- Popular fiction and adaptations
- Archival research and digital humanities
- Literary and theatre history
- Literary theory and critical thinking
Key research projects extend our work into interdisciplinary and funded collaborations in areas such as creativity, the history of the emotions, ecological thinking, cultural analysis, Asian performance, Irish literature, and early modern English theatre history. The program also supports a thriving postgraduate community.
English and Theatre Studies runs a weekly research seminar during semester, featuring work in progress from our staff, our graduate students, and colleagues from other institutions. View the seminar schedule. All welcome!
Resounding the Sublime: Music in English and German Literature and Aesthetic
Resounding the Sublime: Music in English and German Literature and Aesthetic Theory, 1670-1850, Miranda Eva Stanyon.
Associate Professor Anne Maxwell. Women Photographers of the Pacific World, 1857-1930, Routledge, 2020
Byron in Context
Professor Clara Tuite, Professor of English, Deputy Head of School. Byron in Context, Cambridge University Press, 2020.
Professor Ken Gelder, Professor of English and Dr Rachael Weaver, ARC Senior Research Fellow. The Colonial Kangaroo Hunt, Melbourne University Press, 2020.
Dr Sarah Balkin, Lecturer in English and Theatre Studies. Spectral Characters: Genre and Materiality on the Modern Stage, University of Michigan Press, 2019.
Associate Professor Justin Clemens, Associate Professor of English. Limericks, Philosophical and Literary, Surpllus, 2019.
Professor Ken Gelder, Professor of English. Adapting Bestsellers: Fantasy, Franchise and the Afterlife of Storyworlds, Cambridge University Press, 2019.
Shakespeare and Lost Plays
David McInnis, Associate Professor of English and Theatre Studies. Shakespeare and Lost Plays: Reimagining Drama in Early Modern England, Cambridge University Press, 2021.
The English and Theatre Studies program has a long and successful record of receiving external and university funding for research projects, including from the Australian Research Council (ARC).
Architectures of Imagination: Bodies, Buildings, Fictions, and Worlds
A project developing a new account of the 18th-century imagination through the study of buildings, fictions and their readers / inhabitants.
A project investigating the interactions, engagement and impact of theatre for young people in regional Australia.
Eco-Colonial Australian Literature: Environment, Species, Climate
A project exploring how colonial Australian writing addresses issues of species, environment and ecology that remain urgent for Australians today.
Merchants and Museums
Reconstructing museum specimen data through the pathways of global commerce.
Literature and the face: A critical history
“He gave her a momentary glance, – a glance of brightness...”~ Jane Austen, Persuasion
Andromache in Romantic Europe
What drew Enlightenment and Romantic audiences to Andromache, and whatever happened to her in later periods? Dr Stanyon’s project explores these questions.
Study with us
Master your craft in our undergraduate and graduate programs. You’ll learn from leading academics while joining a vibrant and engaged community.
Graduates in English and Theatre studies go on to rewarding careers in the creative arts, publishing, public relations, advertising, media, communications, teaching and law.
- Graduate Certificate in Arts
- Graduate Diploma in Arts
- Graduate Certificate in Arts (Advanced)
- Graduate Diploma in Arts (Advanced)
Meet our English and Theatre Studies staff
English and Theatre Studies academics are leading teachers, researchers and industry professionals. They train students in critical thinking, advanced writing and research skills, analytical and interpretive reading and effective oral communication.