PROF Mary Luckhurst

PROF Mary Luckhurst


  • Applied theories of acting and directing. (Theories of actor-training; performing real people; theatre and celebrity studies.)
  • Political Theatres. (Theatres of war and terror; theatre and human rights.)
  • The Gothic and spectrality studies. (As it relates to theatre and dramatic literature, theatre and emotion.)



  • Mary Luckhurst is Professor of Artistic Research and Creative Practice in the faculty of VCA-MCM. She is a theatre director, writer, theatre historian and a pioneer of practice as research. She is a world expert on dramaturgy and on analyzing and articulating the applied processes writing, acting and directing in theatre-making. She is a specialist in modern drama and her many books include Dramaturgy: A Revolution in Theatre; On Acting; On Directing; Theatre and Celebrity, and Playing for Real, as well as two Blackwells Companions on British and Irish Theatre. She completed a BA Hons: Modern Languages at the University of Cambridge (1985) and then an MSc. European Politics at the London School of Economics (1986). She then worked in theatre for ten years after winning the Most Promising Playwright Award (Stratford East Theatre, London), working as a director, dramaturg and playwright and running her own theatre company. She gained her MA Performing Arts from Middlesex University (1997) and returned to the University of Cambridge to do her PhD (2000). Having been a key player in the initiation the BA and MA Writing and Performance within the English Department at the University of York (UK), she co-founded the innovative, industry-led research Department of Theatre, Film and Television there in 2007. She was made a National Teaching Fellow and one of only fourteen International Scholars by the UK Higher Education Academy in recognition of her outstanding contributions to research and practice in theatre.

    Her research expertise includes applied theories of acting and directing, theories of actor-training, performing real people, theatre and celebrity studies, political theatres, theatres of war and terror, practice as research, theatre and human rights, the Gothic and spectrality studies as it relates to theatre and dramatic literature, theatre and emotion. Her latest books include Theatre and Ghosts: Materiality, Performance and Modernity (Palgrave 201   


Selected publications


Additional Grant Information

  • 2013
    Higher Education Academy
    International Scholar

    British Academy
    ‘The History and Politics of Emotion Memory’

    University of York and York city
    ‘Theatre and Human Rights’

    University of York and York city
    ‘Theatre and Ghosts’

    Worldwide University Network
    ‘Applied Theatre Techniques in South Africa’

    Higher Education Academy,
    CI on ‘Enhancing Actor Training in the UK’

    University of York
    Publications Grant.

    Production and Research of Caryl Churchill’s Far Away.

    White Rose Doctoral Bursary Scheme
    ‘Theatres of War in the Twentieth Century’

    AHRB Research Leave Scheme
    ‘Current Dramaturgical Practices in Europe’

    University of Cambridge
    ‘Theatrical Literary Management in Contemporary England’

    Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation
    ‘Dramaturgy: A Cultural History in Europe’


Education and training

  • PhD, University of Cambridge 1998
  • MA, Middlesex University 1995
  • MSc, London School of Economics and Political Science 1986
  • BA, University of Cambridge 1985

Awards and honors

  • International Scholar, UK Higher Education Academy, 2013
  • Inaugural Visiting Professor of Performing Arts, University of Sydney, 2013
  • Martin E. Segal Research Fellow, City University New York (CUNY), 2012
  • Vice Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence, University of York, 2006
  • National Teaching Fellow, UK Higher Education Academy, 2006
  • Camfest Award for Original Play, Camfest, 2000
  • Most Promising Playwright Award, Playwright Award, 1987


Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

  • I am available for supervision.

    I have supervised 15 PhD students to completion in both pure research and practice as research. I am a pioneer of practice as research and have supervised professional actors, playwrights and directors on the study of particular processes. Other areas include political theatres, feminist theatres, theatre and technology, theatres of war, theories of actor training, physical and immersive theatre, theatre and human rights, theatre and spectrality.