Faculty Members with active interests in Performance include:

Dr Ruth Abbot
Ruth Abbott is a fellow of St John’s College and an affiliated lecturer in the English Faculty. She has been  a visiting fellow at Cornell University, and worked as a lecturer and research fellow at Worcester College, Oxford. She works on the manuscripts and compositional practices of seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth century writers, particularly poets. Her first book is on William Wordsworth’s notebooks; it devotes particular attention to the relations these notebooks reveal between compositional practices, metrical practices, and reading practices, especially the practice of reading aloud. She has an abiding practical and theoretical interest in what happens to writing when it is spoken, sung, or otherwise vocalised, and in the meanings made by human voices.

Professor Steven Connor
Steven Connor is Grace 2 Professor of English in the University of Cambridge and fellow of Peterhouse, Cambridge. He has written extensively about the work of Samuel Beckett, including Samuel Beckett: Repetition, Theory and Text (1988) and Beckett, Modernism and the Material Imagination (forthcoming 2014) and also about theories of contemporary performance, in his Postmodernist Culture: An Introduction to Theories of the Contemporary (2nd edn 1996). He is interested in the history of popular performance and spectacle, as evidenced for example by A Philosophy of Sport (2011) as well as in vocal performance and the dream theatre of the mouth, in books like Dumbstruck: A Cultural History of Ventriloquism (2000) and Aristotle’s Cough: Sobbing, Humming, Growling, Tutting, Buzzing and Other Noisings of the Voice (forthcoming 2014). His website at includes lectures, broadcasts, unpublished work and work in progress.

Dr Alex Houen
Alex Houen is University Senior Lecturer in Modern Literature, and a fellow of Pembroke College. He is author of Terrorism and Modern Literature (OUP, 2002), and Powers of Possibility: Experimental American Writing since the 1960s (2011). His performance interests include: Happenings, Situationism, John Cage, and poetry readings.

Dr Michael Hrebeniak
Michael Hrebeniak is Director of Studies in English at Wolfson College and Lecturer in English at Magdalene College Cambridge. He previously taught Humanities and Jazz History at the Royal Academy of Music and Metropolitan Studies at New York University, and produced poetry documentaries for Channel 4. He co-leads the Performance Research Rhizome and the Performance: Art-Critique-Experiment (P:ACE) collaboration between Cambridge and Central Saint Martins, and chairs the English Faculty’s Literature and Visual Culture Subject Group. He is working on a book and film installation about the medieval Stourbridge Fair as enactment of cultural memory, a traceless polis and the carnivalesque. His concern with interdisciplinarity informed his first book, Action Writing: Jack Kerouac’s Wild Form, and characterises his current work on the spatial imaginary of postwar New York performance. His journalism has appeared in the Guardian and on BBC Radio. He has an allotment.

Professor Robin Kirkpatrick
Robin Kirkpatrick is Professor Emeritus of Italian and English Literatures – NB plural, Literatures – at Robinson College Cambridge. As well as having perpetrated various volumes on Dante’s poetry and also on the Renaissance – English and Italian – he writes verse. His translation, in verse, of Dante’s Commedia has appeared in a number of editions published by Penguin in the UK and USA. He co-leads the Performance: Art-Critique-Experiment (P:ACE) collaboration between Cambridge and Central Saint Martins.

Dr James Riley
James Riley is currently Lecturer in English (post-1900) at the University of Cambridge and is Fellow of English at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. His research interests include twentieth and twenty-first century Anglophone writing; literature and technology; recording, noise, cybernetics; counterculture and the 1960s and areas of ‘occulture’ such as parapsychology, catastrophism and ufology. He has recently edited two collections linked to the archives of novelist and filmmaker Peter Whitehead and has written on terrorism, psychedelia, cult film and conspiracy for Vertigo, One+One, Monolith and Transgressive Culture.

He maintains a blog at

Dr Anne Stillman
I’m a fellow of Clare College and an affiliated lecturer in the Faculty of English. My work in teaching and in writing might be said to be concerned with Œperformance in some of the following ways: collaborative teaching making use of live performance as practice; reading aloud; Shakespeare’s plays and verse; Samuel Beckett’s lyrical prose and poetical dramas; Wittgenstein and what it means to Œsay; T.S. Eliot’s dreams for poetic drama; Frank O’Hara and acting; Monodrama and Monopolylogues; overhearing; speaking alone and talking to yourself; ventriloquism; dramatic monologues, and how to make and play with puppets.

Postgraduates with such concerns include:

Lucy Barnes
Lucy Barnes is a PhD student in the Faculty of English. She is currently researching the theatrical adaptation of novels in the mid- to late-nineteenth century, including works by authors such as Ellen Wood, Charles Reade and Robert Louis Stevenson. She is also interested in the work of twentieth and twenty-first-century dramatists such as Samuel Beckett and Sarah Kane. Prior to taking up her academic research, Lucy spent time working professionally in theatre as an assistant director.

Barbara Campbell-Lange
Barbara-Ann Campbell-Lange’s current research in the English Faculty at the University of Cambridge explores ‘spatial prosody’, the ephemeral-temporal concurrence of numbers, words and colour in architectures, where proprioception, projective geometries and coloured shadows construct ‘non-qualities’ of time and space. Barbara is an architect, editor of An Engineer Imagines by Peter Rice (1995), author of Paris (1997) and John Lautner: Disappearing Space (1999/2005); she has taught at University College London, the Royal College of Art and at the Architectural Association. Her studio is part of the Campbell-Lange Workshop.

Melissa Chia
Melissa Chia is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of English. Her research interests include twentieth and twenty-first century drama and culture, with special focus on British theatre. She is currently working on aspects of memory and the archive in Samuel Beckett’s performative works. She has acted as dramaturge with the international theatre company Cheek by Jowl in their production of Cymbeline (2007) and was part of the team producing the Barbican’s educational package for the play. Prior to joining the PhD programme, she worked as a journalist at Reuters and was an editor at McGraw-Hill.

David Grundy
David Grundy is working on a PhD at the University of Cambridge, concerning collectivity in African-American poetry. He co-edits the poetry/prose/polemics publication series Materials.

Ellie Lavan
Ellie Lavan is a PhD candidate based in the English Faculty. Her thesis considers conceptions of circus in Irish literature and culture from the eighteenth century to the present day. This research reflects broader interests in social history, philosophy and the theatre of everyday life. Ellie joined Cambridge after a year as a Fulbright postgraduate scholar at New York University and undergraduate study at King’s College London. She has published both academic and creative writing and her journalism is award-winning: in 2006 she was the youngest finalist in the Vogue Young Talent Competition, and her entry ultimately placed third. Ellie has also enjoyed success as an actress and as a producer of theatre and film, founding production company Sidelong Glance in 2008.

Emma Notfors
Emma Notfors is a PhD student at King’s College, where she completed the MPhil in Criticism and Culture in 2012. Her doctoral research is about depictions of the Arabian Desert in literature and film, starting with Gertrude Bell and T.E. Lawrence and ending with engagements with the 1990-1991 Gulf War and the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the insurgency that followed. Emma is particularly interested in problems of self-representation against the perceived strangeness of the desert in the memoirs and travelogues that make up her primary texts.

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