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School of English and Drama

Dr Penelope Woods, BA (Oxford), MA (Warburg), PhD (QMUL)


Lecturer in Drama



I was born in Kathmandu, Nepal and grew up in Birmingham, UK. I have degrees in English (BA, St John’s College, Oxford), History (MA, Warburg Institute, University of London) and Drama (PhD on audiences and spectatorship, Queen Mary University of London, in collaboration with Shakespeare’s Globe). Between 2012-2015 I held a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions based at the University of Western Australia, and, as a Visiting Fellow in the School of Literature, Arts and Media at the University of Sydney. This interdisciplinary and international educational background underpins my research on cultures of performance and spectatorship through history and around the world.  In 2015 I was appointed as a Lecturer in the Drama Department at Queen Mary University of London. Recently I have been accompanying the Globe to Globe worldwide tour of Hamlet as an audience researcher with the Globe Research Audiences project.

I have published work on the ‘skill’ of spectatorship, the intimacy of the audience experience, audience emotions and facial expressions, diasporic audiences, rehearsal practices and ethnographic work with theatre companies in journals and book collections including Shakespeare Studies, Shakespeare Bulletin and African Theatre, and with Cambridge University Press, Bloomsbury and Ashgate.

Undergraduate Teaching

I have taught on:

  • DRA115: Cultural Histories of Theatre
  • DRA118: Performance Texts in Practice
  • DRA119: Popular Theatre and Performance
  • DRA316: Shakespeare after Shakespeare

Postgraduate Teaching

I have taught on:

  • DRA7009: Early Modern Drama in Performance



‘Shakespeare’s Globe Audiences: Old and New’, in The Cambridge Guide to the Worlds of Shakespeare, Vol. 2 ‘The World’s Shakespeare, 1660 to the present’, ed. by Bruce R. Smith and Katherine Rowe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016)

‘The Play of Looks: Audience and the Force of the Early Modern Face’, in Shakespeare and the Power of the Face, ed. James A. Knapp (Aldershot and Burnham VT: Ashgate, 2015)

'Skilful Spectatorship? Doing (or Being) Audience at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre', Shakespeare Studies, 43 (2015), 99-113

‘The Indoor Theatre Audience: Pity and Wonder’, in Moving Shakespeare Indoors, ed. by Andrew Gurr and Farah Karim-Cooper (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), pp. 152-67

'Pocket Henry V: A Collaborative Debate’, in Shakespeare and Audience in Practice, ed. by Stephen Purcell (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), pp. 159-172

‘The Two Gentlemen of Verona: directed by Arne Pohlmeier for the Two Gents Theatre Company (Harare, Zimbabwe and London, UK)’, in A Year of Shakespeare: Reviewing the World Shakespeare Festival 2012, ed. by Paul Edmondson, Paul Prescott and Erin Sullivan (London: Bloomsbury, 2013), pp. 223-26

'Two Gentlemen of Zimbabwe and their Diaspora Audience', African Theatre 12: Shakespeare in & out of Africa, ed. by Jane Plastow et al. (2013)

'Observations from the Rehearsal Room: Playing Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Shakespeare’s Globe', Shakespeare Bulletin, 30.4 (2012), 565-72

'Frontier Shakespeare and the Feeling of Ownership', Centre for the Histories of Emotion Blog Space, 6 March 2013

Public Engagement