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Gheorghe Williams

Drama and Theatre Studies, University of Birmingham

Thesis title:

British Political Theatre and the Gothic Mode (2000-2022)

My research focuses on the conventions, theories and histories of Gothic performance, though I am particularly interested in contemporary drama and theatre. My doctoral thesis examines the politicality of Gothic drama in the twenty-first century. I examine Gothic stage spectacles and more intimate ghost plays alongside the dramas of emerging and established playwrights (including Caryl Churchill, Mike Bartlett, debbie tucker green, Stef Smith, Dennis Kelly, Jasmine Lee-Jones and Martin McDonagh, among others); and the work of theatre companies such as Imitating The Dog, DARKFIELD and Proper Job Theatre Co.

Drawing from MaryBeth Inverso’s early critical study of The Gothic Impulse in Contemporary Drama (1990), I use Sarah Grochala’s recent study of contemoprary political playwriting structures (what she calls ‘liquid dramaturgies’) to propose a new theoretical framework for the analysis of post-millennial Gothic theatre. Using four critical lenses (Ecogothic, Queer Gothic, Post/Feminist Gothic, and Postcolonial Gothic), I argue that the forms, ideologies and effects of Gothic drama have more in common with current models of political dramaturgy than is presently recognised.

My broader research interests include queer theory/drama, ecocriticism and ecocdramaturgy, contemporary playwriting and popular theatre.

Research Area

  • Drama and Theatre Studies


Book Chapters

  • Williams, G. 'Undeath, Theatricality, and the Ecogothic in DC Moore's Common (2017)'. in The Anthropocene and the Undead: Cultural Anxieties in the Contemporary Popular Imagination, ed. Simon Bacon (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2022).

Book Reviews

  • Williams, G. 'Review: Gothic Utterance: Voice, Speech and Death in the American Gothic by Jimmy Packham (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2021)'. Revenant, 'Contemporary Legends' Special Issue (forthcoming 2022).
  • Williams, G. 'Review: EcoGothic Gardens in the Long Nineteenth Century: Phantoms, Fantasy and Uncanny Flowers, ed. Sue Edney (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2020)'. Gothic Nature Journal, issue 3 (forthcoming 2022).

Stage Reviews


  • '"It's not the animals drawing blood": Staging the Ecogothic in Stef Smith's Human Animals', Drama and Theatre Arts Virtual PGR Symposium, University of Birmingham (3 June 2020).
  • 'Dorian Gray's Anatomy: Augmented Masculinities and Mental Health in Proper Job Theatre Company's Adaptation of Dorian Gray'Reimagining the Gothic 2020: Bodies and Genders, Sheffield University (accepted May 2020; postponed due to COVID-19).
  • 'Gothic Dramaturgy: Mary Shelley as Spectral Dramatist in Rona Munro's Adaptation of Frankenstein'Progressive Connexions: Spirituality and the Supernatural, February 2021 (Online).
  • 'Performing the Unspeakable: Gothic Theatricalities as a Language for Communicating the Aftermath of Sexual Trauma', Gothic Spectacle and Spectatorship, Lancaster University (1 June 2019).
  • Panel Chair, 'The Gothic, Truth and Control', Gothflix, Lancaster University, 1-2 February 2020
  • Panel Chair, 'Music and Society', Midlands4Cities Digital Research Festival, 13-14 July 2020
  • Panel Chair, 'New Approaches to Jazz Studies', Midlands4Cities Digital Research Festival, 13-14 July 2020
  • Panel Chair, 'Historical Theatre and Performance Cultures', Midlands Network of Popular Culture: Midlands Academic Lecture series, 2 December 2020
  • Panel Chair, 'Otherness, Healing and Community', Progressive Connexions: Spirituality and the Supernatural, 20-21 February 2020

Public Engagement & Impact

Research featured in the Westmere Images of Research 2019 Exhibition: 'Gothic Theatre Audiences', and a spectral photograph taken from the stalls in a 2019 production of William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist.

Other Research Interests

As well as Gothic Theatre, I enjoy studying literary and cinematic Gothic/Horror, particularly in relation to the Posthuman. More widely, I am interested in Practice-as-Research pedagogies, theatre-making in education, and the applications of theatre/live performance to social and cultural progress for the LGBTQIA+ communities.


  • International Gothic Association (IGA)
  • The Society for Theatre Research (STR)

Other Activities

  • Co-Founder and Administrator/Co-Treasurer (2020-2021), Midlands Network of Popular Culture
  • Birmingham University SAF Representative (2020-2021), Midlands4Cities Student Advisory Forum
  • Co-Organiser of Creative Showcase, Midlands4Cities 2020 Digital Research Festival
  • Drama Editor (2018-2019), The Bubble Durham


I teach on the first year Undergraduate module 'Landmarks in Theatre and Performance' at the University of Birmingham Drama department. As well as leading weekly seminars, I also contribute the final lecture of the module (Autumn term, 2022/23) on popular theatre, canonicity and the Gothic.

I have also worked as a hybrid classroom assistant on the second-year module '21st Century British Theatre'.

Outside of the University, I have worked as a GCSE English tutor with the Brilliant Club National Tutoring Programme, teaching classes on Victorian literature, creative writing and non-fiction writing.