Dr Matthew Wagner

Research Interests

My research is focused primarily on Shakespearean dramaturgy and stage praxis, but it reaches also into the 20th and 21st centuries, particularly in respect to theatrical temporality, the theatre of Beckett and his contemporaries, and questions of embodiment and spatiality in theatre and performance. More broadly, nearly all my research activity is underpinned by a fascination with the relationship between phenomenology and theatre. Current projects include a British Academy funded investigation into the nature of the Door in performance, co-editing a collection of essays on phenomenology and performance, and the development of a manuscript on the phenomenology of Shakespeare.


THE3025/3026 Company
THE3024 Dramaturgy
THE3009 Dissertation
THE1022 The Theatrical Text
THE1023/1024 Theatre Project

Departmental Duties

Subject Leader, Theatre
Programme Director, BA Theatre Studies


Contact Me

Phone: 01483 68 6508

Find me on campus
Room: 05 NC 01

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Journal articles

  • Wagner MD. (2014) 'Wheresoever the Body Is -- Image, Matter and Corporeality on Shakespeare's Stage'. Early Modern Research Group / The Bergen Shakespeare and Drama Network Early Modern Culture Online, 5 (1), pp. 11-30.
  • Wagner MD, Redmond S. (2007) ''The Eye of the Beckettian Present''. Screening the Past, (21)
  • Wagner MD, Danowski C. (2005) '“Hearing Ghosts and Speaking Spaces: A Conversation with Performance”'. Text and Performance Quarterly,
  • Wagner MD. (1998) '“Construction Work: London’s New Globe and the Building of Theatre History”'. Theatre InSight,

Conference papers

  • Wagner MD. (2015) 'Performance Philosophy'.
  • Wagner MD. (2014) ''This is the door': Possibilities and Pragmatics of Studying the Door in Performance'.
  • Wagner MD. (2014) ''I Like Your Silence': Absent Words (and) Present Bodies'. Stirling, Scotland: British Shakespeare Association
  • Wagner MD. (2013) '“Ere I Go: Time, Space, and the Act of Leaving in King Lear.”'. Birkbeck, University of London: Exiturus: In Between Times and Spaces on the Early Modern Stage
  • Wagner MD. (2013) '“Wheresoever the Body Is – Matter and Corporeality on Shakespeare’s Stage”'. Aarhus University, Denmark: The Body: Materiality and Meaning
  • Wagner MD. (2013) '“A Phenomenology of the Shakespearean Body”'. University of Surrey: What Is Performance Philosophy?
  • Wagner MD. (2012) '“Wheresoever the Body Is – Image, Matter, and Corporeality on Shakespeare’s Stage”'. Boston, USA: Shakespeare Association of America
  • Wagner MD. (2012) '“Bodying Forth: Shakespeare and Stage Materiality.”'. British Shakespeare Association
  • Wagner MD. (2009) '“In This Good Time: Temporal Connections Between Shakespeare’s Late Romances and The History of Cardenio.”'. Victoria University of Wellington: Cardenio Collquium
  • Wagner MD. (2007) '“The Traffic of the Stage: Shakespeare, Time, and Performance.”'. Phoenix, AZ: American Society for Theatre Research
  • Wagner MD. (2005) '“Just War Theory by William Shakespeare.”'. Newcastle: British Shakespeare Association


  • Wagner M. (2011) Shakespeare, Theatre, and Time. Abingdon, Oxon, UK : Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group


    That Shakespeare thematized time thoroughly, almost obsessively, in his plays is well established: time is, among other things, a 'devourer' (Love's Labour's Lost), one who can untie knots (Twelfth Night), or, perhaps most famously, simply ‘out of joint’ (Hamlet). Yet most critical commentary on time and Shakespeare tends to incorporate little focus on time as an essential - if elusive - element of stage praxis. This book aims to fill that gap; Wagner's focus is specifically performative, asking after time as a stage phenomenon rather than a literary theme or poetic metaphor. His primary approach is phenomenological, as the book aims to describe how time operates on Shakespearean stages. Through philosophical, historiographical, dramaturgical, and performative perspectives, Wagner examines the ways in which theatrical activity generates a manifest presence of time, and he demonstrates Shakespeare’s acute awareness and manipulation of this phenomenon. Underpinning these investigations is the argument that theatrical time, and especially Shakespearean time, is rooted in temporal conflict and ‘thickness’ (the heightened sense of the present moment bearing the weight of both the past and the future). Throughout the book, Wagner traces the ways in which time transcends thematic and metaphorical functions, and forms an essential part of Shakespearean stage praxis.

Book chapters

  • Wagner MD. (2012) 'In This Good Time: Cardenio and the Temporal Character of Shakespearean Drama'. in Carnegie D, Taylor G (eds.) The Quest for Cardenio Oxford : Oxford University Press
  • Wagner MD. (2008) 'A King(dom) for a Stage: The War Body In and As Performance'. in Redmond S, Randell K (eds.) The War Body on Screen Bloomsbury Publishing Article number 3

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