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Dr Rebecca Benzie

Honorary Research Fellow

My research explores how history is used within contemporary society and the gender politics of representations of the past, with a particular focus on new playwriting, theatre institutional identity, and acts of commemoration.

I joined the University of Exeter as a member of teaching staff in 2018 following the completion of an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded PhD at the university. Experience as a theatre practitioner and dramaturg, specialising in devised theatre and textual adaptation, shapes my research and teaching of both theory and practice.

In 2019 I collaborated with the University of York on a pedagogical research project titled ‘Reinventing the Lecture Using a Creative Practice Model’. The project investigated how theories of theatre studies can be used to explore lectures as a live event in order to create more inclusive and interactive learning environments. In addition, I have teaching experience from Oxford Brookes University and Bath Spa University.

I am currently working on my first monograph titled Feminism, Dramaturgy and the Contemporary British History Play contracted to be part of Bloomsbury’s Engage series. Building on my PhD research, the book is a feminist intervention into the dramaturgy of newly written history plays in contemporary British theatre investigating work produced at major theatres from 2000-the present. In addition, my research interests include performance and commemoration particularly concerning the Suffrage Movement and acts of remembrance connected to the First World War. On this topic, I have a chapter forthcoming in the Cambridge Companion to First World War Theatre.

Research interests

Twenty-first century new playwriting

Feminism and dramaturgy

The contemporary history play

Feminist performance analysis

Community commemoration and performance

Centenary and anniversary performance work

British theatre institutions and their wider socio-cultural contexts

External impact and engagement

Public Engagement Publications:

Benzie, R. (2019) ‘Try Not to Make a Mess When You Smash That Window In Protest.’ In: Williams, N. (ed.) Staging Gendered Violence, Howlround Theatre Commons [Online].

Benzie, R. (2020) 'Take Time Out Today to Remember', Western Morning News, 11th November, p. 15.

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