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Dr Evelyn O'Malley

Senior Lecturer


01392 724776

I joined Drama at Exeter in 2016, having worked as a lecturer in theatre at Falmouth University.

My research interests are within the environmental humanities, with current projects looking at weathering as performance and climate in the theatre. My first monograph Weathering Shakespeare: Audiences and Open-Air Performance (2020) appears in Bloomsbury Academic's Environmental Cultures series. The book won the Association of Literature and Environment (UKI)’s prize for best monograph in ecocriticism and environmental humanities in 2022 and was shortlisted for the Society for Renaissance Studies book award. With Randall Martin, I co-edited a special issue of Shakespeare Bulletin on Eco-Shakespeare in Performance and contributed practice-research to the SSHRC Cymbeline in the Anthropocene project, in partnership with the Willow Globe. 

Building on previous work with Cathy Turner, for an AHRC-funded Creative Peninsula Knowledge Exchange project led by Tom Trevor (Visual Culture). We commissioned two performances to engage with outdoor cultures in the South West and are developing a summit exploring collaborative approaches to ‘place-making’ and culture-led regeneration in Devon and Cornwall.

As part of initiatives funded by the Associate Dean for Research (internal) I have been supporting the creation of a Green Stage space on Streatham Campus, in conjunction with the network O-P-E-N, of which I am a founding member (2022). I also led a project on Reattuning to Environments (2022) that undertook exploratory practice-research workshops: with Exeter Family Orchestra, the local participatory/inclusion arm of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra; and SCATTER, a Southwest-based new-writing ecological musical theatre collective. 

I was principal investigator on a Covid-19 rapid response project funded by the AHRC Outside the Box: Open Air Performance as a Pandemic Response (2021), with Prof. Cathy Turner (Drama) and Tim Coles (Business School). The project worked with civic partners in Exeter and artists across the UK to identify spaces that might be used safely for innovative open-air performance, aligned with the environmental aspiration to Build Back Better in the cultural recovery. 

I led an AHRC engagement project on Singing and Dancing in the Rain: Climate Change as Youth Musical Theatre (2021), collaborating with young people from Doorstep Arts, Torbay and scientists from the Met Office for COP26. 

I was co-investigator on an AHRC-funded project, Atmospheric Theatre: Open-Air Performance and the Environment (2018-2021)led by Chloe Preedy (English), which investigates how attending an open-air dramatic performance might influence playgoers' awareness of their aerial environment. As part of this project we co-edited a special issue of Performance Research journal 'On Air' (2022).

I was co-investigator on the interdisciplinary NERC-funded Climate Stories, led by Prof. Peter Stoff (MET Office Hadley Centre/ Mathematics) using storytelling approaches to science communication with climate scientists and meteorologists.

I work on two projects about the sea on an ongoing basis. 'Taking the Ferry,’ concerns the performance of the Irish sea between Dun Laoghaire and Holyhead as a site for women’s abortion journeys. An article on Taking the Ferry: performing queasy affects through Irish abortion travel in Thorny Island and My Name is Saoirse was published in Contemporary Theater Review (2019). ‘Dancing as the tide comes in,’ is a durational project that considers what it means to keep dancing in response to global sea-level rise, thinking through questions of identity, heritage, and diaspora since the Brexit referendum in the UK in 2016. 

I am Climate Advocate for the Faculty of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, a role I share with John Bolin (English).

I am presently Admissions tutor for Drama.

I have postgraduate research students looking at topics connected to environmental humanities, Shakespeare in performance, musical theatre and open-air performance and would welcome enquiries for possible PhD projects in these areas.

I trained in musical theatre at the Arts Educational Schools, London and practice continues to inform my research and teaching. 

Research through practice

Working with the Willow Globe and University of Exeter Drama students, I am contributing to Randall Martin's Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council project Cymbeline in the Anthropocene, with participants around the world. 

External impact and engagement

External impact and engagement


Contribution to discipline

I am on the editorial board for The Routledge Theatre & Performance Series in Audience Research. 

I have served as peer reviewer for publishers and journals such as Palgrave, Shakespeare Bulletin andStudies in Theatre and Performance. 

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