Dr Kathryn Kate Flaherty

PhD (English) Sydney; MA (Theatre Studies) Leeds; BA Hons (English) Sydney
Senior Lecturer in English and Drama
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
T: +612 6125 7024

Areas of expertise

  • Literary Studies 2005
  • Drama, Theatre And Performance Studies 190404

Research interests

What in the world do plays do? What happens when imaginative plots touch our present concerns through the embodied experience of performers and audiences? With Shakespeare as an expansive test case, I investigate how plays play on the stage of public culture.  My book, Ours as we play it: Australia plays Shakespeare, examines contemporary Australian performance. Other research treats educational applications of Shakespeare since the advent of English curricula at school and university. Recent publications analyse theatrical rivalry, the agency of the touring actress, civic disorder, sectarian tension, and military commemoration through their involvement with Shakespeare in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Australia. One of my current projects is an international and interdisciplinary collaboration called 'Reading Riot through Shakespeare'. In it we aim for an improved understanding of riot by learning more about the affective and performative dynamics it shares with theatre in the long and colourful history of Shakespeare-associated public disturbances. The monograph on which I am currently working is Moving Women: The Touring Actress and the Politics of Modernity. 


Researcher's projects

Moving Women: The Touring Actress and the Politics of Modernity

Actresses were the first class of female workers to travel on a global scale. In the nineteenth century, the scale of their experience of public life put pressure on emerging definitions of the female 'role'. However actresses are rarley regarded as major players in the political scene. This book will reveal the  ways in which touring actresses engaged through their repertoires and their writing with the politics of labour, suffrage, gender and abolition.


Reading Riot through Shakespeare

How is a riot begun? Structured? Spread? The Reading Riot through Shakespeare Project will contribute new answers to these urgent question. Its international, inter-disciplinary team of researchers are using Shakespeare-associated riots to better understand the imaginative and performative dynamics of public disorder. 

Current student projects

Luisa Moore (PhD candidate)

Textual Critique Through the Artist's Eye: John Austen's Illustrated Hamlet

This project explores the way in which the non-verbal, non-explicit mode of interpretation afforded by visual art allows a kind of free play to potetntially subversive interpretations of characters' implied interiority in Shakespeare. It takes John Austen's highly aesthetic art-nouveau illustrated edition of Hamlet (1922) as its case study. 

Judi Wilkins (PhD candidate)

Shakespeare’s ‘she wolves’: [Mis] representations of female characters in the First Tetralogy

The aim of this project is to examine, explicate and re-evaluate the reception of the female characters in the First Tetralogy - Henry VI Parts 1 2 3 and Richard III - by examinining their historical and cultural backgrounds and by evaluating their interpretion on film and television from the early 1960s until 2016.


Past student projects

Elizabeth Beaton PhD 

The Shakespearean Political Influence in Epic Fantasy

This project comprising a novel plus exegesis was completed in 2015. Dr Beaton is in the process of seeking publication for her novel - The Councillor


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Updated:  02 June 2023 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers