Graham Saunders

Colleges, School and Institutes

Research interests

As a ‘dabbler’ my research is focused in a number of areas. Currently, together with colleagues at the Universities of Leeds, Reading and Goldsmith’s College, London in two AHRC research bids. One of these plans to look at the legacies associated with Harold Pinter’s work; the other also looks at legacies, this time focused around the British ‘alternative’ / fringe theatre between 1968-1994, and how current performance practice might beneficially make use of these legacies.

I am currently under commission for Palgrave’s Adaptation and Performance series, (edited by Vicky Angelaki, University of Birmingham and Kara Reilly, Exeter University) to write a monograph entitled, Elizabethan and Jacobean Re-appropriation in Contemporary British Drama: Upstart Crows. My next written project will be to complete an article on a little known short play / sketch by the dramatist Joe Orton called ‘Until She Screams’ and its place within the battle against theatre censorship in Britain during the late 1960s.

Since 2009 I was involved in two major AHRC funded projects:

  • 2009 -2014. Principal Investigator onGiving Voice to the Nation’: the Arts Council of Great Britain & the Development of Theatre & Performance in Britain 1945-1995. This five-year project was awarded £763,000 & involved work on the archive of the Arts Council of Great Britain, housed at the Victoria & Albert Museum’s Theatre Collection. The project employed two post-doctoral researchers (based at the V&A) & two PhD students (who received their doctoral awards in 2015). Co-Investigators were Professor John Bull (University of Reading) & Dr Kate Dorney (V&A (now at Manchester University)).
  • 2012-2015. Co-investigator on Beckett in Performance: Approaches to Directing the Plays of Samuel Beckett in the United Kingdom and Ireland (1955 - 2010) was a cross institutional project (Principal Investigator- Professor Anna McMullan, University of Reading & other Co-Investigator Professor David Pattie at the University of Chester), that made extensive use of existing, but under exploited archives to look at the impact of Beckett’s theatre practice in the UK.

Willingness to take PhD students


PhD projects

Professor Saunders is interested in supervising postgraduate research in any area of British theatre from 1940- present and in particular the work of dramatists. Other interests include the work of the Arts Council of Great Britain 1945-1994 and related issues of funding; British alternative / ‘fringe’ theatre and performance from 1968-1994; Shakespeare and contemporary appropriation of his work; the theatre, television and wireless drama of Samuel Beckett.