UCL English


Dr Emma Whipday

Email: emma.whipday.10@ucl.ac.uk

External phone: 020 7679 1317

Internal phone: 31317

Office: Foster Court 213

Dr Emma Whipday


Education and Experience 

Dr Emma Whipday is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at UCL, working on brother-sister relationships on the early modern stage. Emma was educated at her local comprehensive, The Minster School in Southwell. She studied English Language and Literature at Oxford as an undergraduate, before studying for an MA in ‘English: Shakespeare in History’ and a PhD on ‘Shakespeare’s Domestic Tragedies: Disrupted Homes on the Early Modern Page, Stage and Street’ at UCL. She has taught at UCL, King’s College London, Shakespeare’s Globe, the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, and Brasenose College, Oxford.

Research Interests

Emma is interested in family, gender, and power on the early modern stage, and in early modern popular culture more broadly. Her current project explores the cultural importance of the brother-sister relationship, and how it intersects with issues of patriarchal power, female agency, domestic authority, and the place of the unmarried woman in early modern society. Emma’s research to date focuses on the political significance of household dynamics; the generic expectations that shape texts; and the interplay between performers, playing spaces and audiences on the early modern stage and street.

Emma’s doctoral thesis explored the relationship between Shakespeare’s tragedies and the genre of domestic tragedy, a group of plays that explore disruption and death in early modern non-elite households.  In situating Shakespeare’s tragedies in the context of portrayals of the disrupted home in domestic tragedy; Emma argues that in Hamlet, Othello, and Macbeth, Shakespeare creates new versions of domestic tragedy, using heightened language, foreign settings, and elite spheres to stage familiar domestic worlds. Emma is preparing her monograph, Shakespeare’s Violent Homes: Transforming Domestic Tragedy, for publication.

Emma is interested in exploring performance practice as research as an approach to early modern drama; at UCL, she has directed a Jacobean-style production of Samuel Daniel’s closet drama The Tragedie of Cleopatra (2013), and a cue-script performance of ‘The Tragedy of Thomas Merry’ from Robert Yarington’s Two Lamentable Tragedies (2014). She has also directed a performance of Ben Jonson’s Masque of Queens at New College Chapel in Oxford, as well as a number of practice as research workshops for the Wellcome Trust, the London Renaissance Seminar, and the King’s College London Shakespeare400 celebrations. She has recently collaborated with Sarah Lewis on a ‘Research in Action’ workshop at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse for Shakespeare’s Globe.

Emma is also a playwright; her play Shakespeare’s Sister is published and licensed by Samuel French, and premieres at the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Virginia, in February 2017. She is Associate Writer for Oxford-based theatre company Reverend Productions.


Shakespeare’s Sister (London: Samuel French, 2016)

Articles and Chapters in Books

‘Daniel’s Cleopatra and Lady Anne Clifford: From a Jacobean Portrait to Modern Performance’, with Helen Hackett and Yasmin Arshad, Early Theatre 18.2, 2015

‘“Marrow-prying neighbours”: Staging domestic space and neighbourhood surveillance in Arden of Faversham’, Cahiers Élisabéthains 88, Oct 2015

‘“The Picture of a Woman”: Roaring Girls and Alternative Histories in the RSC 2014 Season’, Shakespeare 11.3, Sep 2015

‘“A True Reporte”: News and the Neighbourhood in Early Modern Domestic Murder Texts’, in Simon Davies and Puck Fletcher (eds), News in Early Modern Europe (Leiden: Brill, 2014)


Lady Jane Lumley’s Iphigenia at Aulis dir. Emma Rucastle, Early Modern Women 9, 2014