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Name: Jodie Marie Smith

PhD: Shakespeare Studies and Early Modern Drama

Thesis Title: The Circulation of Cultural Memory through the Recycling of Stage Properties and Apparel in British Drama: 1580-1642


Thesis Description:

My research examines the significance of the materials of the stage in British drama produced between 1580 and 1642. It investigates the ways in which costumes, properties, and scenery are reused and reinterpreted in different contexts, and the degree to which drama relies on an active cultural memory for its audiences to engage with the prominent visual citations that communicate meaning. That physical entities retain memories of past performances and are thus potent communicators of knowledge becomes evident when studying the sequence of cultural mutations through which stage materials pass as they migrate from play to play, collecting in the process a repository of mnemonic triggers that enable them to function as carriers for ideas to propagate themselves across multiple plays, written by numerous playwrights, and performed in diverse spaces.The shifting meanings with which these materials are invested posits the intersection between materiality and memory as a vital factor in the composition of any new plays and/or revivals. To what extent, I ask throughout my thesis, did Renaissance dramatists and playing companies utilise this complex process of cultural memory to produce and redistribute ideas through modes of non-verbal discourse?

Supervisors and Institution(s):

Dr Martin Wiggins (The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham)

Dr Simon Smith (The Shakespeare Institute and Department of English Literature, University of Birmingham)

Dr Tara Hamling (Department of History, University of Birmingham)


Conference Papers: 




  • "'How many children hast thou, widow?': Shakespeare's Widowed Mothers, Notions of Queenship, and Early Modern Constructions of Femininity", the Nineteenth Annual British Graduate Shakespeare Conference, The Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon

Public Engagement Activities:



Academic Positions:


  • Postgraduate Teaching Associate for Shakespeare and Early Modern Playhouse Culture, The Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-Upon-Avon




  • Postgraduate bursary, British Shakespeare Association



Other Research Interests:

  • Intertheatricality
  • Material culture
  • Visual culture
  • Theatrical and embodied memory


University email address:



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