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Mary Luckhurst

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Name  Mary Luckhurst

Role  Playwright

Books  Dramaturgy, Caryl Churchill
Education  London School of Economics and Political Science, Murray Edwards College

Mary Luckhurst is Professor in Modern Drama at the University of York. She is also a playwright and director.



Luckhurst was educated at New Hall, Cambridge, reading French and German, and the London School of Economics. In the 1980s she was in Cambridge running a ground-breaking new-writing group, Playwrights in Anglia, and worked as a playwright, director, producer and dramaturg. In the early 1990s she was appointed Lecturer in Drama and Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University, where a teaching partnership with John Singleton produced the Creative Writing Handbook (Palgrave 1996; 2nd ed. 2000). She returned to Cambridge to complete doctoral studies under Peter Holland and Anne Barton.

Appointed Lecturer in Drama at the University of York in 1998, Luckhurst founded the Writing and Performance initiative with [Professor Michael Cordner] and together they created the nationally recognised BA in Writing, Directing and Performance and the MA in Theatre: Writing, Directing and Performance. Both degree programmes offer students the chance to develop as both researchers and theatre practitioners.

A string of publications, beginning with co-edited volumes of interviews with actors and directors that put theatre-makers at the centre of academic enquiry, and expanding through combative essays on individual dramatists and an edited collection on theatre and celebrity, culminated in 2005–2006 in publication of her doctoral monograph and editorship of the new Blackwell Companion to Modern British and Irish Drama. As this volume seeks to re-shape the modern teaching canon, so the monograph—Dramaturgy: A Revolution in Theatre—breaks new historical ground. The whole work is potentially of importance across the disciplines of literature and theatre studies, and the chapter on Brecht’s theories and practices of dramaturgy is developed in the 2nd edition of the Cambridge Companion to Brecht (2007). In 2006 she successfully competed for a University of York teaching award, and for a Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy [1] – both awarded in recognition of her international contributions to drama teaching and research. In 2007 she was promoted to Professor of Drama. Luckhurst is also a series editor for Routledge’s new Modern and Contemporary Dramatists.

She has developed a directorial and dramaturgic practice connecting University drama with the City of York that has produced memorable and widely acclaimed productions of Martin Crimp’s dark and fragmentary fable Attempts on Her Life (Dixon Drama Studio, 2002, Caryl Churchill’s bleak investigation of refugees, Far Away (York Theatre Royal, 2005) and Mad Forest (York Theatre Royal, 2006). Her comedy reviews, directed with Mike Cordner, have proved big local hits and have spawned the popular Comedy Lab.

Luckhurst’s plays include The Woman of Shallott (Cambridge 1990), translations of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing’s Emilia Galotti (London, 1993) and Elisabeth Bouchaud's A Contre-Voix (London, 1994), and Kretschmer's Diary (Prague, 1999).


  • Playing for Real: Actors on Playing Real People. Co-editor with Tom Cantrell. (Palgrave, 2010)
  • The Creative Writing Handbook. Co-editor with John Singleton. (Palgrave, 1996; 2nd edition, 1999) ISBN 0-333-79226-2
  • On Directing: Interviews with Directors. Co-editor with Gabriella Giannachi. (Faber & St Martin's Griffin, 1999) ISBN 0-312-22483-4
  • On Acting: Interviews with Actors. Co-editor with Chloe Veltman. (Faber, 2001) ISBN 0-571-20656-5
  • The Drama Handbook : A Guide to Reading Plays. With John Lennard. (OUP, 2002) ISBN 0-19-870070-9
  • Theatre and Celebrity, 1660–2000. Co-editor with Jane Moody. (Palgrave, 2005)
  • Dramaturgy: A Revolution in Theatre (CUP, 2005) ISBN 0-521-84963-2
  • A Companion to Modern British and Irish Drama 1880–2005. Editor. (Blackwell, 2006) ISBN 1-4051-2228-5
  • A Concise Companion to Contemporary Drama in Britain and Ireland. Co-editor with Nadine Holdsworth. (Blackwell, 2007).
  • 'Julia Pascal's Theresa: Guernsey, the Holocaust, and Theatre Censorship in the 1990s' in Edward Batley & David Bradby, eds, Morality and Justice: the Challenge of European Theatre (Rodopi, 2001)
  • 'An Embarrassment of Riches: Women Dramatists in the 1990s' in Bernhard Reitz & Mark Berninger., eds, British Drama of the 1990s (Universitatsverlag Winter, 2002)
  • 'Political Point-scoring: Martin Crimp's Attempts on her Life' in Contemporary Theatre Review 13.1 (2003)
  • 'Selling-(Out) to the English: Martin McDonagh's Lieutenant of Inishmore' in Contemporary Theatre Review 14.4 (2004)
  • ‘A Wounded Stage: Drama and World War One’ in the Blackwell Companion to Modern British and Irish Drama 1880–2005 (Blackwell, 2006) ISBN 1-4051-2228-5
  • ‘Torture in the Plays of Harold Pinter’ in the Blackwell Companion to Modern British and Irish Drama 1880–2005 (Blackwell, 2006) ISBN 1-4051-2228-5
  • ‘Revolutionising theatre: Brecht's reinvention of dramaturgy’ in Peter Thomson & Glendyr Sacks, eds, The Cambridge Companion to Brecht (2nd ed., CUP, 2007)
  • Luckhurst also translated (with Gabriella Giannachi and John Lennard) Laura Curino’s performance-text Passione, as Passion, in Lizbeth Goodman, ed., Mythic Women/Real Women: Plays and Performance Pieces by Women (Faber, 2000). ISBN 0-571-19140-1


    Mary Luckhurst Wikipedia

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