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Maggie Gale


  • Professor of Drama, Drama

Personal profile

Research interests

Recent publications include the monograph A Social History of British Performance Cultures 1900-1939: citizenship, surveillance and the body (2020, Routledge); and with Kate Dorney, Vivien Leigh: Actress and Icon (2018) and Stage Women 1900-1950: female theatre workers and professional practice (2019, both Manchester University Press). These are major edited collections which re-read the working lives and cultural significance of female playwrights, producers and actresses across stage and screen. I have written on theatre and performance historiography and on the work of the Magdalena Project as well as on women's activist performance. I am currently working on research projects on melodrama, theatre and WW1; performance research methodologies; modernism, feminism and performance and on the working life of Elsa Lanchester - better known as 'the bride of Frankenstein'.


I came to the University of Manchester in 2005 as the Chair in Drama. I was Head of Drama from 2010-2014. From 2014-2017 I worked on a project funded by a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship, the end result of which was a monograph for Routledge, A Social History of British Performance Cultures 1900-1939: citizenship, surveillance and the body. Making use of popular magazines, trade journals, autobiographies, organisational records and archive holdings as well as plays, sketches and performances, the book explores the relationship between experience, social change and the transformation of the performance industries during this period of political upheaval. Other recent publications also make use of archival materials to re-read the professional lives of mid-twntieth century actresses and playwrights largely working for the commercial theatre. I am a series co-editor of three major research series with UK publishers - Theatre: Theory – Practice – Performance (Manchester University Press); Routledge Modern and Contemporary Dramatists (Routledge), and Women, Theatre and Performance (Manchester University Press). I am also a co-editor of of the journal Contemporary Theatre Review (Routledge). I was the Chair and a founder member of TaPRA (Theatre and Performance Research Association), the inaugural conference of which was held at the University of Manchester in 2005, and I have served on three RAE/REF panels in 2001/2008 and 2014.  I am currently the Director of Research for the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures here at the University of Manchester.


Supervision areas:

I welcome postgraduate applications for research in the following areas.

  • Gender and Performance
  • Autobiography and Performance
  • Actresses and Female Performers
  • Women Playwrights
  • Aspects of Twentieth Century British Theatre - popular or commercial
  • Theatre History and Historiography

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality


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