I am a Marie Skłowdowska-Curie Research Fellow in the School of Arts, English, and Languages here at Queen’s. I’m a graduate of the Drama programmes at the University of Galway (BA (Hons) and PhD), and also hold an MA in Shakespeare and Theatre (with Distinction) from the Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham. Previously I was a Lecturer in Drama and Theatre Studies at Galway, and I’ve also taught at UCD and Trinity College Dublin.
I’m an early modernist by trade: I am a theatre historian and a scholar of contemporary performance. My work focuses on Shakespeare and early modern performance studies: focusing on how such performance is informed by and disrupts cultural politics, sexual, and gender norms. Most of my research focuses on this in an Irish (and therefore postcolonial) context, but I’m broadly interested in the politics of the Shakespeare theatre and adaptation industry as a whole. I am also interested in theatre and celebrity; the histories of actors, acting, and acting practices; theatre histories and historiographies; gender and sexuality studies; and contemporary Irish and British performance.
At Queen’s, I am working on the project ‘Shakespeare and the Irish Actor’ (SIA). This project brings together and evaluates the contributions and achievements of Irish actors across hundreds of years of Shakespeare performance on screen and stage in Ireland, North America and Europe. ‘Shakespeare and the Irish Actor’ reappraises the histories of so-called Great Shakespeareans (including Kenneth Branagh, Peter O’Toole, and Fiona Shaw) through the lens of Irishness. It explores the global history of Irish actors performing Shakespeare and, moving between stage, screen and digital forms, brings to light an unrecognised performance archive and a hidden history.
My monograph, Irish Shakespeares: Gender, Sexuality, and Performance in the Twenty-First Century, is forthcoming from Routledge. This book explores contemporary Irish Shakespeare performance’s relationship with notions and constructions of gender and sexuality in Irish culture and society. As well as this and SIA, I’m also at work on the edited collection The Idea of the Shakespearean Actor (with Sally Barnden and Miranda Fay Thomas). I am also developing work on Shakespeare at Dublin’s Gate Theatre, bisexual performance studies, and the insertion of gendered violence in modern versions of Hamlet.
Education2014-2018: PhD candidate and IRC Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholar, NUI Galway. Passed without corrections.
2012-2013: MA in Shakespeare and Theatre with Distinction, The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham.
2008-2012: Double First Class Honours in English and History with Theatre and Performance, NUI Galway.
Emer McHugh, Irish Shakespeares: Gender, Sexuality, and Performance in the Twenty-First Century (Routledge, expected 2023).
Sally Barnden, Emer McHugh, and Miranda Fay Thomas, eds., The Idea of the Shakespearean Actor (proposal in progress, chapters in progress, intended submission to Bloomsbury/The Arden Shakespeare).
Emer McHugh, ‘Writing (Irish) Histories on the Body: DruidShakespeare, Gender, and the Shakespearean History Play’, Shakespeare Bulletin (forthcoming, 2022).
Emer McHugh, ‘’Tis I, The Hulk’, Borrowers & Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation (forthcoming, 2023).
Delia Jarrett-Macauley, Emer McHugh, and Varsha Panjwani, with Adjoa Andoh and Dona Croll, ‘Richard II at Shakespeare’s Globe 2019: A Collective Perspective’, Otherness: Essays and Studies 8.2 (2021), pp. 13-32.
Emer McHugh, ‘“My tongue will tell the anger of my heart”: staging Irish womanhood at the Globe’, in The Taming of the Shrew: The State of Play, ed. by Heather C. Easterling and Jenny Flaherty (London: Bloomsbury/The Arden Shakespeare, 2021), pp. 144-68.
Emer McHugh, ‘A shared language: placing and displacing Shakespeare in the Irish national theatrical repertoire’, in Negotiating Ireland’s Theatre Archive: Theory, Practice, Performance, ed. by Barry Houlihan (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2019), pp. 123-40.
Emer McHugh, ‘Who Is A Great Shakespearean?’, in Shakespeare/Play, ed. by Emma Whipday (London: Bloomsbury/The Arden Shakespeare, forthcoming).
Emer McHugh, ‘Irish Shakespeare Performance (Faraway, So Close!)’, in Shakespeare and Anti-Fandom, ed. by Kavita Mudan Finn and Johnathan Pope (London: Bloomsbury/The Arden Shakespeare, forthcoming).
MembershipsIrish Renaissance Seminar, 2014-present
European Shakespeare Research Association, 2014-present
British Shakespeare Association, 2014-present
International Shakespeare Association, 2014-present
The Society for Theatre Research, 2015-present
The STR New Researchers’ Network, 2015-present
Shakespeare Association of America, 2015-present
International Federation for Theatre Research, 2017-present