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Ella Hawkins

Job Role: Senior Lecturer in Research and Innovation (Drama)

Department: Drama

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Ella Hawkins is a Shakespeare scholar, design historian, and artist. She completed her first degree in Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Warwick, and then pursued an MA and a PhD at the Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham. Ella’s research interests have always centred on Shakespeare in performance, broadening in recent years to include costume design, dress history, material culture, and musical theatre.

Ella shares her fascination with design by collaborating with arts and heritage organisations, and by creating edible art inspired by historical textiles, objects, and costumes. She has worked with the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, the Royal Shakespeare Company, and Dash Arts on various projects relating to Shakespeare and theatre history. Ella’s public engagement work in biscuit design has attracted coverage from media outlets around the world, including The Washington Post, National Public Radio, ABC Radio Melbourne, the BBC, and Smithsonian magazine.


Ella’s research explores how ideas are communicated through visual elements of performance and culture. Her research monograph, titled Shakespeare in Elizabethan Costume: ‘Period Dress’ in Twenty-First-Century Performance (Bloomsbury, 2022), examines how early modern garments are recycled and reimagined in contemporary costume design for Shakespeare. The book deconstructs the ideas, assumptions, and desires that cluster around the clothing of the early modern period, and demonstrates how these associations have been manipulated by theatre practitioners to shape the meanings of Shakespeare’s plays.

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