Professor Claire Cochrane

Claire Cochrane profile image

Professor of Theatre Studies

Theatre, Film & Media Production

Contact Details

tel: 01905 855452

Claire's teaching and research interests range very widely, reflecting her commitment to the creative and social value of all aspects of contemporary theatre practice. As the former Head of Theatre and Performance, she has laid the foundations for the current strengths of the undergraduate courses in public performance, applied theatre and real-world  engagement in the workplace. She mostly teaches text-based drama ranging from Shakespeare, especially in exciting theatre productions, to brand new plays by new British dramatists. She has a particular interest in introducing the work of Black British and British Asian playwrights to students and together with other colleagues, she is currently focused on expanding and diversifying the curriculum.

As a researcher, Claire has published very widely on different aspects of  twentieth and twenty first century theatre practices and audiences right across the UK.  Closer to home, she is the official historian of the Birmingham Repertory Theatre which has provided her with valuable insights into the joys and pressures associated with the work  of a  busy, building-based theatre serving very varied local communities. She is involved in an extensive network of international theatre scholars and has met in cities all over the world to share and discuss theatre history projects and challenges.


  • BA, Exeter University
  • DipEd, Edinburgh University
  • MA and PhD, Birmingham University

Teaching & Research

Modules Taught

  • DRAM1241 Plays and Contexts   
  • DRAM3207 Staging Shakespeare Today 
  • DRAM3208  New Voices in British Theatre

Current research student supervision

Guillaume Foulquie ( PhD) ‘ The Politics of the Body in French and English Performance of Shakespeare’s Histories of Deposition and Regicide 2003-2019’

Alex Brockie ( MPhil)  ‘Representing Living People in Contemporary British Theatre: Questions of Ethics and Legality’

Research interests

I am currently co-editing The Routledge Companion to Twentieth Century British Theatre due to be published in 2023.  This builds on the work of my book Twentieth Century British Theatre:  Industry, Art and Empire published by Cambridge University Press in 2011.  As a member and former convenor of the History and Historiography Working Groups of the International Federation for Theatre Research ( IFTR) and the Theatre and Performance Research Association ( TaPRA) I am regularly engaged in the sharing of projects and discussions about the professional and philosophical practice of theatre history.

In 2015 I and Professor Jo Robinson (now of Newcastle University) published the co-edited Theatre History and Historiography Ethics, Evidence and Truth ( Palgrave Macmillan) and in 2019 the co-edited Methuen Drama Handbook of Theatre History and Historiography which brought together eighteen international  scholars writing about theatre from different national perspectives and  time periods.  I am also series co-editor  with Professor Bruce McConachie ( Pittsburg University) of the  Bloomsbury Cultural Histories of Theatre and Performance

External Responsibilities

Reviews Editor for Theatre Notebook  ( journal of the STR)

Trustee of the Sir Barry Jackson Trust and Chair of the Grants Subcommittee

I have been external examiner for undergraduate courses at Roehampton and  Loughborough Universities and Goldsmiths, University of London; postgraduate courses at Exeter and Birmingham Universities. I regularly act as external examiner for PhD and MPhil theses at a range of universities.

Professional Bodies

  • Member of the Society for Theatre Research (STR)
  • Member of the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR)
  • Member of the Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA)
  • Member of the American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR)
  • Honorary Life Member of the Standing Conference of University Drama Departments (SCUDD)

Selected Publications

Authored books

Shakespeare and the Birmingham Repertory Theatre: 1913-1929, The Society for Theatre Research, 1993

The Birmingham Rep: A City’s Theatre 1962-2002, Sir Barry Jackson Trust, 2003

Twentieth Century British Theatre Industry, Art and Empire, Cambridge University Press, 2011 

Edited Collections

Claire Cochrane & Jo Robinson (eds) Theatre History and Historiography Ethics, Evidence and Truth, Palgrave Macmillan, 2016 

Claire Cochrane & Jo Robinson (eds), The Methuen Drama Handbook of Theatre History and Historiography, Bloomsbury, 2019

Book Chapters

‘Creating Vital Theatre: New Voices in a Time of Transition’ in Gill Plain (ed) British Literature in Transition 1940-1960 Postwar, Cambridge University Press, 2018, pp.313-330

‘Shakespeare  and the Re/Vision of Indian Heritage in the Postcolonial British Context’ in Shormishtha Panja and Babli Moitra Saraf ( eds) Performing Shakespeare in India Exploring Indianness, Literatures and Cultures, SAGE, 2016

 ‘ A City’s Toys: Theatre in Birmingham 1914-1918’ in Andrew Maunder (ed)  British Theatre and the Great War 1914-1919, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015

‘Producing the Scene: The Evolution of the Director in British Theatre 1900-1950’ in Rebecca D’Monte (ed) British Theatre and Performance 1900-1950  Methuen Drama, 2015

‘Engaging the Audience: A Comparative Analysis of Developmental Strategies at Birmingham Rep and Leicester Haymarket Theatre since the 1990s’ in G.Ley and S.Dadswell (eds), Critical Essays on British South Asian Theatre, University of Exeter Press, 2012

‘ Opening Up the Garden: A Comparison of Strategies for Developing Intercultural Access to Theatre in Birmingham and Nottingham’ in The Glory of the Garden: English Regional Theatre and the Arts Council 1984-2009, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, eds.  Kate Dorney and Ros Merkin, 2010

‘“A Local Habitation and a Name”: Developments in Black and Asian Theatre in Birmingham since the 1970s’ in Alternatives Within the Mainstream: British Black and Asian Theatres, Cambridge Scholars Press, ed. Dimple Godiwala, 2006 


‘Sans valeur, sans histoire. Le theatre amateur et l’historien-critique d’art’, trans. Marie-Madeleine Mervant-Roux, Anne Cuisset, Melissa von Drie in le theatre des amateurs un theatre de société(s), Actes du colloque international des 24,25 et 26 Septembre 2004, Le Triangle, Rennes, Théâtres en Bretagne, 2005, pp. 143-149

Journal Articles

‘Theatre and Urban Space: The Case of Birmingham Rep’, New Theatre Quarterly, XVI, Part 2 (NTQ 62),  May 2000, pp.137-147    

‘‘‘Playing the Community”: Reflections on Forced Upon Us and The Wedding Community Play Project’, Irish Theatre Magazine, Vol 2, no.5, Spring 2000, pp.33-39      

‘“It stands for more than theatre”: Claire Cochrane talks to Paul Sutton about the work of C&T’, Studies in Theatre and Performance, Vol 20, no 3, 2000, pp.188-195  

‘“The Pervasiveness of the Commonplace”: The Historian and Amateur Theatre’, in Theatre Research International, Vol 26, no 3, 2001, pp.  233-242

‘“The Contaminated Audience” : Researching  Amateur Theatre in Wales before 1939’, New Theatre Quarterly, XIX, Part 2,  ( NTQ 74) May 2003, pp.169-176 

“Place-Performance Relationships within the English Urban Context: Coventry and the Belgrade Theatre”, Studies in Theatre and Performance, Vol 33, no.3 2013, pp.303-20 

‘Birmingham Rep, Youth and Community and the Products and Possibilities of Precarity’,  Research in Drama Education: Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance 22(1), 2017, pp. 36-49

‘The Haunted Theatre: Birmingham Rep, Shakespeare and European Exchanges’, Cahiers Élisabéthains 96. (1) 2018, pp. 75-88