P5FK_JJU_400x400Hello! I’m Dr Sophie Duncan, a theatre historian and literary critic based at Magdalen College, in the University of Oxford.

My next book, Searching for Juliet, examines the lives, deaths, and afterlives of Shakespeare’s first tragic heroine – the bravest, most fascinating teenager ever created for the English stage. You can pre-order it now, in both the UK edition and US edition! 

My previous books include Shakespeare’s Props: Memory and Cognition, the first full-length study of props in Shakespeare’s plays to explore them through Renaissance and twenty-first-century understandings of the brain. It’s a book about memory, grief, pies that go splat and glass that breaks – with all the usual skulls, handkerchiefs, and letters along the way. It is possibly the only book on Shakespeare to also discuss Call The Midwife, Derren Brown, and Daniel Radcliffe. Blog readers can get 20% off from Routledge with the code HUM19.

My first book, Shakespeare’s Women and the Fin de Sièclewas published by Oxford University Press in 2016, and illuminates how late nineteenth-century actresses’ iconoclastic performances of Shakespeare’s heroines shifted British culture.

If you’d like to hear me talking about my research, why not listen to my episode of BBC Radio 3’s The Essay, on ‘Shakespeare and the suffragettes’? Or you can find me on Radio 4, talking about Pygmalion and gender equality with playwright Laura Wade. On an entirely different note, you can also hear me talking about why tragedy is good for you (spoiler: endorphins) on the BBC World Service.

With Jay Gilbert, I founded and co-edit The Banshee, the leading journal for women who scream. Issue 2, HAUNTING, is available now.

I very much enjoy giving talks to schools and other organisations – find out more about how I could work with your organisation here.

9781911384861I was also the academic lead on the National Trust’s 2018 National Public Programme, Women and Power

Beyond Shakespeare, my research specialisms include the performance of race, gender, and sexuality on the British stage; women and theatre; Early Modern theatrical memory, cognitive approaches to theatre, ageing in theatre, Oscar Wilde, women’s performance, and the life of Ira Aldridge, the first African American actor to succeed in Europe. I have a longstanding relationship with Lolita Chakrabarti’s award-winning play Red Velvet, acting as historical advisor for both the original Tricycle run and its West End transfer. I continue to work regularly as an historical advisor and dramaturg for radio, theatre, and television.

I live in Oxford and am married to Emily. You can contact me here, or via my agent, Georgina Capel.

20 thoughts on “About

  1. You left a comment on the Queer Eye Candy wondering if all the commenters know each other.. some of us do, sort of. I know roxy, of course, she and I are long distance lovers. Sinclair I know through his blog and through email correspondence and twitter. Ditto for Tina, Panthera Pardus, Essin’ Em and Greg.. just a big happy bloggin, twitterin family I guess 🙂

    Thanks for your comments on the pictures


  2. Hello,

    This is Rose writing from http://www.huliq.com. I visited your blog and liked your content.

    Would you be interested to send us a guest post on any of the issues related to the topics that you cover in your blog. We will publish it in our site http://www.huliq.com

    In return with each guest blog we will give one link in the author’s biline back to your blog. We only ask that the guest post ( we prefer it be a news coverage, sources can be Google News, CNN, MSNBC, Yahoo News, BBC and others) be a unique story and not be published in your blog.

    HULIQ is indexed by Google News and Google requires that the length of the unique news is at least 5 paragraphs. We desire it to be at least 6 paragraphs if possible. And that all need to be a unique content. Once you send us a new story totally unique we will immediately publish it with you link in it, and within 15 minutes it should be indexed by Google News.

    Please let me know if you may have any questions about http://www.huliq.com.

    If you want to consult the topic with me first that’s perfectly fine as well.

    Many thanks


  3. I found your information re Sir George Alexander very interesting as my grandmother was his half sister. My grandmother had kept various pieces of memorabilia, which I have. I did not know about Hugh Laurie being related to Sir George, but I will look at my family Bible that has our family tree to work out if this is correct.


    1. Thank you so much for commenting! I’d be fascinated to hear more about what you discover. What memorabilia do you have? Please do drop me an email if you’d prefer.


      1. I am sorry I have replied so long after your post. I lost this site…I do have various things that may be of interest..Including portraits of George Alexander’s Mother and father..
        Please email me if you are still interested.Best wishes Lulu


    1. Hi! In principle, I’d be delighted except your link doesn’t seem to be working. Could you resend it? The title sounds very interesting, so once I’ve had a look I’d be happy to send you my details.




    1. Great news, have just emailed. Thanks!

      Your email did show, so have nix’d your other comment to save you from spambots. I look forward to hearing from you.


  4. Sophie,

    This is not the place for this, but would you contact me as I am very keen for you to do some tutoring for my daughter sarah. Can you email me s.margetson at yahoo co uk

    sorry to “pester” you like this but Sarah (my daughter) needs your help

    PS: This is a great blog by the way!


  5. Hi Sophie,

    Misfit Inc and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust are running the Happy Birthday Shakespeare project again this year, please drop me an email so I can let you know the details. We’d love to have you involved again this year as your 2011 post was fabulous!

    Hope you’re well,

    All the best,

    Jessie White


    1. Hi Jessie,

      For some reason your email isn’t showing up, but mine is sophievduncan [at] gmail [dot] com! Look forward to hearing from you, and thanks for thinking of me.


  6. Hi Sophie,

    My name is Anuj Agarwal. I’m Founder of Feedspot.

    I would like to personally congratulate you as your blog CLAMOROUS VOICE has been selected by our panelist as one of the Top 30 Shakespeare Blogs on the web.


    I personally give you a high-five and want to thank you for your contribution to this world. This is the most comprehensive list of Top 30 Shakespeare Blogs on the internet and I’m honored to have you as part of this!

    Also, you have the honor of displaying the badge on your blog.



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