Dr Emma K Cole

FHEA, BA(Syd.), MA(U.C.Lond.), PhD(U.C.Lond.)

    • BS8 1TB

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    Personal profile

    Research interests

    I am a classicist and a theatre and performance studies scholar. My area of expertise lies in the performance of Greek tragedy in contemporary theatre; I have published extensively on this topic, and also worked in collaboration with various theatre companies and practitioners on creative outputs related to the topic. My current research is supported through the AHRC, via a UKRI Innovation Fellowship titled Punchdrunk on the Classics. The project will pioneer a new direction of research in classical reception regarding the classics and immersivity. The research project builds upon my prior work as academic consultant on Punchdrunk’s Kabeiroi (2017) and in 2022 sees me seconded to the theatre company in a knowledge-exchange arrangement, during which I will work as dramaturg on their production The Burnt City. The fellowship will result in a monograph, provisionally titled Punchdrunk on the Classics: Ancient Greek Literature and Immersive Experience (under contract with Palgrave Macmillan) as well as a series of collaborative events between academics and practitioners on knowledge exchange and the creative industries, and the classics and immersivity. My collaboration with Punchdrunk on The Burnt City was profiled in the New York Times here.

    My other current research projects include an edited collection titled Antiquity and Immersivity, and, together with Dr Chris Hay (University of Queensland) a special issue of Contemporary Theatre Review on the theatre director Simon Stone. 

    Prior to my current fellowship I published the monograph Postdramatic Tragedies through the Classical Presences series at Oxford University Press (2019). Postdramatic Tragedies analyses receptions of Greek and Roman tragedy that come under the banner of 'postdramatic theatre', and argues that classical tragedy has played a crucial role in the development of the postdramatic, and that the postdramatic provides key insight into the role of tragedy in modernity. I also published the co-edited collection Adapting Translation for the Stage (with Geraldine Brodie, for Routledge's Advances in Theatre and Performance Studies series, shortlisted for the 2019 TaPRA prize for editing), alongside articles and chapters on Sarah Kane, Martin Crimp, and Katie Mitchell. My pieces for a general audience have appeared in popular publications including The Theatre Times, The Conversation, and Exeunt Magazine.

    Together with Dr Lyndsay Coo I co-ordinated the Arts Faculty 'Tragedy' Research Cluster (2017-18, 2018-19).

    Please note that I am not teaching in 2021-22 as I am on maternity leave/returning carers leave, nor in TB1 of 2022-23 I am on research leave; however, I still welcome contact from potential postgraduate students wishing to work with me during this time.

    Contact Information

    Office: Mezzanine (accessed from level 1), 11 Woodland Road

    Email: emma.cole@bristol.ac.uk

    Twitter: @Emma_Cole1

    Consultation Hours: By appointment

    Research Supervision

    I am currently supervising PhD theses for the Department of Classics and Ancient History and the Department of Theatre, on topics including rehearsals and devised theatre, and musicians and performance in antiquity. Also at Bristol I have supervised postgraduate work on cognitive approaches to Dionysiac rituals, ekphrasis and dance, operatic responses to Euripides' Bacchae, postcolonial receptions of the classics, and the reception of the classics in video games. I regularly supervise undergraduate dissertations in Classics, Classical Studies and joint English/Classical Studies. I would be happy to discuss research projects on the reception of Greek tragedy and epic, on immersivity and the classics, on the reception of Aristotle's Poetics, and on any of the contemporary dramatists and companies about whom I have published (Katie Mitchell, Martin Crimp, Sarah Kane, Tom Holloway, The Wooster Group, Simon Stone and The Hayloft Project, ZU-UK, Jan Fabre, and Punchdrunk). 


    I teach in both Liberal Arts and Classics, across all levels of our programmes.

    I became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) in October 2016. 

    Further Information

    Alongside academia, I work as a dramaturg and academic consultant on new writing and classical adaptation projects, and welcome contact from potential collaborators. 

    I am a current board member of the Institute of Greece, Rome, and the Classical Tradition, and a Trustee of By Jove Theatre Company. I am a member of the AHRC Peer Review College, and a member of the AHRC 'Remixing the Classics' Network.

    Image credit Jeremie Souteyrat.

    External positions

    Trustee, By Jove

    Structured keywords and research groupings

    • Institute of Greece, Rome, and the Classical Tradition
    • Reception


    • Reception


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