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Peter Sutton

Education and Experience

Peter received his BA (Hons) in English Language and Literature from St Hugh’s College, Oxford in 2013 before studying for his M.Litt. in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literary Culture at the University of St Andrews in 2014.

Peter’s main interests are in exploring the Early Modern dramatic canon in relation to its reception in the eighteenth century, especially the works of Ben Jonson. He is also interested in exploring drama in contemporary performance.

Peter is a keen amateur actor and director and is interested in developing his work through the medium of theatre. He directed two plays by Ben Jonson for the Mermaids Performing Arts Fund, The Alchemist in March 2015, and Epicene in March 2016, and was in charge of the performance and production elements of a major conference in St Andrews to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the publication of Jonson’s Works in April 2016 (“Dare to Tell”: Silence and Saying in Ben Jonson). For this conference, Peter directed and performed in the world premiere of Ben and Jamie by Brean Hammond (University of Nottingham) in the Byre Theatre Studio. For the Shakespeare 400 commemorations in St Andrews he also commissioned and performed in rare new productions of W. S. Gilbert’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and of The Tempest performed with Arthur Sullivan’s suite to the play with the University of St Andrews Gilbert and Sullivan Society, as well as giving the commemorative lecture on 23 April 2016. Peter was the recipient of the 2017 Cedric Thorpe Davie Prize for his outstanding contribution to music and drama in his four years at the University of St Andrews.

Peter proofread the new twentieth anniversary edition of The Complete Annotated Gilbert and Sullivan, edited by Ian Bradley (Oxford University Press, 2016), and is also a regular book reviewer for the Forum for Modern Language Studies journal. Future article projects under consideration include Ben Jonson in the world of opera, Cymbeline in performance, and others directly related to his PhD research. He has also been awarded bursaries and grants to speak at conferences organised by the British Shakespeare Association (2016) and the Humours of the Past network (2017), as well as for the London and Irish Stage conference at Trinity College, Dublin (2017) – further details below.

His PhD research into the stage and print reception of Ben Jonson in the eighteenth century commenced in September 2014 with a Cruikshank scholarship from the School of English. Peter was the co-convenor of the School of English Postgraduate Research Forum in 2015-2016, and has also led sessions for both the Medieval and Renaissance reading groups.

Additional interests include: Drama of all eras, especially comedic drama, Early Modern poetry and pamphlet literature, Theatre reception, Opera, Gilbert and Sullivan, Music and literature.


EN1004 – Explorers and Revolutionaries: Literature 1680-1830 (Semester Two, 2015/16)
EN2003 – Medieval and Renaissance Texts (Semester One, 2015/16; Semester One, 2016/17)
EN2004 – Drama: Reading and Performance (Semester Two, 2017/18)

Additionally, Peter has acted as a module assistant for the last two years in the music department on MU1005 – Reading Opera: Texts, Libretti and Music from Purcell to Stravinsky. He also offered drama workshops to assist on the School of English honours modules EN4344 – Early English Romance Comedy: Shakespeare and his Contemporaries, and EN4348 – Bodies and Selves in the Renaissance in semester one 2016.

He is currently planning drama workshops to assist on the School of English honours modules EN4344 – Early English Romance Comedy: Shakespeare and his Contemporaries, and EN4348 – Bodies and Selves in the Renaissance.

Conference papers

‘“The Living Explanations”: The challenges and opportunities of staging Ben Jonson’s Comedies’ for the Humours of the Past network conference, Grey College, Durham, July 2017

‘“The Tresuror is Doctor Subtle And his Chancelor Captain Face”: Ben Jonson, Cavendish, and Proto-Toryism on the Eve of Restoration’ for the St Andrews Medieval and Renaissance Symposium, April 2017

‘Re-working the lean rabbit: Francis Gentleman’s revisions of Ben Jonson’ for the London and Irish Stage: Identity, Culture and Politics 1680-1830 conference, Trinity College, Dublin, February 2017

‘“Visits from the Shades”: The ghosts haunting the early eighteenth century stage’ for the British Society for Eighteenth Century Studies Annual Conference, St Hugh’s College, Oxford, January 2017

Cymbeline in performance’ for the British Shakespeare Association Biennial Conference, Hull, September 2016

‘“And is old Double dead?”: 1616 and all that’ for the Mermaids Performing Arts Fund Shakespeare Week Anniversary Lecture, St Andrews, April 2016

‘Shady Visitors and the “Jest(s) of Authority”’ – Ben Jonson at the turn of the eighteenth century’ for the Dare to Tell: Silence and Saying in Ben Jonson conference, St Andrews, April 2016

‘The National Theatre Dead: Live Streaming and the Future of Theatre’ for the Performance and Technologies Research Symposium, St Andrews Comparative Literature Symposium, December 2015

‘Francis Gentleman’s The Tobacconist (1771) and the cult of Abel Drugger’ for the St Andrews Romantic and Victorian Symposium, December 2014


Peter Sutton



PhD student:
Early Modern Drama