Nicholas Holden

Dr Nicholas Holden BA, MA, AKC, PhD, PGCLTHE, FHEA, FRSA

Senior Lecturer in Drama

Nicholas Holden joined the University of Greenwich in Autumn 2018, following the completion of his PhD from the University of Lincoln, UK. In the arts industry, he has worked professionally as an actor and dancer in film for production companies such as Pathé and Warner Brothers, and on stage in shows across the UK.

Nicholas is the founding Director of the Drama, Theatre and Performance Research Group at the University of Greenwich – a multi-disciplinary research group that brings together researchers and practioner researchers working across the university on local, national and international research activities and enterprise with a number of external partners. He is also the co-founder of the Contemporary Playwriting Network (with Dr Siân Adiseshiah, University of Loughborough, Dr Jacqueline Bolton, University of Lincoln, and Dr Chris Megson, Royal Holloway, University of London) and Contemporary Playwriting Conference, which aims to facilitate knowledge exchange and original research in the field of Playwriting Studies.

Much of Nicholas' teaching at Greenwich is focused on Contemporary Playwriting and industry-based learning within local schools and arts-based organisations. He is the module leader on Creative Futures (L4), Drama in Education (L5) and Industry Placement (L5), and co-teaches Staging New Writing (L4). He also oversees the Drama Study Abroad programme (one semester and one year) to enable students to gain experience living and learning overseas and specifically in North America.

Nicholas supervises research projects at undergraduate and postgraduate level and is happy to receive enquiries relating to MPhil/PhD (including by practice and by publication) research in the areas detailed below.

He is committed to the development and support of Early Career Academics at Greenwich and co-leads (with Dr Jennifer Young) the Early Career Research Network for the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

In 2022, he will be the Thomas P. Johnson Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Rollins College, USA.

Responsibilities within the university

  • Director of the Drama, Theatre and Performance Research Group
  • Link Tutor for Columbia College, Chicago, USA
  • Co-Lead of the Early Career Research Network (Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences)
  • Member of Academic Council  (Early Career Academic Representative)

Awards

  • (2022) Thomas P. Johnson Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Rollins College, USA
  • (2016) Glynne Wickham Scholarship, Standing Conference of University Drama Departments (SCUDD)
  • (2014) Funded Doctoral Award, University of Lincoln

Recognition

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA)
  • Member of the Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA)
  • Member of the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR)
  • Member of the American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR)
  • Member of Comparative Drama
  • Co-convenor and co-founding member of the Contemporary Playwriting Conference
  • Co-founder and co-director of the Contemporary Playwriting Network

Research / Scholarly interests

My current research is focused on the ways in which young people interact with professional theatres and specifically how they use those institutions and buildings to engage with ideas of/for social change. This research is currently focused on London's Royal Court Theatre and its historical and current engagement with young people. I am also currently involved with projects on Hoxton Hall; London’s Theatre; interconnectedness in US and UK play development; the material text in Contemporary Theatre; and the plays of Zinnie Harris.

Broadly, I am interested in the following areas and would welcome enquiries from prospective PhD students in the following areas:

  • Contemporary British Theatre and Playwrights
  • Post-War British Theatre
  • The Royal Court Theatre
  • Playwriting Pedagogy
  • Young Peoples’ Initiatives in Professional Theatres
  • Transatlantic Playwriting

Funded Research Projects

  • (2021) Vice Chancellor’s Scholarship Award, University of Greenwich for (How) Woolwich Works: Strategies for Cross-Cultural Engagement in a Divided Community awarded to Carlos Eduardo Pires (1st Supervisor)
  • (2020) University of Greenwich Learning and Teaching Project Grant, to support the pilot scheme for ‘Embedding Sustainability into Practice: Policies for Ecological Care in the Creative Arts’ (£600)
  • (2019) University of Greenwich Staff/Student Collaboration Project Grant, to support the development of ‘Writing the Environment: creating a student led piece of new writing on environmental concerns’ (£1,775)

Media activity

The Stage Newspaper, Interview with Dr Nicholas Holden on Drama Training in Higher Education, 18 February 2020

Recent publications

Edited Collections, Editions and Special Issues
  • (2022) Beautiful Doom: Dennis Kelly’s Work on Stage and Television, with Jacqueline Bolton, Manchester: Manchester University Press
  • (2021) ‘London’s Theatre: Places; Futures; Communities’, with Harry Derbyshire and Mark O’Thomas, Comparative Drama (Special Issue), Michigan: Western Michigan University
  • (2021) This House by James Graham, Bloomsbury Methuen Drama Student Edition, London: Bloomsbury Methuen
Refereed Journal Articles
  • (2021) ‘There’s No Place Like London: Theatrical Landscapes of a Global City’, with Harry Derbyshire and Mark O’Thomas, Comparative Drama (Special Issue): London’s Theatre: Places, Futures, Communities
  • (2017) ‘“Making New Theatre Together”: Developing Writers and Creating Community in the First Writers’ Group at the Royal Court and its Legacy within the Young Writers’ Programme’, Theatre History Studies, Vol. 36, Special Issue on Histories of New Writing, pp. 126-140
Book Chapters
  • (2022) ‘And it is in my most high and glorious nature to bite the heads off the naughty childerains’: Being Naughty with ‘British Values’ in DNA (2008) and Our Teacher’s a Troll (2009), with Jacqueline Bolton, in Beautiful Doom: Dennis Kelly’s Work on Stage and Television, Nicholas Holden and Jacqueline Bolton (eds.), Manchester: Manchester University Press
  • (2022) ‘Interview with Dennis Kelly’, with Jacqueline Bolton, in Beautiful Doom: Dennis Kelly’s Work on Stage and Television, Nicholas Holden and Jacqueline Bolton (eds.), Manchester: Manchester University Press
  • (2022) ‘The Oxymoronic World of Dennis Kelly’, with Jacqueline Bolton, in Beautiful Doom: Dennis Kelly’s Work on Stage and Television, Nicholas Holden and Jacqueline Bolton (eds.), Manchester: Manchester University Press
  • (2021) ‘Introduction’ and ‘Critical Commentary’, in This House by James Graham (Bloomsbury Methuen Drama Student Edition), Nicholas Holden (ed.), London: Bloomsbury Methuen
  • (2020) ‘“In the Pursuit of New Writers”: How the Royal Court Young Peoples’ Theatre Contributed to the Development of First Time Playwrights in the 1990s’, After In-Yer-Face: Remnants of a Theatrical Revolution, William Boles, ed., Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Presentations

  • (2021) The Activists in the Garage: Gerald Chapman, Gay Sweatshop and the Royal Court Young Peoples’ Theatre 1976-1980. In: Text and Presentation, Comparative Drama Conference, Thursday 14 October – Saturday 16 October, Rollins College, Orlando, Florida, USA
  • (2020) Creative Futures: Community Collaborations in Higher Education. In: Cities of Learning: Meet; Test; Collaborate, Thursday 13th February, Royal Society of Arts, London, UK
  • (2019) Tracing the Origins of the Royal Court’s International Department through Elyse Dodgson and the Royal Court Young Peoples’ Theatre. In: Theatre and Performance Research Association Annual Conference, History and Historiography Working Group, Wednesday 4 – Friday 6 September, University of Exeter, UK
  • (2019) The International Playwriting Symposium: Making Space for Play Analysis. In: Analysing Plays in the 21st Century: A Critical Conversation, Friday 5th July, Goldsmiths College, University of London, UK
  • (2019) Making Theatre and Making Money: Early Reflections on the Bridge Theatre and the monetisation of the subsidised theatre sector in London. Part of an organised panel on ‘Currents and Tensions in the Contemporary London Theatre’, In: Text and Presentation, Comparative Drama Conference, Thursday 4 April – Saturday 6 April, Rollins College, Orlando, Florida, USA
  • (2018) A Model for International Playwriting Practice: The Royal Court Young Peoples’ Theatre and the Regional Arts Association, 1988-1998. In: Regions, Ruins and Regeneration, Irish Society for Theatre Research Annual Conference, Friday 1 June – Saturday 2 June, University of Lincoln, UK
  • (2017) ‘The Guru Effect’: The Politics of Process in the Young Writers’ Programme at the Royal Court. In: Theatre and Performance Research Association Annual Conference, History and Historiography Working Group, Wednesday 30 August – Friday 1 September, University of Salford, UK
  • (2016) ‘There are Times when Naturalism just isn’t Enough’: Breaking open the kitchen sink in the theatre of Alistair McDowall. In: British Theatre in the 21st Century, Thursday 13 October – Saturday 15 October, Université Paris-Sorbonne, France.