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Dr Julie Ackroyd

Julie Ackroyd

Profile summary

  • Honorary Associate
  • Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
  • School of Art His, Class St, Eng&CW, Mus
  • Classical Studies
  • j.l.ackroyd

Professional biography

I gained both my BA (Hons.) and MA in Classical Studies with the Open University. My thesis was entitled ‘The Theatrical use of Masks: Ancient and Modern Cross-cultural Practices’. On completion of my this I left the OU and moved to Birkbeck College, University of London where I undertook my PhD. on ‘The Recruitment and Training of the Child Actor on the London Stage c. 1600’. This research involved a strong interdisciplinary focus on the performance practices undertaken by the children’s company based at the Blackfriars theatre. It also considered the influence of a Classical Humanist education on the production of acting children.

Previous projects:

Assistant Co-ordinator: ‘Back to School’ outreach project run by the OU Classical Studies Department and the Iris Project. An Olympics-inspired scheme for 8 to 13 to explore the links between the Ancient Games and London 2012. I also undertook a feasibility study to roll the project out to cover the borough of Greenwich in London and Bradford in West Yorkshire.

Conference Co-ordinator/Events Officer for the Institute of Historical Research, University of London planning and managing conferences, including The Anglo-American Conference of Historians (3 day), the oldest continuing conference in the English speaking academic world (now in its 84th year),  Public History in Liverpool (3 day), Anglo-Saxon Law (1 day), The Empire Lectures (8 evenings in conjunction with the National Maritime Museum), and the annual Creighton Lecture.

Plays Panel Judge for the The Society of London Theatres Olivier Awards. Attending over 70 plays in and voting for the best production in each performance category.

Research/Assistant Producer on film, TV and exhibition projects for: English Heritage, BBC television, Pinewood, Shepperton and Twickenham Film Studies.

Stage work: The Old Vic Theatre, London; Bradford Alhambra; The West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds and with The National Theatre on tour (on Tony Harrison’s Trackers of Oxyrhynchus).

Script Reader for Alan Ayckbourn at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough and the RSC.

Research interests

My research interests are varied. At present I am writing extensively on current productions of Greek plays translated and adapted for the English speaking stage. This has led me to address the question of how current practice and modern directorial techniques are striving to make productions relevant for a modern audience. In addition, I am tackling the question of how modern mixed gender casting practices compare with ancient single gender casting and how omitting the male only cast alters a plays reception.  I would like to develop this consideration in conjunction with ideas brought up in my past work on the use of masks within the Classical Greek corpus.

My work on Renaissance play scripts is continuing and I am focusing on those which indicate differing acting styles between child companies and those staffed by adult males. I aim to publish on this in the next year. The development of this work has also led me to consider the composition of the Classic/Humanist syllabus in the English grammar school c.1600 which I hope to focus on at a later date.


‘Electra, The Old Vic Theatre, London, 24.09.2014’ In eisodos: Zeitschrift für Antike Literatur und Theorie, Electra edition 2014 (3) Winter.

‘Medea, National Theatre, London, In eisodos: Zeitschrift für Antike Literatur und Theorie,2014’. Spring (1) 2015.

'Antigone by Sophokles? and
A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller'  Theaterrezension In eisodos: Zeitschrift für Antike Literatur und Theorie,2014’. Summer (2) 2015.

UCL Classical Drama Society: Bacchae by Euripides’ In eisodos: Zeitschrift für Antike Literatur und Theorie, 2015 (3) Winter.

‘Stink Foot: Adapted and directed by Jeff James, 18 November - 13 December, 2014 The Yard, Queen’s Yard, Hackney Wick, London’. Review and Interview, Didaskalia 12 (2015) 04.

‘Bacchae: Adapted and directed by Chris Vervain. 5 - 11 March 2015. Theatro Technis, London’. Didaskalia 12 (2015) 5

Book publication

Academic Advisor for the Chaucer Press publication of The Life and Times of William Shakespeare 1564-1616 atranslation of William Shakespeare Seine Zeit – Sein Leben – Sein Werk by Hildegard Hammerschmidt-Hummel (Professor of English Literature at University of Mainz).

Conference Papers

Exeter University; ‘Classical Reception in Early Modern England’ Conference. ‘Pedagogy, Blackfriars and the Inns of Court’ panel member presenting the paper ‘Clifton Vs. Robinson et al’- The Social Background of Child Actors at the Blackfriars Theatre. Awarded the OU AL Development bursary.

British Federation of Women Graduates conference, entitled ‘Kidnapping Children in 1600’.

British Shakespeare Conference.  ‘The social and educational background of the Children of the Chapel acting company’ (Birkbeck conference awarded funded.)

The Globe Theatre Education Department invited panel and paper presentation at the conference Boys Will Be Boys, Girls, Adults…

The Globe Theatre Research Seminar. ‘The exchange of play-texts between adult and child companies and meta-theatrical techniques used in 'The Malcontent QC Induction’.

Roberts Postgraduate Award. ‘Children in London c.1600’. Also poster winner in the Arts and Humanities category.

BritGrad. Shakespeare Conference, ‘The Shakespeare Institute’ Stratford on Avon:  ‘Clifton Vs. Robinson: A court case of 1600’ (Birkbeck conference award funded).

Teaching interests

In 2015 I was awarded a fellowship of the Higher Education Academy for my research project on 'action research principles' in conjunction with the use of on-line and face to face teaching practice for distance learners. 

Since 2008 I have been an Associate Lecturer for the Open University and teach AA100 ‘The Arts Past and Present’, a level one interdisciplinary Arts and Humanities course, and the third year course EA300 ‘Children’s Literature’. I have also taught A330 ‘Myth in the Greek and Roman World’ . Other university work has included ‘Chaucer to Shakespeare’ and ‘Literature in Modern London’ for Birkbeck, University of London, as well as ‘Renaissance Literature’ for the University of Hertfordshire.  I have also lectured and developed public tours at the Science Museum, London on the specialist collections in medicine, flight and domestic technology.

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