Professorial Fellow

  • Doctoral College
Professor David Roberts

David joined UCA as a Professorial Fellow in 2023. His research interests are in theatre and the history/practice of life writing. Publications include monographs for Oxford University Press, Methuen, Palgrave, and Cambridge University Press. He has also worked on major editions of classic texts, most recently of Congreve’s The Way of the World (Methuen, 2020) and Colley Cibber's Apology (Cambridge University Press, 2022).

Professor David Roberts


David’s latest book is a history of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s engagement with Restoration Drama (Palgrave, 2024). He has also written textbooks, novels, and numerous articles for learned journals and essay collections, most recently for The Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare and Music, The Oxford Handbook of Restoration Literature, and The Palgrave Handbook of Theatre Censorship. David is a National Teaching Fellow and Fellow of the English Association.

David holds degrees from the Universities of Bristol (BA Hons 1st class) and Oxford (DPhil). He taught at both of those institutions before a five-year stint working in Japan, where he worked for the Universities of Kyoto and Osaka as well as lecturing for the British Council. He returned to the UK to teach at the University of Worcester, also lecturing part-time at the University of Warwick, before being appointed Head of English at Birmingham City University. His subsequent period as Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of Arts, Design and Media featured many highlights: the building of the new Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, the expansion of the Queen's Award-winning Birmingham School of Jewellery, and the development of a research culture that saw four units of assessment achieve an average rating of 'internationally excellent' in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework. Today he remains a part-time Professor of English at BCU in addition to his role at UCA. He is delighted to serve as university orator for both institutions.

A widely published theatre historian, David is currently working on a biography of the seventeenth-century actor, Henry Harris, forthcoming from Cambridge University Press in 2027. The book will complement his 2010 study, also for CUP, of Harris's fellow actor-manager Thomas Betterton, which was shortlisted for the 2011 Library of America's Freedley award. Other recent books are George Farquhar: A Migrant Life Reversed (Methuen, 2018), described by The Irish Times as ‘wonderfully readable and meticulously researched’, a new edition of Congreve's classic comedy, The Way of the World, for the New Mermaids series, and a modernized text for CUP of Colley Cibber's ground- breaking Apology, praised for setting 'new standards for scholarship in the field'. Forthcoming In 2024 is a monograph for Palgrave on the Royal Shakespeare Company's productions of plays written between 1660 and 1714. David's theatre interests have extended to numerous trusteeships, to writing programme essays for The Royal Opera House, Bristol Old Vic, Birmingham Royal Ballet and others, and to compiling an anniversary history for the Birmingham Hippodrome.

A National Teaching Fellow (2013) and Fellow of the English Association, David has also published pedagogic textbooks and associated research. He ran a HEFCE-funded project on the use of games for the teaching of literature. One result was the design and production of a card game, Shakespertise™, which has been used in schools, universities and non-academic settings. As part of his attachment to UCA’s Doctoral College, David draws on the experience of his best-selling textbook on academic writing (Taylor and Francis, 1997) to help PhD students develop their discursive skills.