1st Edition

Notelets of Filth A Companion Reader to Morgan Lloyd Malcolm's Emilia

Edited By Laura Kressly, Aida Patient, Kimberly A. Williams Copyright 2023
    258 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    258 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This collection of short, accessible essays serves as a supplementary text to Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s play, Emilia.

    Critically acclaimed and beloved by audiences, this innovative and ground-breaking show is a speculative history, an imaginative (re)telling of the life of English Renaissance poet Aemilia Bassano Lanyer. This book features essays by theatre practitioners, activists, and scholars and informed by intersectional feminist, critical race, queer, and postcolonial analyses will enable students and their teachers across secondary school and higher education to consider the play’s major themes from a wide variety of theoretical and interdisciplinary perspectives. This volume explores the current events and cultural contexts that informed the writing and performing of Emilia between 2017 and 2019, various aspects of the professional London productions, critical and audience responses, and best practices for teaching the play to university and secondary school students. It includes a foreword by Emilia playwright Morgan Lloyd Malcolm

    This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of theatre, arts activism, feminist literature, and theory.

    List of Figures

    List of Boxes

    List of Contributors


    Morgan Lloyd Malcolm


    Laura Kressly, Aida Patient, and Kimberly A. Williams


    Section I: Current Events and Cultural Contexts

    Chapter 1 Women ‘think "round it"’! Writing and Publication in Emilia

    Jennifer Young

    Chapter 2 ‘Burn the Whole F*cking House Down!’: Black Feminist Lessons for Joyful Rage

    Kimberly A. Williams

    Chapter 3 Frenzy’s Weaponry: The Mythic Dimension of Emilia

    David Bullen

    Chapter 4 "This is My Gaff": Safe Spaces, Cultural Property, and Shakespeare

    Peter Kirwan

    Chapter 5 Towards Emilia: Black and South Asian Women in the Performance of Shakespeare

    Sita Thomas




    Section II: Emilia in Practice

    Chapter 6 ‘There’s a Woman on the Stage!’: Emilia and the Politics of Bodies in Space in Shakespeare's Globe

    Sara Reimers

    Chapter 7 Embodying Emilia: A Conversation About Movement Creation

    Christina Fulcher and Anna Morrissey, with Laura Kressly

    Chapter 8 History, Her Story, or Our Story? Navigating the Tensions of Historically-Responsive Storytelling in Emilia

    Eleanor Chadwick

    Chapter 9 ‘For Eve. For Every Eve.’ An Intersectional Feminist Investigation of Men’s Violence Against Women in Emilia

    Erica Navickas

    Chapter 10 We are Emilia: Emilia as Witness, Witnessing Emilia

    Catherine Quirk

    Chapter 11 #IAmEmilia: When Marketing Creates a Movement

    Gemma Kate Allred


    Section III: Critics and Audiences Respond

    Chapter 12 ‘There’s Only So Much Work Our Imaginations Can Do’: Emilia and London’s Privileged Theatre Critics

    Laura Kressly

    Chapter 13 #EmiliaFamilia: Representation Matters

    Heather Marshall

    Chapter 14 The #EmiliaFamilia: Feminist Fandom on Twitter

    Emma Bentley

    Chapter 15 Feeling Collectives: Emotions, Feminist Solidarity, and Difference in Emilia

    Isabel Stuart



    Section IV: Teaching Emilia

    Chapter 16 Teaching Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s Emilia in a University Classroom

    Aida Patient

    Chapter 17 On Teaching Emilia as Intersectional Feminist Praxis

    Kimberly A. Williams

    Chapter 18 ‘What’s past is prologue’: Teaching Women, Race, and Emilia in the Twenty-first Century

    Rebecca Steinberger

    Chapter 19 Opening Up New Worlds: Emilia at a London Girls’ School

    Kathryn Martin

    Appendix A: A Brief Chronology of the Life and Times of Aemilia Bassano Lanyer

    Aida Patient

    Appendix B: Biographies of Historical Figures in Emilia

    Janet Bartholomew

    Appendix C: Nationality, Racial and Education Demographics of Emilia Critics

    Laura Kressly

    Appendix D: Semester Research Project for an Introductory Women’s and Gender Studies Course

    Kimberly A. Williams



    Kate Allred (she/her) is a doctoral researcher at the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland. Her thesis examines how Shakespeare was marketed and sold in England between 1960-2020. Gemma co-edited Lockdown Shakespeare: New Evolutions in Performance and Adaptation, with Benjamin Broadribb and Dr. Erin Sullivan (Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare, 2022).

    Early Modernist Janet Bartholomew (she/her) teaches English, humanities, and developmental studies at Jackson College in Michigan (US). She graduated with her PhD in English from Michigan State University; her dissertation "To Be Termed Men" focused on early modern English women constructing and critiquing masculinities in their writing.

    Raised in the Midlands and now based in South-East London, Emma Bentley (she/her) is a queer writer and performer. She trained at Playbox Theatre Company, the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, and the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. She adapted her first solo show, To She Or Not To She (with Pleasance Courtyard) into a short film with SeeGold Productions, and her second solo show, What Goes On In Front Of Closed Doors, was long listed for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award.

    David Bullen (he/him) explores how myths are taken up by feminist and queer theatre makers. He is co-director of By Jove, a UK-based artistic collective that uses myth to engage with the stories of contemporary women and queers, and teacher drama and theatre at Royal Holloway, University of London.

    Eleanor Chadwick (she/her) is a theatre practitioner and teacher at Plymouth Marjon University. She teaches and researches in experimental theatre, practice-as-research, actor training, and theatre history with a focus on medieval and early modern theatre. Her PhD is in Theatre Studies from the University of Warwick. She also earned an MFA (focus: staging Shakespeare) at the University of Exeter. Her book, Historically-Responsive Storytelling: How Contemporary Western Theatre is Rediscovering its Roots, is forthcoming from Routledge..

    Christina Fulcher (she/her) is a London (UK)-based movement director and researcher. Professional credits across theatre and opera include: Emilia (West End); Blue Stockings (LAMDA); Into the Woods (RCCSD); Cunning Little Vixen (Royal Academy Opera); and Wasted (Southwark Playhouse). She trained at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and teaches at Leeds Conservatoire, Guildhall, Mountview, LAMDA as well as with Disney and the Donmar Warhouse.

    Peter Kirwan (he/him) teaches in the Shakespeare and Performance program at Mary Baldwin University in Virginia (USA). His books, which work to trouble Shakespeare’s cultural dominance, include Shakespeare in the Theatre (Bloomsbury, 2019) and Shakespeare and the Idea of Apocrypha (Cambridge University Press, 2015). He has also co-edited several collections, including The Arden Research Handbook of Shakespeare and Contemporary Performance (with Kathryn Prince; Bloomsbury, 2021), and reviews early modern drama in contemporary performance at his blog, The Bardathon.

    Co-editor Laura Kressly (she/her) is a theatre critic, dramaturg, and director. She is co-founder of the Network of Independent Critics. Bylines include Exeunt, Fest Magazine, Focus Magazine, and Wales Arts Review. Recent dramaturgy credits include productions at the Blue Elephant and Camden Fringe. She is currently working on her PhD at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, where she is also a Visiting Lecturer.

    Morgan Lloyd Malcolm (she/her) writes for theatre, television, and film. She was commissioned by The Globe to write Emilia, which won three 2021 Olivier Awards, including for Best Comedy or Entertainment, and has been optioned as a film. Other plays include: When The Long Trick’s Over, Mum, and Typical Girls. She is represented by Haworth Agency in the UK and WME in the US.

    Heather Marshall (she/her) is an award-winning writer, artist, and activist. She works under the company name Creative Electric, where she creates live performances for people that may not engage in the arts due to social or financial barriers. Heather’s most recent play, ____ is where the heart is, toured Scotland in summer 2019. She is currently adapting Medusa into contemporary Scots.

    Kathryn Martin (she/her) is a teacher, performer, and writer with more than two decades of experience in the professional theatre industry. She completed her teacher training in 2004 and has taught drama in schools across London. She is currently Director of Drama at South Hampstead High School.

    Anna Morrissey (she/her) trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama and works as a director and movement director across theatre, opera, and dance. Her work has been shown on the West End, at the National, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal Opera House, Shakespeare's Globe, the Young Vic and the Old Vic as well as many major regional venues and internationally. She worked on the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony and has been commissioned to make dance theatre pieces by the RSC, ROH and Historic Royal Palaces. She also spent a year as Artist in Residence with Historic Royal Palaces and directed opera for the Royal Opera House and Nevill Holt Opera. She recently created her first dance film with the Royal Ballet Company.

    Erica Navickas (she/her) is a creative writer and activist. She graduated from Mount Royal University in 2020 with a BA in English (Honours). Erica began writing poetry in high school, sneaking into local bars to compete in poetry slam contests. At sixteen, she competed in the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word. Her advocacy work supports survivors of sexual abuse.

    Co-editor Aida Patient (she/her) teaches women’s writing in the Department of English, Languages, and Cultures at Mount Royal University in Canada. Her focus is on performance studies and the early modern period.

    Sara Reimers (she/her) teaches in the Department of Theatre at the University of Bristol (UK). She studied for her AHRC-funded PhD in the Department of Drama, Theatre and Dance at Royal Holloway, University of London, where she wrote her thesis on casting and the construction of gender in contemporary stagings of Shakespeare’s plays. Sara is also a director and dramaturg.

    Catherine Quirk (she/her) teaches at Edge Hill University (UK). She completed her PhD at McGill University in 2020. Her current research focuses on nineteenth-century performance practices and their incorporation into narrative, particularly the actress memoir and the novel, and on the use of social media and other digital platforms in performance. She has published essays in Cahiers Victoriens et Édouardiens, Theatre Notebook, Victorians, Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies, and other venues

    Rebecca Steinberger (she/her) teaches English and theatre at Misericordia University in Pennsylvania (USA). She is the author of Shakespeare and Twentieth-Century Irish Drama (Ashgate, 2008) and contributing editor of The Renaissance Literature Handbook (Continuum, 2009), Adam Max Cohen's Wonder in Shakespeare (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), and Encountering Ephemera 1500-1800: Scholarship, Performance, Classroom (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012). Her chapter, "Woman, warrior, or witch? Fetishizing Margert of Anjou on the early modern stage", appears in Money and Magic on the Early Modern Drama from Bloomsbury in Fall 2022.

    Isabel Stuart (she/her) is a PhD researcher at Queen Mary, University of London. Her research sits at the intersection of audience research, affect studies, and feminist theory. Isabel is the founder and co-organiser of the LAHP Feminist Reading Group. She also organised and led the National Theatre at Home virtual Discussion Group during the UK Covid-19 lockdown in early 2020.

    Sita Thomas (she/her) is a multi-disciplinary artist with a keen interest in increasing representation of marginalised communities. She works across television, film, and theatre. She holds a PhD from the University of Warwick and a Masters in Movement Direction from Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Sita creates and facilitates drama, dance and storytelling workshops and is a presenter of Channel 5’s milkshake!

    Co-editor Kimberly A. Williams (she/her) is a teacher, scholar, and activist. She directs the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at Mount Royal University in Canada. Her first book, Imagining Russia (SUNY Press 2012), won the 2009 First Book Prize in Women’s and Gender Studies, and her most recent project, STAMPEDE (Fernwood 2021) was nominated for Best Book in Canadian Studies. An avid Emilia fan, the idea for this collection came to her – as all her best ideas do – in the shower.

    Jennifer Young (she/her) teaches early modern English literature at the University of Greenwich. Co-author of Shakespeare in London (Arden Shakespeare 2015), her research focuses on the printers and publishers of Shakespeare’s earliest editions. She is currently writing a book exploring the relationship between early modern members of the book trade and Shakespeare entitled The Stationer and the Shakespearean Playtext.


    Laura Kressly (she/her) is a theatre critic, dramaturg, and director. She is co-founder of the Network of Independent Critics. She is currently working on her PhD at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, where she is also a visiting lecturer.

    Aida Patient (she/her) teaches women’s writing in the Department of English, Languages, and Cultures at Mount Royal University in Canada.

    Kimberly A. Williams (she/her) is a teacher, scholar, and activist. She directs the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at Mount Royal University in Canada.