Honorary Associate Professor Tim Fitzpatrick

BA (Sydney), PhD (Sydney)


Full Curriculum Vitae

Biographical details

Tim Fitzpatrick

Recent work includes ground-breaking research on reconstructing the second Globe Theatre, which has led to the Pop-up Globe in New Zealand, the first ever exact full-scale replica of the second Globe.

My research career began in Italian theatre of the twentieth century, transitioned into a book-length study of the acting techniques of the sixteenth-century Italian actors of the Commedia dell’Arte, and then to a study of Elizabethan performance. Textual analysis of a number of plays suggested strongly that the playwrights were writing with in mind only two entrance-points onto the stage, and this in turn led to a more general theory of how two such doors might have been used systematically to ensure fluency of performance. This research ran parallel to (and found confirmation in) work on the second Globe playhouse. A collaboration with Russell Emerson, then Technical Director of Performance Studies, led to a CAD reconstruction of the second Globe as shown in Wenceslaus Hollar’s famous sketch. Structural considerations suggest it could not have had a third central door onto the stage.

Research areas

  • Flexible performance: particularly in relation to the Italian Commedia dell’Arte and an understanding of non-scripted acting techniques that are nevertheless not ‘improvisation’ in the modern sense.
  • Elizabethan performance: arguing that the performance conditions of the time required ‘shortcuts’ in preparation, and hence a set of shared staging conventions to facilitate the making of performance.
  • Elizabethan playwrighting: suggesting that the spatial and physical parameters of performance are implicit (and at times explicit) in the playtexts, and that these latter enable us to infer how the playwrights expected their plays to be performed in the original conditions.
  • Elizabethan theatre architecture: a theoretical reconstruction of the second Globe playhouse based on Hollar’s sketch and on structural considerations derived from ad quadratum geometry.

Selected publications


  • 2011 Playwright, Space and Place in Early Modern Performance: Shakespeare and Company, Farnham, Ashgate
  • 1995 The Relationship of Oral and Literate Performance Processes in the Commedia dell'Arte: Beyond the Improvisation/Memorisation Divide, Lewiston/Queen-ston/Lampeter, Edwin Mellen Press

Book Chapters

  • 2006 "Patronage and Theatre Design: The First Globe and its Modern Reconstruction". In Irene Eynat-Confino & Eva Sormova (Eds.), Patronage Spectacle and the Stage, (pp. 142-155). Prague: Theatre Institute Prague.

Journal Articles

  • 2015, "The Two Doors' Traffic of our Stage": Developing and Testing "Spacial" Readings. Cahiers Élisabéthains, 88(1), 169-180.
  • 2011, From archaeological remains to onion dome: At the upper limits of speculation. Shakespeare, 7(4), 432-451.
  • 2011, Purusing Hollar's Sketch of the Second Globe Playhouse. Performing Arts Resources, 28, 32-39.
  • 2009, with Daniel Johnston, Spaces, doors and places in early modern English staging. Theatre Notebook: a journal of the history and technique of the British theatre, 63(1), 2-19.
  • 2006, Performance preparation processes and their textual reconstruction. About Performance, 6, 123-140.
  • 2006, The Visual Semiotics of 'Elizabethan' Public Playhouses: The First Globe and its Modern Reconstruction. International Yearbook of Aesthetics, 10, 24-39.
  • 2005, Performance in the City: London and Italy. Literature and Aesthetics, 15(2), 91-100.
  • 2004 "Reconstructing Shakespeare's Second Globe using CAD design tools" Early Modern Literature Studies]] March (online refereed journal [[http://www.shu.ac.uk/emls/ emlshome.html)
  • 2002 "Playwrights with Foresight: staging resources in the Elizabethan playhouses" Theatre Notebook Vol 56, No. 2 (Summer 2002), pp. 85-116
  • 2000 (with W. Millyard) "Hangings, Doors and Discoveries: Conflicting Evidence or Problematical Assumptions?" Theatre Notebook Vol 54, No. 1 (Spring 2000), pp. 2-23
  • 1999 a "Stage Management, Dramaturgy and Spatial Semiotics in Shakespeare's Dia-logue" Theatre Research International Vol. 23, No. 1 (Spring 1999), pp. 1-23
  • 1999b (with R. Emerson) "Reconstructing the spatial dynamics of ëlost' theatre spaces; Shakespeare's second, first and third Globe Theatres" aPER (People and Physical Environment Research) 53-54, 1999, pp. 42-57
  • 1996 "The Fortune Contract and Hollar's Original Drawing of Southwark: Indications of a Smaller First Globe" Shakespeare Bulletin 14: 4 (Fall 1996) pp. 5-10
  • 1995 "Shakespeare's Exploitation of a Two-door Stage: Macbeth" Theatre Research International Vol. 20, no. 3, Autumn 1995, pp. 207-30
    1991(with S. Batten) "Watching the Watchers Watch: Some Implications of Audi-ence Attention Patterns" Gestos 12: November 1991, pp. 11-31
  • 1989 "van Battista Fagiuoli e la Commedia all'improvviso: Due Manoscritti nella Biblioteca Riccardiana di Firenze'" Biblioteca Teatrale 12: 1989, pp. 61-84