Professor Mark Taylor-Batty
- Position: Professor of Theatre and Performance
- Areas of expertise: 20th-century British and French Theatre; Theatre and ethics; Harold Pinter; Samuel Beckett; Lars Norén; Antonin Artaud; translation for the stage.
- Email: M.J.TaylorBatty@leeds.ac.uk
- Phone: +44(0)113 343 4725
- Location: G.05 Workshop Theatre
- Website: Harold Pinter: Histories and Legacies | Twitter | Googlescholar | ORCID
I joined the University of Leeds in 1996 as a Lecturer in Theatre Studies. I was promoted to Senior lecturer in 2002 and to Professor in 2022.
I gained a PhD from the Universit of Hull in 1996, after conducting research on the career of director Roger Blin (1907-1984) and his collaborations with Antonin Artaud, Sylvain Itkine, Jean-Louis Barrault, Samuel Beckett and Jean Genet.
My key areas of interest include the career of Harold Pinter, the theatricality of Samuel Beckett and aspects of twentieth-century French and British theatre. I am interested in issues pertaining to translation for the stage and the director's role in the process of play authorship. Specifically I am interested by what constitutes 'theatricality' as generated by specific playwrights and how one might seek to define and manipulate it in practical terms. As a consequence of this I am fascinated by the relationship that can develop between a director and a living playwright and by the inevitable authorial position that any director takes in respect to a dramatic text. I am also interested in the relationship between an author and their work in process, in compilation and in rehearsal.
I have supervised numerous PhD students, whose work has ranged from studies of Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, political or engaged theatre and other aspects of twentieth and twenty-first-century performance practice.
In May 2022, I was invited as a plenary speaker to the ‘Harold Pinter: la scena del potere, il potere della scena’ conference at the Teatro Mercadante in Naples, Italy.
In October 2018, I was invited to give a paper on Harold Pinter's Jewish identity at the 'Contemporary British-Jewish Theatre' symposium in Braunschweig, Germany.
In July 2018, I chaired a public talk at the British Film Institute on the screenplay career of Harold Pinter.
In June 2018, I was invited to give an after-show talk on the Swedish playwright Lars Norén, and interview director and plawright Anthon Neilson, at the Printroom theatre, London.
From 2017 to 2020 I was the Principle Investigator on an AHRC-funded project, ‘Harold Pinter: Histories and Legacies’, culminating in the publication of a database of productions of his work in the UK.
In October 2013, I was invited to engage in a public conversation with director Ian Rickson on directing the plays of Harold Pinter and Samuel Beckett as part of the Staging Beckett Project at the University of Reading.
In September 2011, I was invited as a plenary speaker to the Conference 'Pinter Abroad: Other Stages, Other Rooms', at the University of Maribor in Slovenia. My visit was supported by the British Council.
In August 2011 I gave a lecture on Pinter's The Homecoming as part of the RSC's Summer School at the Shakespeare Institute, Stratford.
In March 2011, I was invited to Rome to speak at a the Universit e-Campus as part of a celebration of Pinter's work.
In March 2009, I was invited to speak at a festival of Pinter's work at the Habiba Theatre in Tel Aviv, Israel. My visit was supported by the British Council.
In February 2008 I played the role of Ian in Sarah Kane's Blasted at the Queen's Hotel, Leeds.
In May 2007 I gave a plenary paper at the 'Harold Pinter: Encontros conference' at the University of Lisbon.
In April 2007, I organised the 'Artist and Citizen: 50 Years of Performing Pinter' conference, commemorating 50 years of the author's stage activities. Guests included Harold Pinter, Tom Stoppard, Antonia Fraser, Henry Woolf, Michael Billington, James Clarke and the Belarus Free Theatre.
In June 2006 I played the role of Richard/Max in Harold Pinter's The Lover at the Studio Salford.
- Deputy Head of School, Programme Leader (English and Theatre Studies)
My interest in Harold Pinter's writing and activity has resulted in two recent books: The Theatre of Harold Pinter (Bloomsbury) was published in 2014, About Pinter: The Playwright and The Work (Faber and Faber) in 2005. I participated in compiling material for two subdirectories of the official Harold Pinter website. I have acted as an Associate Editor (UK) for The Pinter Review: Collected Essays. I am currently an executive of the International Harold Pinter Society. In 2016, I began work as a Principle Investigator on an AHRC-funded, three-year project entitled Pinter Histories and Legacies, which centres its research around the construction of a database of every UK production or broadcast of a Pinter drama since 1957. The research team will be centred in the Universities of Leeds, Reading and Birmingham.
I am currently engaged in producing a new translation of Antonin Artaud’s The Theatre and its Double, and hope to follow that with translations of material surrounding Artaud’s Théâtre Alfred Jarry and Cenci projects.
My research on the rehearsal processes of Roger Blin and his artistic relationships with Adamov, Artaud, Barrault, Beckett, and Genet came to fruition in my book Roger Blin: Collaborations and Methodologies (Peter Lang).
In 2009 I published a book in collaboration with my wife, the modernist scholar Juliette Taylor-Batty, entitled Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, described as "An impressively complete survey of the play in its cultural, theatrical, historical and political contexts".
I have interests in the digital publication of scholarly materials and am researching opportunities for publication on iPads and notebooks.
I have an interest in the representations of trauma in drama, and a broader interest in issues of ethics in relation to performance.
I am currently a co-editor of the Methuen Drama Engage sereis of books, published by Bloomsbury.
My new translation of Antonin Artaud’s The Theatre and its Double will be published by Bloomsbury in 2024<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>
- PhD Drama
- BA Drama and French
- The Harold Pinter Society
I am programme leader for the English Literature and Theatre Studies programme in the School of English, and teach on core modules within the Theatre Studies area. I usually offer two undergraduate optional modules: Surrealism and the French Stage and Theatricalities: Beckett, Pinter, Kane.
Research groups and institutes
- Theatre at Leeds