Professor Mark Taylor-Batty’s Inaugural Lecture: Pinter, Pensions, Artaud, and the Absurd

In the first of the School of English’s new series of inaugural professorial lectures, Prof Mark Taylor-Batty discusses the recurrent preoccupations of his career in theatre scholarship and beyond.

This lecture surveys aspects of Mark’s scholarly output and draws links across that activity with a focus on how the artists he has researched and written about have foregrounded, critiqued and challenged cultural orthodoxies and structuring social narratives.

From Harold Pinter’s forensic analyses of the strata of political power to Antonin Artaud’s appeal to erase all of culture and start anew with theatre as the catalyst—and with a brief nod toward Mark’s work as a pensions negotiator—the lecture will seek to join some dots between disparate activities in an engaging manner.

The lecture is scheduled to coincide with the publication and launch of Mark’s new translation and edition of Artaud’s essay collection ‘The Theatre and Its Double’. This is the first new translation into English of this canonical text in over 50 years. 

The edition contains an introduction that places the text in its cultural contexts, and a curated selection of correspondence, essays, and interviews from between 1930 and 1938 that outline Artaud’s ambitions to establish a ‘Theatre of Cruelty’, as well as an appendix of early draft manuscripts, and numerous footnotes that address translation complications and detail the known and putative sources that Artaud was working with.

The lecture will be followed by a reception in the School of English and a book launch for Mark's new translation of Artaud. Advance book orders can also be placed online.

About our speaker

Mark Taylor-Batty is a Professor of Theatre and Performance in the School of English at the University of Leeds. 

An internationally recognised Pinter scholar, he has published three books on the work of Harold Pinter and was principal investigator on an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project ‘Pinter Histories and Legacies’ from 2017 to 2020. 

Mark is joint editor of the Methuen Drama Engage book series, with now close to forty titles in the collection, and has translated plays from French and Swedish for thirty years.

How to attend

The lecture will take place at the Workshop Theatre on the University of Leeds campus (1a Cavendish Road, Leeds, LS2 9JT).

This event is free to attend. To reserve a seat for the lecture please book via the following link: