Ben Levitas

Ben’s research connects modern Irish literature and theatre with its cultural and political history, specialising in W. B. Yeats.

Staff details

Ben Levitas


Reader in Theatre and Performance


Theatre and Performance


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Ben Levitas practices an interdisciplinary approach to theatre, in particular integrating theatre history with cultural and political history – with a specialism in Irish studies. His approach is informed by a broad training: after gaining an MA in Modern Literature from Queen Mary, University of London, Ben was awarded his doctorate from the History Faculty, Oxford University, and went on to teach at the School of Politics at Queen's University Belfast before joining the Department of Theatre and Performance at Goldsmiths. His first book, The Theatre of Nation: Irish Drama and Cultural Nationalism 1890-1916 was awarded the Michael J. Durkan Prize. Ben also convenes, with Professor Roy Foster (Queen Mary), Dr Lauren Arrington (Liverpool University), and Dr Simon Prince (Canterbury Christchurch) the London Irish Studies Seminar based at the School of Advance Studies, Senate House.

Publications and research outputs


Levitas, Ben. 2018. 'The Dancer and the Heart's Desire: W. B. Yeats and the Theatre of Modernity'. The Yeats Journal of Korea, 56, pp. 111-128. ISSN 1226-4946

Levitas, Ben. 2010. The Censoring of The Ginger Man, London and Dublin 1959, or, the “nipple nuttiness” of J. P. Donleavy. La recepció del teatre contemporani, XV, pp. 179-194. ISSN 1135-4178

Levitas, Ben. 2006. Censorship and Self-Censure in the Plays of J. M. Synge. Princeton University Library Chronicle, 68(1-2(1-2), pp. 253-276. ISSN 00328456


Levitas, Ben. 2002. The Theatre of Nation: Irish Drama and Cultural Nationalism 1890-1916. Clarendon Press. ISBN 9780199253432

Book Section

Levitas, Ben. 2024. The Healer and the Witch: Performative Transitions in the Theatre of Friel and Carr. In: , ed. The Revival in Irish Literature and Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Levitas, Ben. 2017. The Theatre of Modernity. In: Vincent Sherry, ed. The Cambridge History of Modernism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 350-370. ISBN 9781107034693

Levitas, Ben. 2016. The Abbey and the Idea of a Theatre. In: Nicholas Grene and Chris Morash, eds. The Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish Theatre. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 41-57. ISBN 9780198706137

Conference or Workshop Item

Levitas, Ben. 2022. '”All that pride and that humility”: W. B. Yeats and Lady Gregory'. In: 63rd Yeats International Summer School. Sligo, Ireland 28 July - 5 August 2022.

Levitas, Ben. 2019. '“Bridge of Glass”: Modernist Legacies in Druid’s Epic Forms'. In: Modernist Legacies and Futures: Modernist Studies Inaugural Conference. National University of Ireland (NUI), Galway, United Kingdom 17 - 18 May 2019.

Levitas, Ben. 2019. 'W, B. Yeats and the Daughters of Herodias: Ireland, Performative Theatre and the Age of Catastrophe'. In: Yeats and India: International Conference. Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Dehli, India 21 - 22 February 2019.

Edited Book

Holdeman, David and Levitas, Ben, eds. 2010. W. B. Yeats in Context. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-897705-1

Levitas, Ben and Holdeman, David, eds. 2009. W. B. Yeats In Context. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521897051

Cave, Richard and Levitas, Ben, eds. 2007. Irish Theatre in England. Dublin: Carysford Press. ISBN ISBN-10 1-904505-26-0

Research Interests

Ben's research focuses on connections between Irish literature, theatre and cultural and political history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. W. B. Yeats is also a specialism. He is interested more generally in the avant-garde, theatrical modernism and connections between theories of performance and performativity. With the aid of a Leverhulme Fellowship, Ben is currently researching his next book, with the working title of Ireland, Theatre and Modernity - a project that seeks to assess the relationship between theatrical innovation and national identity in 20th century Ireland.