Ben Levitas

Staff details

Position Reader in Theatre and Performance
Email b.levitas (
Phone +44 (0)20 7919 7427
Ben Levitas

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.

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.

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. 2004. Mirror Up to Nurture: J. M. Synge and His Critics. Modern Drama, 47(4)(4), pp. 572-584. ISSN 00267694

Levitas, Ben. 2003. Plumbing the Depths: Irish Realism and the Working Class from Shaw to O'Casey. Irish University Review, 33(1)(1), pp. 133-149. ISSN 00211427


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

Book Section

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

Levitas, Ben. 2016. A Temper of Misgiving: W. B. Yeats and the Ireland of Synge’s Time. In: Senia Pašeta, ed. Uncertain Futures: Essays About the Irish Past for Roy Foster. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 110-122. ISBN 9780198748274

Levitas, Ben. 2014. Modernist Experiments in Irish Theatre. In: Joe Cleary, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Irish Modernism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 111-127. ISBN 1-107-65581-2

Levitas, Ben. 2011. Reading and the Irish Revival, 1891-1922. In: Clare Hutton and Patrick Walsh, eds. The Oxford History of the Irish Book: Volume 5: The Irish Book in English 1891-2000. 5 Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 43-69. ISBN 978-0-19-924911-4

Levitas, Ben. 2009. J. M. Synge: European encounters. In: P. J. Matthews, ed. Cambridge Companion to J. M. Synge. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 77-91. ISBN 978-0-521-11010-5

Levitas, Ben. 2008. The Abbey Opens: A First Night Revisited. In: S. E. Wilmer, ed. National Theatres in a Changing Europe. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 73-83. ISBN 978-0-230-52109-4

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