Clare Finburgh Delijani

Staff details

Clare Finburgh Delijani




Theatre and Performance


c.finburgh-delijani (

I specialise in French, Francophone and UK theatre, examining how they engage with social, global and climate justice.

I am the recipient of a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship (2023-26) during which I am tracing a history of postcolonial theatre in France from the 1950s to today. My book (Liverpool University Press) looks back at histories of colonialism, better to understand identity, community and the postcolonial nation today.

Inspired by playwrights like Marguerite Duras, Kateb Yacine and Jean Genet, I came to Theatre Studies through Modern Languages. This initial passion has developed into a research area, and I have published widely on modern and contemporary performance, for example Jean Genet (2012), Contemporary French Theatre and Performance (2011), and Jean Genet: Performance and Politics (2006).

A specialist in postcolonial and European culture, I strive to broaden and internationalise the curriculum, to reflect performance traditions from around the world, and inspire students from all backgrounds to believe that they/you can shape the future of world theatre and thought.

Academic qualifications

  • PhD French Studies, University College London
  • Diplôme d’Études Avancées en Lettres Modernes, Université de Toulouse II
  • Maîtrise en Lettres Modernes, Université de Toulouse II
  • BA Hons. French and German, University of Manchester

Research interests

I am the holder of a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship (2023-6).

My current book (contracted with Liverpool University Press) examines how contemporary theatre in France and its overseas territories looks back at histories of colonialism in Africa, the Caribbean and South East Asia, better to understand identity, community and the postcolonial nation today.

I look at contemporary theatre-makers including Marine Bachelot Nguyen, Alexandra Badea, Rébecca Chaillon, Bintou Dembélé, Nasser Djemaï, Latifa Laâbissi, Caroline Guiela Nguyen, Léonora Miano and Dieudonné Niangouna, to illustrate how postcolonial arts can promote racial and social justice by viewing contemporary societies through the prism of colonial pasts.

I analyse how work by these theatre-makers, often performed by postcolonial subjects themselves, might enable audiences to recognize how racialised identities are constructed from language and images, and can be reshaped to foster new ways of understanding our postcolonial world.

Grants and awards

2018: Reviewing Spectacle: The Pasts, Presents and Futures of the Situationist International in Performance
AHRC-funded team from the Universities of Paris-Nanterre and Glasgow, and artists from Belgium, France, the DRC and UK.

#FrenchTheatreSoWhite? A History of Postcolonial Theatre in France
Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship

Publications and research outputs


Finburgh Delijani, Clare. 2023. ‘Countering the Colonial Exhibition: Contemporary Performance in France’. Modern Languages Open, ISSN 2052-5397

Finburgh Delijani, Clare. 2023. Le « grin » de Fanon et le théâtre postcolonial en France. Théâtre/Public, 246, ISSN 0335-2927

Finburgh Delijani, Clare. 2022. The Afterlives of Enslavement: Histories of Racial Injustice in Contemporary Black British Theatre. Modern Drama, 65(4), pp. 471-498. ISSN 0026-7694


Finburgh, Clare. 2017. Watching War on the Twenty-First Century Stage: Spectacles of Conflict. London: Bloomsbury Academic. ISBN 9781472598660

Finburgh, Clare and Bradby, David. 2012. Jean Genet. Routledge. ISBN 9780415375061

Book Section

Finburgh Delijani, Clare. 2024. « Élargir le cercle » Le Public théâtral au XVIe siècle et aujourd’hui. In: Tiphaine Karsenti; Olivier Neveux and Christophe Triau, eds. Éloge du désordre : Pour Christian Biet. Paris: Classiques Garnier, pp. 45-64. ISBN 240615808X

Finburgh Delijani, Clare. 2024. ‘“I’m gonna tap you in the face with this hammer”: Torture and the Ethics of Spectatorship in Dennis Kelly’s Works’. In: Jacqueline Bolton and Nicholas Holden, eds. Beautiful Doom: The Works of Dennis Kelly on Stage and in Television. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Finburgh Delijani, Clare. 2022. Absence: Chloé Déchery’s A Duet Without You and Marguerite Duras. In: Chloé Déchery, ed. Performing Collaboration in Solo Performance: A Duet Without You and Practice as Research. Bristol: Intellect, pp. 122-136. ISBN 9781783209958

Edited Book

Finburgh Delijani, Clare, ed. 2024. A New History of Theatre in France. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781108908566

Finburgh, Clare and Boenisch, Peter, eds. 2018. The Great Stage Directors, volume 6: Littlewood, Planchon, Strehler. London: Bloomsbury Methuen. ISBN 9781474254168

Lavery, Carl and Finburgh, Clare, eds. 2015. Rethinking the Theatre of the Absurd: Ecology, the Environment and the Greening of the Modern Stage. London: Bloomsbury Academic. ISBN 9781472513205

Edited Journal

Finburgh Delijani, Clare, ed. 2023. Face au passé colonial, Théâtre/Public, 246. 0335-2927

Biet, Christian; De Simone, Cristina and Finburgh Delijani, Clare, eds. 2019. Internationale situationniste. Théâtre, Performance, Théâtre/Public, 231. 0335-2927

Finburgh, Clare, ed. 2014. Migration, Comparative Critical Studies, 11(2-3). 1744-1854

Media engagements

2021: Adapting Molière: Free Thinking, BBC Radio 3
Liz Lochead, Clare Finburgh-Delijani and Suzanne Jones join Anne McElvoy to look at adaptations and translations of France's great comic dramatist Molière, born in January 1622.

Conferences and talks

2022: ‘Hear the Bones Sing’: Postcolonial Ghost Plays.
Hosted by the Goldsmiths Centre for Comparative Literature.

2021: The Theatre of Marie Ndiaye – Closed Doors and Openings.
Hosted by the Dramatikkens hus, Oslo, Norway.

2021: Ghosts: From The Persians to Wajdi Mouawad’s The Blood of Promises.
Hosted by the University of Oxford, Archive for the Performance of Greek and Roman Drama.

2024: A Conversation with Marie NDiaye
The Peter Noble Lecture, University College London

2019: In conversation with Dennis Kelly.
An interview with the world-famous playwright Dennis Kelly, who studied at Goldsmiths.

Professional Experience

I am on the editorial committee for one of France’s leading theatre journals, Théâtre/Public.

I have translated several plays from French into English and I worked as a dramaturg for productions of British plays in France, and French works in the UK.