Molly Ziegler

Research title

Staging Madness: representations of madness on the early modern English stage

Research summary

As one of the most internationally revived playwrights, Shakespeare’s works are continually reinterpreted to suit different theoretical aims.  My project explores how such interpretations engage with psychological discourses to suit modern views on mental illness.  In doing so, I ask how Elizabethan insanity, through contextual shifts in social perception and diagnostics, might translate to the contemporary stage.  The key questions underpinning this research include: how have theatre practitioners represented madness in modern Shakespearean stage adaptations?  What dramaturgical approaches are used in such adaptations to portray insanity?  How do these representations fit into and/or contest current debates on mental illness?  With this aim, I hope to also interrogate theatre’s role in constructing and challenging meanings of madness.  Specific areas of interest for this research include: Elizabethan and modern discourses on psychology/psychiatry, adaptation processes, Shakespeare studies, dramaturgical practices, gender studies, relationships between madness and environment.


  • 03/2016: College of Arts Research Support Award (£300)
  • 10/2015-09/2018: College of Arts PhD Scholarship, full-time maintenance and fees scholarship for PhD study (£24,500/year)
  • 09/2014-09/2015: University Trust International Leadership Scholarship, tuition fee scholarship for Taught Masters study (£5,000)
  • 09/2008-05/2012: Green Mountain Scholarship, tuition fee scholarship for Bachelor of Arts degree study ($15,000/year)


  • Level 2A – Classical to Modern

Additional information


  • Psi Chi – International Honour Society in Psychology
  • Delta Epsilon Sigma – National Catholic Honour Society (USA)
  • 2016: University of Glasgow Medical Humanities Network member