Dr Anna Blackwell

Job: Programme Leader for English Literature, Senior Lecturer

Faculty: Arts, Design and Humanities

School/department: School of Humanities

Research group(s): Centre for Adaptations, English

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, UK, LE1 9BH

T: 01162078997

E: anna.blackwell@dmu.ac.uk

W: www.adaptation.uk.com

Social Media: twitter.com/ablackwell89


Personal profile

Dr Anna Blackwell is a Senior Lecturer working in the Centre for Adaptations and Programme Leader for the BA English Literature programmes. 

Anna has published widely on the topic of the contemporary Shakespearean actor and popular cultural adaptations of Shakespeare. Her first monograph on this topic, Shakespearean Celebrity in the Digital Age: Fan Cultures and Remediations was published in 2018. Other work in this area can be found in edited collections including Shakespeare’s Cultural Capital: His Economic Impact from the Sixteenth to the Twenty-first Century (Palgrave), The Routledge Companion to Adaptation (Routledge) and Broadcast Your Shakespeare (Arden) and journal articles in Adaptation, Critical Review and English Literature (see below). 

Anna’s other points of research interest include early modern drama, cultural representations of masculinity, internet culture more broadly and Hollywood. Her current research project will see her focus on craft versions of canonical literary texts and figures and explore adaptation in a material sense -- both the transformation of literature into objects, and the conditions of craftspeople working within neoliberal gig economies. 

Anna is glad to receive expressions of interest for PhD study in any of the above research areas and adaptation studies or early modern studies more generally. 

Research group affiliations

The Centre for Adaptations

Publications and outputs


Anna Blackwell, ‘Play on: Shakespeare and the GIF’, The Arden Research Handbook to Shakespeare and Adaptation, ed. Diana Henderson and Stephen O’Neill (Arden, 2022)

Anna Blackwell and Marina Gerzic (eds), special edition of Shakespeare Bulletin, ‘Royal Bodies in Shakespearean Adaptations on Screen’, Vol. 39, Number 1, Spring 2021.

—. ‘From Kantorowicz to the Windsors: Shakespeare and Adapting the Royal Body on Screen’

Anna Blackwell,  ‘Sympathize with the Losers: Performing Intellectual Loserdom in Shakespearean Biopic’, Variable Objects: Dispossessed Agency in Shakespeare, ed. Valerie Fazel and Louise Geddes (Edinburgh University Press, 2021).

—. ‘“#DifferenceMakesUs”: Selling Shakespeare Online’, English Literature: Theories Interpretations and Contexts, Vol. 5 (December 2018), 7-22. https://edizionicafoscari.unive.it/media/pdf/article/english-literature/2018/5/art-10.14277-EL-2420-823X-2018-05-002_VCJnS6D.pdf

—. Shakespearean Celebrity in the Digital Age: Fan Culture and Remediations (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). 

—. ‘Tweeting from the grave: Shakespeare, adaptation and social media’, The Routledge Companion to Adaptation, ed. Dennis Cutchins, Katja Krebs and Eckart Voits (Routledge, 2018).

Anna Blackwell and Natalie Hayton, ‘A Conversation with Andrew Davies’, Special Issue: Andrew Davies: The Screenwriter as Adaptor, Journal of Adaptation in Film and Performance, Vol. 10, Issue 1, 2017, 17-28.

Anna Blackwell and Natalie Hayton, ‘Editorial’, Special Issue: Andrew Davies: The Screenwriter as Adaptor, Journal of Adaptation in Film and Performance, Vol. 10, Issue 1, 2017, 3-16.

Anna Blackwell, ‘“How do I act so well?” The British ‘Shakespearean’ actor and cultural cachet’, Adaptation, Awards Culture and the Value of Prestige, ed. Colleen Kennedy-Karpat and Eric Sandberg (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017).

—. ‘Tom Hiddleston (@twhiddleston). Actor’: Performing the ‘Shakespearean’ online’, Broadcast Your Shakespeare, ed. Stephen O’Neill (Arden, 2017).

—. ‘Shakespearean Actors, Memes, Social Media and the Circulation of Shakespearean “Value”’, Shakespeare’s Cultural Capital: His Economic Impact from the Sixteenth to the Twenty-first Century, ed. Dominic Shellard and Siobhan Keenan (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).

 —. ‘“Yes, I have gained my experience.” (As You Like It, 4.3.23) Kenneth Branagh and adapting the ‘Shakespearean’ actor’, Critical Survey, Vol. 25, Issue 3 (Winter 2014), 29-42. 

—. Winning entry for the 2014 Adaptation Essay Prize: ‘Adapting Coriolanus: Tom Hiddleston’s Body and Action Cinema’, Adaptation, Vol. 7, Issue 3 (Summer 2014), 344-52.

—. ‘“More than just a man” Revenge and the Superhuman: Hamlet and the Superhero Blockbuster’, The Shakespeare Institute Review, Vol. 2 (Spring 2013) 6-11.

—. ‘Review, Shakespeare and the English-speaking Cinema. By RUSSELL JACKSON’, MLR, Vol. 111, Part 3 (July 2016) 850-1.

Anna Blackwell and Catherine Han, ‘Review: Seventh Annual Association of Adaptation Studies Conference, University of York, York, 27-28th September 2012’, Adaptation, Vol. 6, No. 1, (January 2013) 132-8. 

Key research outputs

Anna Blackwell, Shakespearean Celebrity in the Digital Age: Fan Cultures and Remediations (2018)

Research interests/expertise

  • Adaptation Studies
  • Film Studies
  • Shakespeare
  • Early modern drama
  • Shakespearean actors
  • Hollywood
  • Gender Studies
  • Performance Studies

Areas of teaching

  • Adaptation Studies
  • Shakespeare
  • Early modern drama
  • Drama
  • Social media
  • Digital culture


  • BA (Hons) English Literature, Cardiff University (September 2010)
  • MA Film and Literature, University of York (January 2012) 
  • PhD Shakespeare and Adaptation, De Montfort University (March 2015)
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, De Montfort University (March 2020)

Courses taught

ENGL1009: Reading, Writing and Screening Literature

ENGL1010: Poetry and Society

ENGL1012: Introduction to Drama

ENGL1013: Introduction to Drama – Shakespeare

ENGL2018: History of English: Medieval to Augustan Literature

ENGL3088: Sex, Belief and Society in Seventeenth Century Poetry

ENGL3000: Dissertation

ENGL3014: Watching Early Modern Drama: Spectatorship and Fandom

ENGL3021: Adapting the Wizarding World

ENGL3100: Radical and Contemporary Adaptations

HUMS5003: Conference Organisation and Presentation

Honours and awards

Winner of the 2014 Adaptation journal essay prize for ‘Adapting Coriolanus: Tom Hiddleston’s Body and Action Cinema’, Adaptation, Vol. 7, Issue 3 (Summer 2014), 344-52. 

Membership of external committees

Reviewer for Panel C for the Midlands 4 Cities PhD programme (2020, 2021)

Membership of professional associations and societies

  • Treasurer and trustee of the Association of Adaptation Studies

Professional licences and certificates

  • Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, De Montfort University (March 2020)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy


Co-Investigator on the Transforming Middlemarch AHRC-funded project (January 2022-April 2023)

Conference attendance

Journeys: Memory and Migration, Association of Adaptation Studies, Margaret University Edinburgh, 8-11 June 2021, 'Crafting the Canon: Etsy and Material Forms of adaptation'

Midlands Network of Popular Culture, 'Let’s run away and live on a farm: #cottagecore, craft and Shakespeare', 2 December 2020, invited paper 

British Graduate Shakespeare Conference, The Shakespeare Institute, September 2020, Invited plenary

Shakespeare’s Sources, University of Leicester, 16 April 2020 (Postponed), Invited plenary (TBC).

Shakespeare’s Words, Sapienza University of Rome, 20-21 February 2020, ‘“[The] classic moment”: The echoes of King Lear in contemporary fiction and television’, invited paper. 

Shakespeare on Screen in the Digital Age: Montpellier Congress, Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier, 26-29 June 2019, convenor of: ‘Royal Bodies in Shakespearean Adaptations on Screen’. 

Casts and Casting: Perspectives from Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art, University of Hertfordshire, 10-11 November 2018, ‘‘And, hark, what discard follows!”: Casting The Hollow Crown for pre- and post-Brexit Britain’, invited paper. 

Shakespeare Association of America, Los Angeles, 28-31 March 2018. ‘A horse? A horse? A horsie!: King Richard III’s Cultural Afterlife’. 

European Shakespeare Research Association, July 2017, University of Gdansk, Poland, ‘Performing the Shakespearean Online.

Surface and Substance: Reflections on the Male Star, May 2016, University of St. Andrews, ‘“The old wizard flashes his impressive wand”: Ian McKellen, ageing, beauty and difference.’

Shakespearean Communities, April 2016, University of Portsmouth, ‘[Shakespeare] belongs to you, to all of us, together’: Online communities, #ShakespeareSunday and fan creativity.’

Adaptation and the Metropolis, September 2015, Association of Adaptation Studies, Institute of English Studies, ‘Saving the day? The American superhero film adaptation and the city.’

Assuming Gender, November 2014, Cardiff University, Invited guest lecture:  '"He does what he wants to do, basically." Ian McKellen: Gender, Politics and Star Persona.’  

Reforming Shakespeare, June 2014, De Montfort University, ‘Coriolanus: Tom Hiddleston’s body and action cinema.’

Midlands3Cities Introduction and Welcome Event, May 2014, University of Nottingham, ‘Exploring the Shakespearean actor as the site of adaptive encounter in contemporary culture (1996-onwards).’  

Exploring British Film and Television Stardom, November 2013, Queen Mary University, ‘“We can build Jerusalem. And it will be for everyone.” Kenneth Branagh, Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Caliban: stardom and national identity in the London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.’  

Disturbing Adaptations, September 2013, Association of Adaptation Studies, Linnæus University, Växjö, Sweden, ‘“Yes, I have gained my experience.” (As You Like It, 4.3.23) Kenneth Branagh and adapting the ‘Shakespearean’ actor.’

Marginalised Mainstream, November 2012, Institute of English Studies, ‘“[B]eneath his talents”: Critical reception, Thor, Kenneth Branagh and Adapting a ‘Shakespearean’ Identity.’ –‘Marginalised Mainstream.’

Current research students

Alice Payne, '"[M]ost certainly not waiting": Reconstructing Circe and Penelope in female-authored adaptations of Homer's The Odyssey'. PT, First supervisor. 

Andre Cowen, 'Stories in a different perspective: a study of the adaptation of The Witcher and Metro into video games'. FT, First supervisor. 

Externally funded research grants information

Co-Investigator on the Transforming Middlemarch AHRC-funded project (January 2022-April 2023). PI: Professor Justin Smith

Professional esteem indicators

  • Completion of De Montfort’s competitive Future Research Leaders scheme (2018)
  • Nominated in the Best New Researcher category at the ADH Research Awards (2018)
  • Nominated in the Best Book category at the ADH Research Awards (2019)
  • Nominated for the Vice Chancellor Distinguished Teaching Award (2021)
  • Nominated for Most Adaptable/Innovative Lecturer (2021)


I have peer reviewed for the following journals: 

  • Adaptation
  • Early Modern Literary Studies
  • Journal of Adaptation in Film and Performance
  • Participations: International Journal of Audience Research
  • Shakespeare
  • Shakespeare Bulletin

Public-facing events/talks

  • 'Transforming Middlemarch' talk at George Eliot Day for the George Eliot Fellowship, Nuneaton, 30 April 2020
  • ‘Phoenix Talks Introduction’, introduction to screening of Murder on the Orient Express, Phoenix Cinema Leicester, November 10, 2017 https://www.phoenix.org.uk/blog/moustache-on-the-orient-express/

  • ‘Adapting Henry IV for Film’, Invited guest lecture at Filming Shakespeare, Annual Shakespeare Short Film Competition, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, August 2017.

  • Public Q&A with Andrew Davies, De Montfort University, March 2017
  • Curator of pop-up exhibition on the Andrew Davies Archive for the Heritage Centre, De Montfort University, March 2017

Anna Blackwell