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Dr. Nicholas Johnson

Associate Professor (Drama)

Nicholas Johnson is Associate Professor of Drama at Trinity College Dublin, where he has worked full-time since 2008. He co-founded the Trinity Centre for Beckett Studies, within which he co-directs the Beckett Summer School and the Samuel Beckett Laboratory. With Jonathan Heron (Warwick), he co-authored the monograph "Experimental Beckett" (Cambridge UP, 2020) and co-edited the "Performance Issue" (23.1, 2014) and "Pedagogy Issue" (29.1, 2020) of the Journal of Beckett Studies. He co-edited two volumes of essays from the Beckett Working Group of the International Federation for Theatre Research: "Influencing Beckett / Beckett Influencing" (L'Harmattan, 2020) and "Beckett's Voices / Voicing Beckett" (Brill, 2021). He has published widely in journals and edited collections on adaptations and intermedial performances of Beckett, directing and acting Beckett, Beckett and censorship, and the use of performance as a tool for research. A secondary research interest, and the topic of a monograph now in progress, relates to how theatre laboratory work can generate new knowledge for more interdisciplinary contexts in a wide range of fields. Johnson has undertaken numerous practice-based research projects since 2008, including collaborations with literature scholars, art historians, educators, translators, sociologists, historians, computer scientists, and medical clinicians in which performance has played a crucial role. As convenor of the Creative Arts Practice college-wide research theme, and as committee member of both the Neurohumanities and Medical and Health Humanities initiatives at TCD, Johnson's research is extending the role of theatre and performance in these alternative settings. Johnson is a literary translator (from German), with current and past projects on Toller, Kafka, Frisch, Trakl, and Brecht, including the first translation and publication of Brecht's "David" Fragments from 1919-21 (Bloomsbury, 2020). These translation projects signal a further research interest in German Expressionism during the Weimar period, and more widely in modernism's legacy. Johnson continues to direct, perform, and work as a dramaturg in a variety of theatre contexts in Ireland, Germany, and the UK, and he gives talks and workshops worldwide. He has held visiting research positions at Freie Universität Berlin and Yale University.
  American theatre, playwriting   Dramatic/Theatre Arts   Modern and contemporary German drama and theatre   Political theatre   Samuel Beckett   Theatre Practice

Details Date
Steering Committee Member & co-founder, IMBAS (society for Creative Arts researchers in Ireland)
Scientific Committee Member, Samuel Beckett Society Conference, Mexico City
co-convenor, Beckett Working Group, International Federation of Theatre Research 2014 - 2018
co-convenor, Artists' Committee of Performance Studies International 2010 - 2014
Guest Editor (twice) & Peer Reviewer, Edinburgh University Press (Journal of Beckett Studies)
Peer Reviewer, Liverpool University Press (Journal of Romance Studies)
Peer Reviewer, Taylor & Francis (Contemporary Theatre Review)
Peer Reviewer, Springer (American Journal of Cultural Sociology)
External Reviewer, Swiss National Science Foundation (humanities research grants)
Peer Reviewer, Cambridge University Press (Theatre Research International)
Consultant, Irish National Association of Higher Education Careers Services (on open-space learning techniques, affecting module design for career preparedness at national level)
Peer Reviewer, Carysfort Press (Devised Performance in Irish Theatre)
External Examiner, practice-based research PhD at University of Cape Town
Consultant, National University of Ireland (Maynooth) Access Office, creating policy on proofreading and learning support for dyslexic students
Language Skill Reading Skill Writing Skill Speaking
English Fluent Fluent Fluent
French Medium Medium Medium
German Fluent Fluent Fluent
Spanish Medium Basic Medium
Details Date From Date To
IMBAS - Irish network of creative arts researchers (co-founder & steering group) 2017 present
International Federation of Theatre Research (co-convenor, Beckett Working Group) 2014 2018
Performance Studies International (PSi) - co-convenor, Artists' Committee 2010 2014
Modern Languages Association (Member, Samuel Beckett Society) 2008 present
Theatre Forum Ireland (professional association of Irish theatre artists) 2007 present
US-Ireland Alliance (transatlantic non-profit supporting culture, business & politics) 2004 present
Adrian Curtin, Nicholas Johnson, Naomi Paxton, and Claire Warden (eds.), The Edinburgh Companion to Modernism in Contemporary Theatre, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 2023, 1 - 480pp, Book, PUBLISHED  URL
Pan Pan, 'The Sudden', Dublin Dance Festival, Project Arts Centre, 2023, -, Theatre Production, PERFORMED  URL  URL
Restaging Macklin in, editor(s)Ian Newman and David O'Shaughnessy , Charles Macklin and the Theatres of London, Liverpool, Liverpool University Press, 2022, pp265 - 280, [Nicholas Johnson], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED  URL  URL
Love à la Mode in Performance: A Dialogue in, editor(s)Ian Newman and David O'Shaughnessy , Charles Macklin and the Theatres of London, Liverpool, Liverpool University Press, 2022, pp281 - 294, [Colm Summers and Nicholas Johnson], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED  URL  URL
Mandy Lee, Balázs Apor, Nicholas Johnson, '"We Persist, Therefore We Have Hope": Trauma and Resilience of Hongkongers through Their Art since 2019', Trinity Long Room Hub, 2022, -, Exhibition, EXHIBITED
Laurens De Vos, Mariko Hori Tanaka, and Nicholas E. Johnson, Beckett's Voices / Voicing Beckett, Leiden / Boston, Brill, 2021, 1 - 341pp, Notes: [[No. 12, Themes in Theatre Series; Samuel Beckett Working Group, IFTR]], Book, PUBLISHED
Nicholas E. Johnson and Jonathan Heron, Experimental Beckett: Contemporary Performance Practices, Cambridge, Cambridge UP, 2020, 1 - 86pp, Book, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL
David J. Shepherd and Nicholas E. Johnson, Bertolt Brecht and the David Fragments (1919-1921): An Interdisciplinary Study, London, Bloomsbury Academic, 2020, 1 - 224pp, Book, PUBLISHED  URL
Anita Rákóczy, Mariko Hori Tanaka, and Nicholas E. Johnson, Influencing Beckett / Beckett Influencing, Budapest and Paris, L'Harmattan / Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary, 2020, 1 - 172pp, Book, PUBLISHED  URL
Néill O'Dwyer, Gareth W.Young, Nicholas Johnson, Emin Zerman, Aljosa Smolic, Mixed Reality and Volumetric Video in Cultural Heritage: Expert Opinions on Augmented and Virtual Reality, Human-Computer Interaction International, Copenhagen, Denmark, 19-24 July, Springer, 2020, pp195 - 214, Conference Paper, PUBLISHED  DOI

Page 1 of 10
Nicholas Johnson, Samuel Beckett and Border Thinking, Warsaw, Poland, 13 May, 2018, University of Warsaw, Notes: [Guest lecture], Invited Talk, PRESENTED
Nicholas Johnson & Sam Slote, Samuel Beckett Summer School, 2018, TCD, Notes: [Eighth Annual Beckett Summer School], Meetings /Conferences Organised, PRESENTED
Nicholas Johnson, How It is and Prose Performance, Perforum, Cork, Ireland, 15 February, 2017, University College Cork, Notes: [Invited Talk in connection with Gare St Lazare Ireland residency], Invited Talk, PRESENTED
Nicholas Johnson, "Beginning to End" and Prose Performance, Bann Beckett, Coleraine, Northern Ireland, 26 February, 2016, Riverside Theatre / UUC, Invited Talk, PRESENTED
Scott Hamilton (adaptor) / Nicholas Johnson (performer), 'Ill Seen Ill Said', Dublin & Antwerp, European Research Night / Antwerp Beckett Conference, 2015, -, Theatre Production, PERFORMED
Nicholas Johnson, 'Three Poems by Georg Trakl', Trinity Journal of Literary Translation, Vol III, Trinity College Dublin, 2015, 16 - 19, Translation, PUBLISHED
Nicholas Johnson, On Translating Ernst Toller's "Die Maschinenstürmer", Trinity Journal of Literary Translation, II, 2014, p76 - 91, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Nicholas Johnson, The Many Nations of Samuel Beckett, Theatre (X) Cai, Tokyo, Programme, 2014, p7 - 8, Review Article, PUBLISHED
Nicholas Johnson, 'The Brothers Karamazov', Samuel Beckett Theatre, Dublin, Painted Filly Theatre/Sugarglass Theatre, 2014, -, Notes: [Author of the adaptation developed from 2008-2013; Director of production through workshops and residential rehearsal process 2013-14; Performer of Ivan Karamazov in 2014.], Theatre Production, PERFORMED
Nicholas Johnson, 'The Howl Ensemble, after Allen Ginsberg', Samuel Beckett Centre, Dublin, European Research Night 2014, 2014, -, Notes: [Performance system based on Allen Ginsberg's poem "Howl"], Theatre Production, PERFORMED


Page 1 of 4
Award Date
Provost's Award for Teaching Excellence (early career award) 2013
Samuel Beckett Studentship (Government of Ireland/TCD Award) 2007
John McCormick Fellowship (research travel) 2006
George J. Mitchell Scholarship (US-Ireland Alliance) 2005
DAAD Research Fellowship (German Academic Exchange Service) 2004
Wallis Outstanding Senior Award (Northwestern University) 2003
I have spent the last decade publishing on Beckett in performance, directing Beckett projects internationally, and contributing to the scholarly infrastructure of international Beckett Studies. These activities culminated in the 2017 establishment of the Trinity Centre for Beckett Studies to consolidate our research, integrating the Samuel Beckett Laboratory, a space founded in 2013 by myself and Jonathan Heron (Warwick) for fundamental research into Beckett in performance, with the Samuel Beckett Summer School that I co-direct, now in its tenth year. How Beckett is received, taught, and understood is being expanded by the work that we do on experimental, intermedial, intercultural, and other forms of "applied" Beckett, and the international reach of the Summer School makes a public contribution as well. With Jonathan Heron, with whom I co-edited the 2014 "Performance Issue" and 2020 "Pedagogy Issue" of the Journal of Beckett Studies (23.1 and 29.1), I co-wrote "Experimental Beckett: Contemporary Performance Practices" for the new "Elements in Beckett Studies" series at Cambridge University Press (2020). Drawing on insights from this research into Beckett and the theatre laboratory, in recent years my work has pivoted to more interdisciplinary research projects in the areas of pedagogy (with Education), acting theory (with Neuroscience), VR and AI (with Computer Science), cultural trauma (with Sociology), and medical humanities (with both Medicine and Nursing/Midwifery). In my capacity as convener of the Creative Arts Practice research theme, I have discovered many opportunities to extend the impact of my "disciplinary" insights from within Drama. I am a literary translator (from German), with current and past projects on Brecht, Toller, Kafka, Frisch, and Trakl. These translation projects signal a further research interest in German Expressionism during the Weimar period, and more widely in the aesthetics and philosophies of modernism in the twentieth century. I am the co-editor of the forthcoming "Edinburgh Companion to Modernism in Contemporary Theatre" (2022).