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‘Last Scene of All’: Death, Dying, and the Dead on Stage

Image for Death on Stage
Thursday, March 15, 2018 (All day)
St Catherine's College, Oxford


Dr Jessica Goodman (Associate Professor and Tutorial Fellow in French) is hosting a conference on ‘Last Scene of All’: Death, Dying, and the Dead on Stage'.

This conference will bring together researchers working on death, dying and the dead on stage, across different countries, genres and time periods, in order to explore the many ways in which the ‘last scene of all’; common to all cultures and individuals, is depicted, negotiated and exploited by writers and practitioners in that very human, bodily form that is theatrical performance.

The topics to be explored range from the theoretical, to the literary, to the intensely practical. They include: the visual rhetoric of onstage death, the function of the ghost in different theatrical contexts, death and theatrical celebrity, suicide in fin de siècle England, corpses in early modern France, operatic deaths, the (un)performability of death, and theatre’s own capacity to bring the dead back, night after night.

This conference builds on an event run in the French sub-faculty in 2017, entitled ‘Whither Death?

Click here to read the conference abstracts. To register, contact


9.00 Registration

TORCH Seminar Room, Radcliffe Humanities Building

9.20 Welcome

9.30-10.40 Cecilia Feilla, English and World Literatures, Marymount Manhattan College

Crypts, Corpses, and the Living Dead in Revolutionary Melodrama


10.40-11.40 Panel 1: Death and (Real) Life

Sarah Burdett, English, Warwick

‘’Tis Gallia’s hopeless Queen!’: Resurrecting the Dead in John Philip Kemble’s Macbeth (1794)

James Harriman-Smith, English, Newcastle

Feasting upon Fame: Garrick’s Deaths


11.40-11.55 Coffee


11.55-12.55 Panel 2: Women, Dying

Sophie Duncan, English, Magdalen College, Oxford

‘The child mustn’t lie here for a show’: suicidal women on the fin-de-siècle stage

Alexandra Wilson, Music, Oxford Brookes

Performing death in Puccini’s La bohème


12.55-13.50 Lunch


13.50-14.50 Panel 3: Death and Theatrical Creation

Nicholas Ridout, Theatre Studies, Queen Mary University of London


Dominic Glynn, French/Comparative Literature, IMLR

(Un)performable deaths: how do you die without dying?


14.50-16.20 Panel 4: Seeing and Not Seeing Tragic Death

Emanuela Tandello, Italian, Oxford

‘So you believe yourself to be still alive?’ The tale of the dead poet, the ghostly Army, and ritual death in Pirandello’s The

Mountain Giants

Jonathan Patterson, French, St Hilda’s College, Oxford

Killing Coligny: The Stages of the Admiral’s Death

Joseph Harris, French, Royal Holloway

Witnessing death in Corneille’s L’Illusion comique


16.20-16.35 Coffee


16.35-17.45 Fiona Macintosh, Classics, St Hilda's, Oxford

‘The whole point of living is preparing to die’: Dying into death in tragic drama


17.45-18.15 Walk to St Catherine’s College

18.15-19.15 Performance

19.15-19.45 Drinks reception

20.00 Conference dinner (for speakers and chairs)


The conference is kindly supported by the MHRA and TORCH (Theatre and Performance Network, and Humanities & Identities strand).













Contact name: 
Jessica Goodman
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