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Staff profiles

Professor Chloe Preedy

Associate Professor

My research focuses mainly on early modern drama, although I am also interested in the prose and poetry of this period, the modern afterlives of Renaissance people, publications, and playhouses, and spatial questions in relation to modern drama. My first book, Marlowe's Literary Scepticism: Politic Religion and Post-Reformation Polemic (Arden, 2013), was awarded the Roma Gill Prize for the best new work in Marlowe studies, and I recently co-edited Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta with Professor William Sherman for Arden Early Modern Drama (2021). I have published articles on the drama of Shakespeare, Heywood, Jonson, Kyd, and Peele, among others, and I have pieces on Arden of Faversham, Southwell’s poetry, Shakespeare's comedy, and Nashe’s prose in development. Between 2018 and 2021, I led an AHRC-funded project, Atmospheric Theatre: Open-Air Performance and the Environment, with my colleague Dr Evelyn O'Malley (Drama) and in partnership with the Dukes' Theatre, the Minack, and the Willow Globe; this project investigated how attending an open-air dramatic performance might influence playgoers’ awareness of their aerial environment and involved audience and practitioner interviews, network meetings, focus groups, performance workshops, and the development of a project website with linked educational resources. As part of this project, I co-edited a special issue of Performance Research, 'On Air', with Evelyn O'Malley, which was published in September 2022. My related individual monograph, Aerial Environments on the Early Modern Stage: Theatres of the Air, 1576-1609, was recently published by Oxford University Press (2022). I regularly teach undergraduate modules on Shakespeare, early modern literature, and dramatic texts, and act as a PhD supervisor. My latest research project considers the historical relationship between weather, outdoor playing, and the dramatic and prose representation of early modern environmental disasters.

Research interests

My work focuses mainly on the ways in which early modern drama engaged with and responded to sixteenth- and seventeenth-century developments in the history of ideas and environmental attitudes. I am particularly interested in theatrical performance, early modern environmentalism, and questions of belief. My first book, Marlowe's Literary Scepticism: Politic Religion and Post-Reformation Polemic, explored the relationship between Christopher Marlowe's exposure to decades of inter-confessional antagonism and the sceptical attitudes toward religious belief that predominate in his poetry and his dramatic writings. In related articles, I looked at Marlowe's literary engagement with contemporary debates about miracles and the disputed issue of divine-right monarchy. My interest in early modern expressions of scepticism has led me to consider how allusions to classical philosophy and classical belief systems are used in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century drama, which culminated in two pieces on the role of prayer in early modern theatrical performance and the influence that debates about women’s education had on contemporary dramatic narratives of revenge. I have also published articles and book chapters on Ben Jonson’s anti-Puritan drama and the dramatic representation of theatrical space, Elizabethan Biblical drama, and Thomas Heywood’s classical Four Ages plays, and I have pieces forthcoming on Robert Southwell’s Catholic poetry and Thomas Nashe’s prose performances of authorship. My most recent book, Aerial Environments on the Early Modern Stage: Theatres of the Air, 1576-1609 (Oxford University Press, 2022), investigates the aerial dramaturgies of Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre, exploring aspects such as air quality, flight, pollution, the weather, and wind power. This research was conducted as part of an AHRC-funded project on Atmospheric Theatre: Open-Air Performance and the Environment, in collaboration with Evelyn O'Malley, which also led us to develop and publish a co-edited special issue of Performance Research, 'On Air' (2022). My current and ongoing research interests include an investigation into the significance of weather for early modern theatrical experience, the role of olfactory effects in early modern performance, and the influence of spatially-centred and networked approaches within modern reception histories of early modern theatre.

Research supervision

I an interested in hearing about research proposals that relate to any area of early modern literature, especially projects on the drama of William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, or their contemporaries. I am very happy to consider working with MRes or PhD applicants with interests in sixteenth- or seventeenth-century drama; theatrical performance; early modern reception histories; early modern environmentalism; revenge literature; or early modern religious conflict.


I regularly teach undergraduate modules on Shakespeare and early modern literature, and I have recently launched a new option module that considers the spatial dynanics of modern drama. I have received various teaching award nominations from my students, and have been shortlisted for the annual Exeter Teaching Awards in the categories of Most Supportive Staff Member (2015) and Best Lecturer (2016). At postgraduate level, I was involved with the MA in International Heritage Management & Consultancy between 2020 and 2022, and I currently act as a PhD supervisor. I am a qualified teacher and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. 

Modules taught


I completed my PhD at the University of York in 2011. Before joining the University of Exeter in 2013, I was a Teaching Associate in Shakespeare and Early Modern Drama at the University of Cambridge. During my time at Cambridge I was also a Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College. I have worked at Exeter since September 2013, teaching at both the Penryn and Streatham campuses. 

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