Applications invited for 2 Postdoctoral Posts in Eighteenth-century theatre history

Postdoctoral Researchers (2 positions available) – Eighteenth-century theatre history

Project: Theatronomics: the business of theatre, 1732–1809

School of English and Creative Arts, NUI Galway

Ref. No. NUIG RES 191-21

The National University of Ireland Galway is recruiting 2 full-time, fixed term Postdoctoral Researchers – Eighteenth-century theatre history for the project ‘Theatronomics: the business of theatre, 1732–1809′, led by Professor David O’Shaughnessy, School of English and Creative Arts. The positions are funded by a European Research Council Consolidator Grant awarded to Professor O’Shaughnessy. The successful candidates will be expected to start on 1 January 2022.

Project Description

This project investigates the finances of eighteenth-century theatre in London, focusing on the two major theatres, Covent Garden and Drury Lane, 1732–1809. Account-books, ledgers, and ephemeral manuscript folios, held mainly at the British Library and the Folger Library, are the project’s main sources; they contain extensive data on ticket sales, audience composition, actor salaries, payments to other theatre workers, repayments to investors, costume, scenery and other costs.

The project will transcribe and digitize these manuscripts and will use econometric methods to analyse the theatres’ underlying commercial operations. The project will apply these economic methodologies so that new perspectives on the careers of managers, playwrights, actors, and plays emerge. By synthesizing this complex data, Theatronomics will further enable us, by interacting with other datasets, to ask new interdisciplinary questions about the place of theatre within the city of London. The project will develop innovative digital humanities resources for the next generation of eighteenth-century theatre studies.

There are 5 interdependent work packages:

  • Work Package 1:  Revenue 1 (mapping and analysing the revenues generated by plays/playwrights);
  • Work Package 2:  Revenue 2 (mapping and analysing the socioeconomic profile of theatre audiences);
  • Work Package 3:  Costs 1 (mapping and analysing actor salaries over the life-cycle of careers);
  • Work Package 4:  Costs 2 (mapping and analysing other costs e.g. advertising, administration, security, music, scenography);
  • Work Package 5:  The new theatre history (developing case-studies by correlating financial data/trends from the other work packages with external factors affecting attendance such as weather, military conflict, and parliamentary events).

The research team will comprise of the PI, 5 postdoctoral researchers, and a Research Assistant. They will be based in the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Studies, located in the Hardiman Research Building.

Contract duration:  1 January 2022 – 31 December 2024 (36 months)

The successful candidates will work closely with the project team and Principal Investigator Professor David O’Shaughnessy, and play a leading role in the development of new interdisciplinary methodologies for the analysis of costs and revenues of the two major London theatres. They will develop dynamic profiles of theatres, managers, playwrights, plays, and the theatre audience as the repertory evolves across the period (WP 1 and WP2). They will also research the salary lifecycle of the Georgian actor as well as building up a full picture of the other costs incurred by the theatres during the period (WP 3 and WP 4). The research roles will involve working in partnership with cultural economists to develop econometric analytical frameworks that will meet the needs of humanities scholarship (no expertise in economics is expected). The roles will also involve some coding for which full training will be provided.

The work of these postdoctoral researchers includes the following duties:

  • Primary research into the careers of actors, managers, playwrights, and other theatre employees
  • Primary research into eighteenth-century theatre financial data
  • Analysing the revenues/costs of the theatre
  • Developing a detailed profile of the Georgian actor’s salary lifecycle
  • Developing profiles of the theatre audiences across the period
  • Associated administrative duties
  • Contributing to the project website, social media outputs
  • Prepare research work for publication, individually or in collaboration with research team, and disseminate results as appropriate (peer-reviewed publications, conference presentations)


Suitable candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • PhD in eighteenth- or nineteenth-century theatrical culture or a related field (submitted before interview date)
  • Significant experience in archival and historical research
  • Excellent writing and communication skills
  • Ability to work well both collaboratively and independently
  • Highly motivated, with excellent organisational skills

Desirable criteria:

  • Experience of working with digital humanities / TEI
  • Experience of working with databases
  • Experience of quantitative research
  • Excellent IT skills / website design / social media
  • Peer-reviewed publication record

Both researchers will work under the direct supervision of Professor David O’Shaughnessy.

To Apply

Applications should include a covering letter outlining the applicant’s suitability for the role, CV, a sample of academic written work (e.g. published article, thesis chapter), and the contact details of two referees. Applications should be sent via email (in PDF only) to  

Please put the relevant reference number in subject line of e-mail application.

Salary: €39,186 per annum (public sector pay policy rules pertaining to new entrants will apply)

Start: 1 January 2022

Further information on research and working at NUI Galway is available on Research at NUI Galway

For information on moving to Ireland please see

Further informal enquiries concerning this position may be made by contacting Professor David O’Shaughnessy:

Closing date for receipt of applications is 5.00 pm, 7th October 2021. 

Interviews are planned to be held week commencing 4th November 2021.

Due to the University closure related to COVID-19, interviews will have to take place virtually and start dates may need to be adjusted.

NUI Galway reserves the right to readvertise or extend the closing date for this post.

National University of Ireland Galway is an equal opportunities employer.

All positions are recruited in line with Open, Transparent, Merit (OTM) and Competency based recruitment.