CLOSED – Applications invited for Postdoctoral Researcher – Economics / Economic History

Postdoctoral Researcher – ‘Theatronomics: the business of theatre, 1732–1809’

Cultural Economics, School of English and Creative Arts, NUI Galway

Ref. No. NUIG RES 108-22

The National University of Ireland Galway is recruiting a full-time, fixed term Postdoctoral Researcher – Economics / Economic History for the project ‘Theatronomics: the business of theatre, 1732–1809′, led by Professor David O’Shaughnessy, School of English and Creative Arts.

The position is funded by a European Research Council Consolidator Grant awarded to Professor O’Shaughnessy and is available from 1 September 2022 to contract end date of 31 August 2024 (24 months).

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, 4 postdoctoral researchers, and 2 Research Assistants. They will be based in the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Studies, located in the Hardiman Research Building.

Job Description:

The successful candidate will use their expertise in economics to 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 analysing the revenues of the two major London theatres of the eighteenth century. 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 examine 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. (WP3 and WP 4). The roles will involve working in partnership with theatre historians to develop econometric analytical frameworks that will meet the needs of humanities scholarship.

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


  • Developing appropriate econometric models for the analysis of theatre financial data
  • Profiling actors, managers, playwrights, other theatre employees from a financial perspective
  • 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)

Qualifications/Skills required:

Essential Requirements:

  • PhD in Economics / Economic History or a cognate discipline, with a significant econometric element (submitted before interview date)
  • Significant experience with large data-sets
  • Excellent writing and communication skills
  • Ability to work well both collaboratively and independently
  • Highly motivated, with excellent organisational skills

Desirable Requirements:

  • Interest in cultural economics / labour economics / economic history / economics of the arts / industrial economics
  • Experience of quantitative research
  • Peer-reviewed publication record
  • Experience of working with digital humanities / TEI

Salary: PDR 1 €39,522 to PDR 6 €45,611 per annum (public sector pay policy rules pertaining to new entrants will apply)

Start date: Position is available from 1 September 2022

Continuing Professional Development/Training

Researchers at NUI Galway are encouraged to avail of a range of training and development opportunities designed to support their personal career development plans.  ‘NUI Galway provides continuing professional development supports for all researchers seeking to build their own career pathways either within or beyond academia.  Researchers are encouraged to engage with our Researcher Development Centre (RDC) upon commencing employment – see for further information.’ 

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

To Apply:

Applications to 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 reference number NUIG RES 108-22 in subject line of e-mail application.

Closing date for receipt of applications is 5.00 pm, Thursday 2 June, 2022. 

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.