Melissa Merchant  from Murdoch University in Perth Australia.

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    Dr Melissa Merchant
    PhD Theatre and Drama, B.A. English (Hons), B.A. Media

    Education, Early Career Researcher

    About me

    I am an early career researcher and sessional academic in the School of Arts at Murdoch University.  As a sessional staff member, I have devised, developed, coordinated, lectured and tutored units in English and Creative Arts. In addition to this, for the past seven years, I have worked within interdisciplinary units, allowing me to engage with students from a diverse range of disciplines on a variety of topics. My research areas, which were the focus in my PhD, are Shakespeare, Restoration drama, adaptation and actresses. I have also worked on projects relating to disability and the media.

    Teaching area

    Unit Coordination and Lecturing

    English and Creative Arts/Theatre and Drama

    EGL106 Drama, Theatre and Performance; EGL240 Children’s Theatre; EGL342 Comparative Theatre; EGL348 Shakespeare

    Media and Communication

    CMS202 Old Media, New Media; CMS203 Audiences, Users and Participants (Transnational); CMS304 Communicating Global Issues (Transnational); COM204 Global Media and Culture; COM303 Media Audiences; COM304 Communicating Global Issues (transnational); MCC213 Communication Research (Transnational); MCC236 Media Audiences and the Public (Transnational); MCC2481 Screen Texts (Transnational)

    Research Skills

    BAR200/OBAR200 Developing Research Skills and Methods (Murdoch/OUA/Transnational); OBAR300 Advanced Research in the Arts (OUA/Transnational)


    In addition to also teaching in the units listed above, I have tutored:

    English and Creative Arts/Theatre and Drama

    EGL106 Introduction to Drama; EGL225 Performance and Creative Arts; EGL226 Acting and Production I; EGL308 Shakespeare

    Media and Communication

    CMS100 Introduction to Communication; CMS101 Introduction to Media


    FDN101 Creativity and Innovation; FDN111 Wellbeing; BAR150 Ideas and Identity



    Research areas

    My areas of research include: Shakespeare, Restoration drama and adaptations, actresses and early modern theatre, practice-as-research, children’s theatre and theatre-in-education, and representation of emotions in dramatic text.

    Current projects

    • The forger and the actress – an examination of the link between John Payne Collier and the historical documents purporting to relate the early modern English actresses.

    • The Merchant and The Merchant – a practice-led project investigating representations of sexuality and Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.

    • “No man in gown or page in Petticoat”: In search of Desdemona – An exploration of the actresses most often cited as being the first professional in England, including Coleman, Marshall, Betterton, Norris and Carey.

    • #ThisIsNotNew: Actresses, power and the long eighteenth-century –  A study of rhetoric surrounding the English actresses of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

    • TIE and Shakespeare – In collaboration with Shakespeare WA.

    Awards and grants

    Murdoch University Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (2018);  Linnaeus University Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, Conference Funding Grant (2018); Murdoch University Provost Conference Fund (2018); Murdoch School of Arts ECR Research Support Fund (2018); Murdoch School of Arts Research Support Fund Grant (2017); Murdoch School of Arts Small Grant Scheme for Early Career Researchers (2016); Curtin University Teaching Excellence and Development (2015); Murdoch University Research Scholarship (2006)


    Professional and community service

    Murdoch University

    Recalibrating Diasporas Conference Organising Committe, co-chair

    Early Career Research Committee

    Independent Theatre Association

    Finley Awards Adjudicator

    President/Vice President

    Blak Yak Theatre Inc







    • Merchant, M., Ellis, K., Latter, N., (2017), Captions and the Cooking Show, M/C Journal, 20, 3, pages Online Journal -.
    • Merchant, M., (2012), The Variety of Her Infinite Variety: A praxis-led examination of a new historicist/cultural materialist construct, IM Interactive Media, , 8, pages 1 - 22.
    • Merchant, Melissa. 2018. ““What gay, vain, prating thing is this?”: Discourses of femininity in Thomas Shadwell’s adaptation of Timon of Athens.” Outskirts 38: 1-17.

    Book Chapter

    • Ellis, Katie and Melissa Merchant. 2018. “Disability Media Work.” In The Routledge Companion to Disability and Media, edited by Katie Ellis, Gerard Goggin, and Beth Haller. New York: Routledge (in press).


    • Merchant, Melissa. 2017. ‘The tempter or the tempted, who sins most?’: Love and Lust in Measure for Measure and The Law Against Lovers.’ Shakespeare Institute Review, 3.


    • Ellis, Katie, Mike Kent, Kathryn Locke and Melissa Merchant. 2016. Accessing subscription video on demand. Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, Sydney.


    • 2013. ‘The Actress and Shakespeare: The impact and influence of the actress on the performance of Shakespeare during the Restoration.’ PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

    Creative Outputs

    • 2018 Much Ado about Shakespeare (writer/director) Murdoch University at Nexus Theatre
    • 2018 One Night One Day (director) Blak Yak Theatre at Shenton Park
    • 2017 Home at Last: A Toy’s Journey (actor) Murdoch University at the Temple of Fine Arts in Jahor Bahru (Malaysia)
    • 2016 Titus Andronicus (actor) Murdoch University at Nexus Theatre
    • 2015. No Names, No Pack Drill  (actor) Old Mill Theatre
    • 2015. Never Ever (writer/director) Blak Yak Theatre, winner of Best Original Play at the Southwest Drama Festival
    • 2014. Hamlet (director) Graduate Dramatic Society at the New Fortune
    • 2012/2013. The Winter’s Tale (actor/assistant director) Murdoch University at the Temple of Fine Arts in Jahor Bahru (Malaysia), the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) and the Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris in Tanjung Malim (Malaysia).