School of the Arts, English and Drama

School staff

Dr Mary Brewer

Photo of Dr Mary Brewer

Senior Lecturer in English and Drama

Specialism: English and American Studies

I completed my postgraduate studies at Sussex University. I earned an MA in English Literature, with an emphasis in critical theories, in 1993. I was awarded my DPhil in English and American Studies in 1999 – my thesis explored the representation of race and gender in contemporary women’s dramatic writing from the 1970s-1990s. I joined Loughborough University in 2007, having taught previously at De Montfort University and Aberystwyth University.

My research interests centre on modern and contemporary literature and cultural theory, with particular reference to the representation of social identity (e.g. gender, race, and sexuality, religious, national). These topics also inform my teaching interests and the modules I deliver, which span the disciplines of English and Drama.

My teaching expertise is located in the area of English and American studies, in which I offer modules that address a range of genres, including literature, theatre, and film.

I am responsible for delivering the undergraduate modules: America at War, Nineteenth Century American Literature and Culture. I welcome PhD proposals to research aspects of modern and contemporary English and American Studies.

In 1999, I was awarded a PGCE in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education from Plymouth University. I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and I work with the Centre for Academic Practice as a University Assessor, helping to develop teaching practice across a range of disciplines.


My current research focuses on literature and religion and war writing. I am writing a monograph that explores how British playwrights in the modern period have made use of the Bible as a source text (forthcoming Routledge).  Recent publications include: "Christopher Fry's Old Testament Drama and Replacement Theology." Modern Drama 68. 4 Winter 2018 and "African-American War Poets", in War, Experience and Memory in Global Cultures Since 1914, Ed. Angela K. Smith and Sandra Barkhof, Routledge 2018. 

I am also engaged in a study of interfaith dialogue among women who identify with one of the three Abrahamic faiths in partnership with Dr Line Nyhagen (Sociology, Loughborough University) and Dr David Bartram (Sociology, Leicester University). 

I am editing a special issue of the journal Humanities on the role of Drama in the contemporary public sphere. I am co-convening with Nigel Wood and Arianna Maiorani an international conference on Modern Mythologies at Loughborough London (September 2019).

I am a reviewer for the British Council Newton Fund.

Invited papers:

Plenary: “African-American Soldiers at War.” Alternate Spaces of War, Plymouth University, July 6-7, 2015.

Invited paper, conference: Cops on the Box: Crime Drama on UK TV Screens, “Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Cop in a Box,” University of Glamorgan, Wales, Mar 2013

Invited paper, research seminar: University of Plymouth, Department of English and Creative Writing Spring Seminar Series, “Narratives of Religion and Race in Cormac McCarthy’s The Sunset Limited,” May 1, 2013

Invited paper, conference, Gender and Representation, AHRB Centre for Asian and African Literatures, “Engendering Whiteness on the British Stage: Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls”, February 2004

Invited paper, conference: Gender and Literature in Cross-Cultural Contexts, AHRB Centre for Asian and African Literatures (SOAS/UCL): Conceptualising Gender in Different Cultural Contexts, Discussant: Conceptualising Masculinities: Culture/s, Language and Power, May 2002

Conference Papers:

 The Romance of Theatre: American Drama and its Stories, “Race, Religion and National Identity in the plays of Cormac McCarthy,” University of Seville, May 2012

“Offerings on the Altar of National Pride: Images of the Sanctified Pioneer, English Language and Literature Studies: Image, Identity, Reality, University of Belgrade, Serbia, Dec 2009

Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association: Religion and Literature panel, Calgary, October 2007, “Black Arts and White Devils: Religion, Race and National Identity in Black Revolutionary Drama,” October 2007. 

Inventing America, University College Cork, “(e)Racing American History: Suzan-Lori Parks’ The America Play,” April 2005

Race, Ethnicity and Gender: International Perspectives, “Race, Performance and National Identity in Thornton Wilder’s Our Town,” Bogazici University, Istanbul, March 2003

White Women, University of York, Blackness, Whiteness and The Ideal of Feminine Beauty in Elaine Jackson's Paper Dolls, April 1999

Women’s Studies Network Conference, Hull Centre for Gender Studies, Carers Without Control: Representations of Lesbian Motherhood in Contemporary Feminist Theatre, July 1998

Public Lectures/interviews:

“Jane Austen’s World”. Tel Aviv, Israel, July 22, 2015. 

BBC Asian Network Leicester, Interviewed about religion and race in contemporary British Society as part of Faith Week, May 2005

Midlands Asian Television, Interviewed for MATV News about the meaning of whiteness in contemporary Britain, July 2006

Panelist, Theatre in Crisis?: A round-table response to Kully Thairai,” Cultural Exchanges Festival, DeMontfort University , March 2004

Arts Commentator, Live Late Review, Live Art Network in association with Midlands Arts Centre, Birmingham, May 2001

Conference Organization:

Organizing Committee: “Violence in the American Imagination,” Loughborough University, July 22-23, 2015.

Organizing Committee: The Standing Conference of University Drama Departments 2010, 26-27 March – University of Lincoln

Organizing Committee: The Standing Conference of University Drama Departments 2009 3-4 April - Queen Mary’s University, London

Lead Organizer: The Standing Conference of University Drama Departments 2008 14-15 March – University of Loughborough


Arts Council England, 2001-02

AQA, 2013-present

Research Prize:

British Arts and Humanities Research Council, Research Leave Grant, Sum Awarded: £13,153, 2003: Research result: Monograph: Staging Whiteness , Wesleyan University Press, 2005

Editorial Work:

Editorial Board, Máthesis: Magazine of the Humanities Department

of the Portuguese Catholic University in Viseu, 2010 – present

Editorial Board, New Theatre Quarterly, 2001 – present

I have acted as an external reviewer for proposals and manuscripts submitted to academic publishers, including Palgrave MacMillan, Routledge, Methuen, Helicon Press, Arnold, and Rodopi, as well as peer-reviewed journals, including New Theatre QuarterlyStudies in Theatre and PerformanceMáthesis, Performing Ethos, Literature Compass, Contemporary Women’s Writing, African American Review, Peer English, and Dance Theatre Journal.

External Examinerships:

BA, Theatre and Performance, University of Lincoln, 2009-present

BA, Theatre and Drama, Royal Holloway, University of London, 2005-08.

BA Theatre, Swansea Institute, University of Wales, 2003-06.

Certificate in Drama Therapy, Hawkwood College, 2000-02.  

BA English and Drama, University of Central England, 2003

Certificate in Drama, British Worker’s Educational Association, 2001. 

Other activities:

Associate Researcher, Laboratoire Identité Culturelle, Textes et Théâtralité (ICTT), Université d’Avignon, 2004-06    

Associate Researcher, Laboratoire Théâtres et Modalités de la Représentation, Université d’Avignon, 2000-04 

Visiting Erasmus Scholar, Département d'Études Anglophones, Université d’Avignon, Lectures on American Drama, 2002

I have peer reviewed grant applications for the following funding bodies: British Academy, Arts and Humanities Research Council, Society for Theatre Research, Glynne Wyckham Postgraduate Scholarship. 

Book Reviews:

I have published a body of reviews in peer-reviewed journals, including New Theatre QuarterlyStudies in Theatre and PerformanceSexuality and CultureNew England Theatre Journal, Journal of American StudiesJournal of the Association for Research on Mothering, and English Studies.