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Kirsten Shepherd-Barr

Professor of English and Theatre Studies, University of Oxford

I founded LitHits (registered 2020) together with Dr Alexandra Paddock and David Gilbey. LitHits aims to break down barriers to reading and enable engagement with literature in digital modes. It is one of the first spinouts from the Humanities Division at Oxford. LitHits stems from my interest in the phenomenon of reading in a digital age: how, what, and when people read, how they make their choices, and how human curation can combine with AI to facilitate reading.
In addition to my work in innovation, I publish books and articles in my three main areas of scholarship: the interaction between theatre and science; the work of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen; and the relationship between modernism and theatrical performance. My books include: Theatre and Evolution from Ibsen to Beckett (2015), Modern Drama: A Very Short Introduction (2016), Science on Stage: From Doctor Faustus to Copenhagen (2006), Ibsen and Early Modernist Theatre (1997), 21st-Century Approaches to Literature: Late Victorian into Modern, co-edited with Laura Marcus and Michele Mendelssohn (2016), and, most recently, The Cambridge Companion to Theatre and Science (2020). I also work regularly with professional theatre companies including the National Theatre, the Old Vic, Oxford Playhouse, and Theatre Chipping Norton.


  • –present
    Professor of English and Theatre Studies, University of Oxford