After Bend It Like Beckham

“After Bend It Like Beckham: Soccer in 21st Century Theatre and Performance” draws on dramaturgy, performance studies, and physical cultural studies to explore how sport’s capacity to enact transformation both empowers players and enriches the sports-industrial complex. It examines how case studies ranging from Sarah DeLappe’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated play The Wolves to exhibition games staged by authoritarian leaders “play” on the sport’s ability to effect performative change while attending to the systems that distribute power inequitably along intersecting lines of race, gender, and other identity factors. My research has produced several publications; received support from the University of Maryland, including in the form of a Mary Savage Snouffer Dissertation Fellowship; and led to presentations and working groups at several conferences.

Recent Presentations

In August of 2022, I took a grant-funded trip to the United Kingdom to conduct research for the second chapter of my dissertation, which examines dramatizations and reenactments of the historic Christmas Truce of 1914. I visited several archives in London, including at the Imperial War Museum and National Army Museum, consulted the Royal Shakespeare Company’s holdings in Stratford-upon-Avon, explored the National Football Museum in Manchester, and concluded my trip with a presentation at the British Society for Sports History Conference, hosted at De Montfort University in Leicester. Below is the PowerPoint presentation from that conference. This project was supported by the International Program for Creative Collaboration and Research.

In the spring of 2022, I presented my research on The Wolves at the Physical Cultural Studies Graduate Student Association Conference at the University of Maryland. This was an ideal opportunity to present my dramaturgical reading of the play to a new audience—to talk theatre with a sports audience, rather than sports with a theatre audience. If you’re viewing this on your phone or tablet, click the link below to download the PowerPoint for “Staging Politics in Practice: Risk and Representation in The Wolves.”

Highlights from the Blog

Several of my blog posts describe bits and pieces of the dissertation, including tangential subjects like Ted Lasso. A selection of those posts is below; check out the Blog for more!