Professor, Theatre Studies; Gender and Women's Studies - Cross Appointment; Canadian Studies - Cross Appointment
Phone: (902) 494-1495
Fax: (902) 494-1499
6101 University Ave.,
PO Box 15000, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Theatre History, Performance Studies, Early Modern and Modern Drama, Opera in Performance, Canadian Theatre and Performance, Realism, Medical Humanities, Gender in Performance
Research and Creative Activity:
Roberta’s research interests centre on the relationship between theatrical performance and the social construction of identity. Her work has explored such topics as the representation of gender and class in early modern tragedy, the lives and repertoires of early modern boy actresses, and the theatrical performance of illness and health. She is the author of two books, Symptoms of the Self: Tuberculosis and the Making of the Modern Stage (U of Iowa Press, 2022) and Early Modern Tragedy, Gender and Performance, 1984-2000: The Destined Livery (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007); the co-editor with Kim Solga of New Canadian Realisms: Eight Plays and New Canadian Realisms: Essays (Playwrights Canada Press, 2012); and the editor of numerous early modern plays, including Thomas Middleton’s Women Beware Women for The Routledge Anthology of Early Modern Drama (Routledge, 2020), as well as General Editor of the series New Essays in Canadian Theatre at Playwrights Canada Press. Her credits as a stage director include Così Fan Tutte, Aunt Helen, Luisa Miller, The Rake’s Progress, and Orfeo ed Euridice for Opera Nova Scotia; Henry IV, Part One for Windsor Theatre, Mount Allison University; The Cunning Little Vixen for Dal Opera; and The Dog in the Manger, Drums and Organs, She Herself is a Haunted House, The Mill on the Floss, The Witch of Edmonton, Fuente Ovejuna, and Troilus and Cressida for Dal Theatre. She was the librettist for an opera by composer Tawnie Olson, Sanctuary and Storm, which won the Dominick Argento Prize for Best Chamber Opera from the National Opera Association of America and had its professional premiere in Vancouver in November 2023.
Play Analysis for Directing (THEA 2902)
Canadian Theatre Since 1968 (CANA / ENGL / THEA 4501):
Symptoms of the Self: Tuberculosis and the Making of the Modern Stage (University of Iowa Press, 2023)
“Birth of a Tragedy Queen: Richard Robinson and the Repertory of the King’s Men, 1610-11.” Early Theatre 25.2 (Winter 2022): 145-56.
Edition of Women Beware Women by Thomas Middleton (c.1613-21), in The Routledge Anthology of Early Modern Drama, general editor Jeremy Lopez (Routledge, 2020)
“Imaginary Invalids: Medicine and the Stage from Molière to the Romantics.” Literature and Medicine: The Eighteenth Century, eds. Clark Lawlor and Andrew Mangham (Cambridge University Press, 2021), 70-88.
“Bodies: Gender, Race, Ability, and the Shakespearean Stage.” The Arden Research Handbook of Shakespeare and Contemporary Performance, eds. Peter Kirwan and Kathryn Prince (Bloomsbury, 2021), 211-227.
“Alexandre Dumas et la construction du héros théâtral ‘allemand’.” Le Théâtre de Dumas Père, Entre Héritage et Renouvellement. Ed. Anne-Marie Callet-Bianco et Sylvain Ledda. Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2018. 159-170.“Consumption and the Stage: A Late-Blooming Fashion.” Journal of Eighteenth-Century Studies 40.4 (Fall 2017): 621-35.
“The ‘Play-Boy,’ The Female Performer, and the Art of Portraying a Lady.” Shakespeare Bulletin 33.1 (Spring 2015): 83-97.
“The Gallant Invalid: The Stage Consumptive and the Making of a Canadian Myth.” Theatre Research in Canada 35.1 (Spring 2014): 69-88.
"Affective Capital and Social Struggle in Dumas Père’s Angèle.” Nineteenth-Century French Studies 41.3/4 (Spring and Summer 2013): 204-19.
Roberta Barker and Kim Solga, eds. New Canadian Realisms: Eight Plays and New Canadian Realisms: Essays. Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press, 2012.
Early Modern Tragedy, Gender and Performance, 1984-2000: The Destined Livery. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.
Selected Awards and Honours:
Ann Saddlemyer Award for Best Book on Theatre in English or French published in 2022-23, for Symptoms of the Self: Tuberculosis and the Making of the Modern Stage, 2023
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Connections Grant for the “Performing Shores / The Shores of Performance” Conference, 2022
Richard Plant Award for Best English-language Article on a Canadian theatre topic, for “The Gallant Invalid: The Stage Consumptive and the Making of a Canadian Myth,” 2015
Elected member, inaugural cohort, College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists, Royal Society of Canada, 2014
Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching, Dalhousie University, 2014
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Insight Development Grant, 2013-15: “Symptoms of the Self: The Consumptive Hero on the Nineteenth-Century Stage”
Patrick O’Neill Award for Best Edited Anthology, Canadian Association for Theatre Research, 2013 (for New Canadian Realisms: Eight Plays, edited with Kim Solga)
Award for Excellence in Teaching, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Dalhousie University, 2011
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Aid to Workshops Grant, 2010-11: “New Canadian Realisms”
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Standard Research Grant, 2005-8: “Realizing the Classics”