Olga Taxidou

Professor Emerita of Drama and Performance Studies


After completing her PhD at the University of Edinburgh Olga Taxidou held a Lectureship in Drama at the University of Exeter’s Drama Department for three years, before returning to Edinburgh in 1995, where she has worked since. Her work in theatre and performance studies includes adaptations of Greek tragedies, some of which have been performed in Edinburgh and abroad.

Areas of interest for supervision

Professor Taxidou has seen over 20 PhD projects to completion.

Recent examples of PhD supervision include:

  • The Director as Philosopher in Modernist Performance (Eve Katsouraki)
  • The Federal Theatre Project (Rania Karoula)
  • Egyptian Renditions of Oedipus Rex (Raphael Cormack)

  • Modernist Theatre and Quantum Physics (Amos Abrahams)

Research summary

Her research interests lie mainly in the fields of theatre history and performance studies, with an emphasis on modernism. In particular her work concentrates on the centrality of performance for the aesthetic and political concerns of modernism. She has published extensively on the work of Edward Gordon Craig and the relationships between Anglophone modernism and the historical avant-garde. She is interested in the relationships between modernist experimentation and tradition, in particular classicism and Hellenism. Within this context her worked has focused on theories of tragedy and how these have been reconfigured within the project of modernity (from Nietzsche to Brecht). At present she is continuing this work with a study on the significance of tragedy and ‘the tragic’ for theatrical experiments of modernism and the historical avant-garde. The co-edited anthology (with Vassiliki Kolocotroni and Jane Goldman) Modernism: An Anthology of Sources and Documents (1998) has been reprinted many times and has hepled to re-define the field. At present she is co-editing (with Vassiliki Kolocotroni) its companion Modernism: a Dictionary. Her Modernism and Performance: Jarry to Brecht (2007) has placed performance and theatricality at the centre of the thinking about modernism and modernity. She continues this project as Series Editor of The Edinburgh Critical Studies in Modernism, Drama and Performance (EUP and OUP). Her interest in and contribution to theories of tragedy (Tragedy, Modernity and Mourning, 2004) shapes her current book project: Greek Tragedy and Modernist Performance, which also results from a series of lectures delivered as part of the Onassis Foundation Senior Visiting Scholars series in 2010-11. She has a long-standing interest in marionettes, puppets and automata and their central positon both in philosophy and performance theory. Dr Taxidou is on the Press Committee of Edinburgh University Press and on the board of the Scottish Universities' International Summer School. She is the Festivals Co-ordinator for CHSS and a member of the AHRC Peer Review College.

Project activity

Professor Taxidou is currently working on two book projects: Greek Tragedy and Modernist Performance and Tragedy's Mother. She is also working on a long-term project on Failure and Utopia in Modernist Performance. With Vassiliki Kolocotroni she is co-editing Modernism: A Dictionary, which is the companion to their Modernism: An Anthology of Sources and Documents. She has recently completed an adaptation of The Bacchae.

View all 28 publications on Research Explorer