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Emeritus Professor Michael Thompson

Emeritus Professor

BA Dunelm, PhD Bristol

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Emeritus Professor in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures  
Member of the Centre for Visual Arts and Culture  


Theatre censorship in Spain cover

I taught and researched in Hispanic Studies at Durham University from 1984 until my retirement in September 2022. Between 2020 and 2022, I was Deputy Executive Dean for Education, responsible for undergraduate and taught postgraduate education across the Faculty of Arts & Humanities.

My research focuses primarily on theatre in Spain since the early 20th century. My most substantial project, a collaboration with Professor Catherine O'Leary of the University of St Andrews, was funded by an AHRC Research Grant between 2008 and 2011. It has investigated theatre censorship in Spain during the Second Republic, the civil war, the Franco dictatorship and the transition to democracy, as well as making connections with censorship in other times and places. This research has given rise to:

I have also published on the work of individual playwrights, especially Federico García Lorca, Antonio Buero Vallejo, José María Rodríguez Méndez and Paloma Pedrero. I have a particular interest in historical theatre and in cinematic adaptations of history plays.

I have an interest in translation, especially of drama. I have translated plays by Buero Vallejo and Paloma Pedrero, and in 2009 published the revised edition of the widely used textbook Thinking Spanish Translation (with Louise Haywood). I developed a successful undergraduate Spanish Translation module, and have taught Spanish-English translation on the MA in Translation Studies. My translation of Clara Díaz's new play Canción para un niño descalzo (Song for a Barefoot Boy) will be performed by the Cervantes Theatre in London in 2023.

I have also taught 20th- and 21st-century Spanish culture, especially theatre and literature.

Research interests

  • Modern Spanish culture
  • Modern Spanish theatre
  • Translation
  • Theatre censorship

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Foreign Literature & Language: Spanish theatre
  • Foreign Literature & Language: Spanish language
  • International: Language, literature, culture: Theatre censorship
  • Foreign Literature & Language: Modern/contemporary Spanish literature


Authored book

Chapter in book

Edited book

  • O'Leary, Catherine, Santos Sánchez, Diego & Thompson, Michael (2016). Global Insights on Theatre Censorship. Routledge Advances in Theatre & Performance Studies. Routledge.
  • Archer, Robert, Astvaldsson, Astvaldur, Boyd, Stephen & Thompson, Michael (2005). Antes y después del Quijote: Actas del congreso 2005 de la Asociación de Hispanistas de Gran Bretaña e Irlanda. Valencia: Biblioteca Valenciana.
  • Doggart, Sebastian & Thompson, Michael (1999). Fire, Blood and the Alphabet: One Hundred Years of Lorca. Durham: Durham Modern Languages Series.

Journal Article

Translated Book

  • Thompson, M.P. (trans.) (1994). Antonio Buero Vallejo, Un soñador para un pueblo = A Dreamer for the People. [Thompson, M.P. trans. and ed.] . Warminster: Aris & Phillips

Translated Chapter in Book

  • Thompson, Michael (trans.) (2016). Arrabal, Fernando, 'The dictator’s gift of censorship '. In Global Insights on Theatre Censorship. O'Leary, Catherine, Santos Sánchez, Diego & Thompson, Michael (ed.). New York: Routledge. 35-42