Dr Harry R. McCarthy

Fellow, Tutors
Specialising in
Early modern drama

Harry R. McCarthy’s research centres on early modern theatre, the body in performance, and premodern childhood. He is particularly interested in boy actors on the early modern stage (the topic of his first two books) and is currently developing a project on the intersecting concepts of whiteness and childhood in the early modern period and its literature.

Academic interests

Harry R. McCarthy’s academic interests include:

  • Early modern theatre history
  • Contemporary performance of early modern plays
  • Movement and the body
  • Education
  • Boyhood
  • Whiteness studies.

Degrees obtained

  • BA, Exeter.
  • MSt., Oxford.
  • PhD, Exeter.

Awards and prizes

  • J. Leeds Barroll Dissertation Prize (Shakespeare Association of America), 2021.


Harry R. McCarthy completed his undergraduate studies in English and French at the University of Exeter before moving to Oxford to complete the MSt. in English (1550-1700). He returned to Exeter to undertake a PhD on boy actors on the early modern English stage before being appointed at Jesus in 2019.

His current research project considers how the framework of premodern critical race studies might be applied to children in the early modern period, and interrogates how early modern children and their literary depictions were subject to structures of racial formation and notions of whiteness. A keen theatregoer, he has recently collaborated with theatre companies such as Shakespeare’s Globe (London), Edward’s Boys (Stratford-upon-Avon), and The Show Must Go Online. 

Other interests

Classical music, contemporary art, musical theatre, fashion, cooking, wine. 

Publications, links and resources

Find more information about Harry McCarthy's publications and research on ORCID. You can also watch an interview about Dr McCarthy's work on the “A Bit Lit” YouTube channel.

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