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Hannah Wilkin

Doctoral Student in Creative Writing - Hannah’s thesis is entitled ‘Seeking Permission to Trespass: New Naturalistic Plays’.

Research project title

Seeking Permission to Trespass: New Naturalistic Plays.


 Dr Zoe Cooper and Dr Helen Freshwater

Contact details


Research interests

  • playwriting
  • naturalism/new naturalism
an elderly woman giving a massage to another elderly woman

A brief outline of my research project

This project emerged in response to novelist Kit de Waal’s 2016 speech on ‘The Art of Trespass’. De Waal argues that whenever writers write about something they have not experienced for themselves they trespass into someone else’s territory. She argues that writers do not have to limit what they write about, but should ‘seek permission’ to trespass, provided they take care not to misunderstand and misrepresent the experiences of a community. I wish to explore the different methods of ‘seeking permission’ as I write plays based outside of my own life experience.

I will write two naturalistic plays, informed by my time spent working with an over-65’s dance group and with Barnardo’s charity shop volunteers. In my critical work, I will compose a number of case studies interrogating different writers' approaches to writing outside of their own experiences. This will include examples of verbatim theatre and recorded delivery, writers who use participant observation and other research methods and those who reflect upon the experiences of people they already know. In my bridging chapter, I will reflect upon my own approach to writing about things I have not experienced, comparing it to the methods of other writers.

Research activities

Research groups and memberships

  • member of Newcastle University’s Performance Research Network
  • member of the North East Playwrights Consortium

My academic background

  • BA English Literature with Creative Writing, Newcastle University
  • MA Creative Writing, Newcastle University