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Ernst Gerhardt

Ernst Gerhardt

Associate Professor, School of Liberal Arts
School of Liberal Arts
Faculty of Arts
A318B, Arts Building


My primary areas of research and teaching are early modern English drama and creative writing. While my research focuses mainly on the religious drama of the early sixteenth century, my other areas of interest include early modern English history plays and historiography, the representation of food in medieval and early modern English drama, hockey in the Canadian literary imagination, and environmental literature.


  • B. Comm., University of Alberta (1993)
  • B.A., University of Alberta (1999)
  • M.A. Universtiy of Alberta (2001)
    • Creative writing thesis, "Dumbsaints"
  • PhD., University of Alberta (2007)
    • Dissertation: "Reforming Drama: John Bale and Early-Tudor English Nationhood

Academic Appointments

Chair, Department of English (2020 - 2021, 2012-15)

Director, Humanities M.A. (2018-20, 2009-11)

Core Faculty, Member, Humanities M.A.

Associate Faculty Member, PhD in Human Studies

On The Web

The LU Wakefield Players 

Ernst Gerhardt on


My current research project, "Playing with Food," investigates the relationship between material food-practices and English drama in the late-fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, examining how they made sensible the limits of various collective communities—the parish and the commonwealth, for example—as well as how food materialized those communities as collective bodies.

Project Activity

  • “Staging Consumption in Lewis Wager’s The Life and Repentance of Mary Magdalene and Jacob and Esau.” Consumption, Performance, and Early Theatre: Medieval English Theatre Annual Meeting, Oct. 23, 2020. Online.

  • "Salmon-Fishing and Beer-Brewing: Craft Companies and the Chester Noah Play,” Department of History Research Colloquium, Oct. 23, 2019. Laurentian University, Sudbury, ON.

  • “Playing with Food: The Towneley First Shepherds’ Play in Performance.” The Twenty-First International Biennial Congress of the New Chaucer Society, 10-15 July 2018, Toronto, ON.

  • "The Chester Noah's Flood: Animals and Dietary Regulations." The annual meeting of the Canadian Society of Medievalists, Congress of Social Sciences and Humanities, May 28-30, 2018, Regina, SK.
  • The Towneley First Shepherds’ Play.” Dec. 6, 2017. Directed and performed. Sudbury, ON. Video here.
  • “The Towneley Noah Play.” Directed and performed. Sept. 6 and 15, 2017. Sudbury, ON. Video here.
  • “Consuming Animals: Food and Audience in Medieval English Noah Plays.” Extra/Ordinary Bodies and Medieval Performance Working Session. American Society for Theatre Research Annual Conference, 16-19 November 2017, Atlanta, GA.
  •  “The unbearable rightness of eating: animals, consumption, and food in The Winter’s Tale.” Annual Conference of the Canadian Society for Renaissance Studies. Calgary, AB. 28-31 May 2016.
  • Hunger and the Eucharist: Angels’ Food in John Bale’s The Temptation of Our Lord and the Digby Mary Magdalene.” International Medieval Congress, Leeds, UK. 4-7 July 2016.
  • “Revisiting the ‘Grotesque’ Feast of the Towneley First Shepherds Play.” 15th triennial Colloquium of the Société Internationale pour l'étude du Théâtre Médiéval, Durham, UK. 7-12 July 2016.
  • “Dearth Manuals and the Politics of Commensality.” Early Modern Food Systems Seminar. Shakespeare Association of America Annual Conference, Vancouver, April 1-4, 2015. Paper submitted February 9, 2015.
  • Hunger Management: Textual Responses to Food Scarcity in Renaissance England.” Food, Citizenship, and Environment: An Interdisciplinary Symposium, Sudbury, Laurentian University, February 9, 2015.


Principal Investigator, LU SSHRC Support Grant: Feeding the Body Politic - Food in Late-medieval and Sixteenth-century Drama. 2014. Value $6,057

Principal Investigator, LURF Grant: Bibliographic Database of Food Practices in English Plays, 1500-1580. 2014. Value $3,887.

Principal Investigator, LURF Grant: Food and Parish and Civic Drama in the Sixteenth Century. 2012. Value $4,030.



"Alimentary Address and the Management of Appetite and Hunger in Jacob and Esau." Medieval English Theatre 44 (2022): 91-123.

“Salmon-fishing and Beer-brewing: The Drawers of Dee, the Waterleaders, and the Chester Corpus Christi and Whitsun Plays.” Medieval English Theatre 41 (2019): 134-65.

“The Towneley First Shepherds’ Play: Its ‘Grotesque Feast’ Revisited.” Early Theatre 22.2 (2019): 11-36. 

“The Towneley First Shepherds’ Play.” Direction and performance. Dec. 6, 2017. Sudbury, ON. 

“The Towneley Noah Play.” Direction and performance. Sept. 6 and 15, 2017. Sudbury, ON.

"Feeding on the Body Politic: Consumption, Hunger, and Taste in Coriolanus." In Culinary Shakespeares Staging Food and Drink in Early Modern England. Eds. David Goldstein and Amy Tigner. Pittsburgh, PA: Duquesne University Press. 97-113.

"Food Production in the Croxton Play of the Sacrament.Comparative Drama ​49.3 (2015): 313-33.

"John Bale's Adaptation of Parish- and Civiv-Drama's Playing Practices." Reformation 19.1 (2014): 6-20.

"'Impoveryshyd and mad a beggar': Poverty and Widowhood in John Bale's King Johan." Reformation 14 (2009): 49-74.

"'We pray you all...To drink ere ye pass': Bann Criers, Parish Players, and the Henrican Reformation in England." Early Theatre 11.2 (2008): 57-88.

"'No quyckar merchaundyce than library bokes': John Bale's Commodification of Manuscript Culture." Renaissance Quarterly 60.2 (2007): 408-33.

“A Return on the Repressed: The Debt of History in Paul Ricoeur’s Time and Narrative.” Philosophy Today 48.3 (2004): 245-54.