Caroline Radcliffe


Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Caroline Radcliffe welcomes any informal enquiries from potential MPhil or PhD applicants. I am interested in supervising theses within any areas of my specialisms, also practice-based research or doctorates.

Caroline recently supervised or am currently supervising MPhil and PhD students in areas such as site-specific theatre, visual and scenographic techniques, actor training in relation to opera direction, Victorian Pantomime and Black-Country Industry, and Phillipe Gaulier.pieceRevolution. Dr Radcliffe’s research seeks to bridge the gap between historical and contemporary performance, and she also works as a musician/actor with the Globe Theatre.


Research activity per year

Personal profile


As a freelance musician, I specialised in historical performance practice and have performed with all of the major period instrument orchestras in Britain and many in Europe; touring throughout the UK, Europe, Australia and China. I have recorded extensively and broadcast for BBC Radios 3 and 4,  BBC TV and various films. As well as solo recitals and orchestral work I worked regularly for many opera companies, specialising in seventeenth and eighteenth-century and early classical opera and worked extensively on stage with The Globe theatre

I taught, conducted and directed ensembles at the Royal College of Music for twenty years and am an examiner for the main conservatoires. Parallel to my career as a musician, I trained as an actor, going on to work mainly in museum and heritage theatre and performing theatre and dance for schools and education (not TIE).

More recently I have developed my own contemporary practice crossing theatre, music, sound, dance and technology. My practical and academic involvement in theatre led me to study for a PhD in theatre and cultural history on Victorian popular theatre supervised by Professor Jackie Bratton. During my studies at Royal Holloway I taught and examined graduate drama modules and was an assistant for the London Music Hall Database.

Before taking up my post as lecturer at Birmingham I worked in the English Literary Manuscripts department at the British Library for a year as research assistant for the Royal Holloway/British Library AHRC funded project ‘Buried Treasures: the Lord Chamberlain’s Play Collection 1852-1863’.


Research interests

My PhD focussed on Victorian popular theatre and cultural hegemony, examining the comic performer Dan Leno, whose career encompassed dance, music hall, pantomime, burlesque and musical comedy.

My research centres mainly on Victorian drama with an emphasis on anything beyond the major canon, engaging primarily with cultural and ideological critical theory. My research encompasses popular and ‘illegitimate’ theatre, class, industrialization, labour and technology, biography and iconography, remediation, intermediality and sensate/sensory performance. I have specialist knowledge of forms of theatre with music (e.g. opera, melodrama, music theatre) and my work within music and museum and heritage theatre leads me to examine the myth of authenticity and the invention of tradition. I have a specific specialisation in traditional dance. I established a museum theatre project at Winterbourne house with our students. I am currently researching the dramas of Wilkie Collins's and have directed one of his unpublished plays, The Red Vial, for the DTA production module 2011 and another, The Lighthouse, for the “Book to the Future Festival”, Birmingham 2013. I was awarded a British Academy Small Research Grant to further work on Wilkie Collins 2011-2014.

I have worked extensively on breathing, relaxation and voice production both in acting and music. I am interested and practically engaged in contemporary, multi-media performance, working in collaboration with sound artist Sarah Angliss (of Spacedog). My work with Angliss reflects my research interest in the history of science and performance. In 2007 we were awarded a contemporary dance award for our digital, multi-media dance piece The Machinery. My practical areas of teaching reflect my interests in contemporary theatre practice and my research seeks to bridge the gap between historical and contemporary performance.

I am also a member of the innovative music ensemble Byrde, performing contemporary, old and world music in new contexts. I teach, perform and choreograph Lancashire clog dance and I work regularly as a musician/actor with Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.

I have lived in Italy and speak fluent Italian; I have a strong interest in all periods of Italian theatre and film and have performed in commedia dell’arte.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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