Dr Caroline Radcliffe ARCM; Dip.Perf.RCM; PhD

Photograph of Dr Caroline Radcliffe

Department of Drama and Theatre Arts

Contact details

The Old Library (SOVAC)
998 Bristol Road
Selly Oak
B29 6LG

I have had a long freelance career in music and drama and am still an active performer in both fields. My specialist academic areas are nineteenth-century theatre, popular theatre studies, technology and performance and any area of music and drama.


Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Royal College of Music graduating in performance in 1985. Postgraduate study in music in Amsterdam 1985 and at the Civica Scuola di Musica, Milano 1986; in drama at the City Literary Institute with Rodney Archer and Powell Jones 1987-1989. PhD, Royal Holloway, University of London, graduating 2006.


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 onstage 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’.


I have over thirty years of teaching experience ranging from primary, secondary, adult and higher education working both within and beyond the curriculum. I have led summer schools and workshops and courses for various educational bodies both in London and around the country and have also taught for a period in Italy. I have worked extensively in developing education within museums, heritage sites and schools.

I have been teaching in the Department since 2008. I have taught on a number of core study and practical modules including Dramatic Medium, Theatre and Cultural Politics, Theatre Lab and Theatre Practice and the Final Dissertation and Independent Practical Portfolio. In 2009 I introduced a second year practical option on Voice and a third year study option on Popular Performance. In 2012 I introduced a third year module on Victorian Theatre. I directed the third year Production Module in 2011.

Postgraduate supervision

I welcome 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.

I 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.


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.

Other activities

  • Member of TaPRA. (Theatre and Performance Research Association)
  • University of Birmingham rep. for SCUDD.  (The Standing Conference of University Drama Departments).
  • External examining for various universities and conservatoires.

Selected conference papers

September 2006: “Ethics and catharsis in the opera productions of Katie Mitchell and Tim Hopkins”, Tapra, Central School of Music and Drama.

September 2008: “Remediation and immediacy in the theatre of sensation” at Royal Holloway University of London “Buried Treasures Victorian Theatre in the Lord Chamberlain’s Plays collection 1852 -1862” symposium.

April 2009: “The Talking Fish: Victorian Exhibitions and the Evolutionary Delusion” at Exeter University conference, “Instruction, Amusement and Spectacle: Shows and exhibitions 1800-1914”.

July 2010:  “Wilkie Collins and the Scenographer’s Imagination”, University of Birmingham conference, “ ‘The Sister Arts’ in  Popular Performance 1820-1910”.

September 2010: “Wilkie Collins: Scenographer”, University of Cardiff TaPRA conference.

September 2011: Henry Irving and the Music Halls: Theatrical Hierarchy, Cultural Capital and the Legitimate/Illegitimate Divide”, University of Lancaster, Politics in Popular Performance conference (invited speaker).

November 2013, “The Lighthouse by Wilkie Collins: ‘situations dramatiques non encore exploitées’” Senate House, London “Wilkie Collins: New Directions and Readings”, Victorian Popular Fiction Association.

March 2015: “Doors and Windows: Representations of the uncanny, the intermedial and the panoptical in the dramas of Wilkie Collins”, Warwick University, Adaptation and the Stage in the Nineteenth Century conference (invited speaker).

July 2015:  “Wilkie Collins’s Dramatic Texts: Absence of Feeling and Presence of Presence”, Birkbeck, University of London, The Arts and Feeling in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture.

Invited presentations at symposia (selected events):

January 2010: Invited speaker at The Central School of Speech and Drama University of London, “Eccentric Dance” workshops organised by research fellow Jon Davison. Interview archived by CSSD.

December 2010: Invited speaker and presenter at Centre for Training in Excellence for Theatre (CETT) research event at The Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London, “Presentation and Discussion: Research into Movement”, “The Machinery, performance and the industrial workspace”. Interview archived by CSSD.

February 2011: Invited speaker at University of the West of England research seminar “Staging the Victorians”.

March 2012: SCUDD conference: Invited panel member on Admissions and Transitions to University Drama Departments

April 2015: Invited performer/speaker at “Music Noise and Silence”, Science Museum.

September 18, 2015: Keynote speaker at Dickens Symposium, King’s College, University of London and the Dickens Museum.

Media, impact and public engagement (selected events and appearances): 

“The Machinery” Phantom Circuit #48 British Science Festival, September 2010. Caroline Radcliffe and Sarah Angliss perform and talk. “Clog Dancing: the original techno-industrial dance? … Caroline Radcliffe and Sarah Angliss relate a surprising history of dancing in the factory. We present some extracts from this multimedia show of music, video and clogs.” Phantom Circuit is an internet radio show of strange and wonderful sound waves - featuring music that is alien, electronic, exotic, essential. http://phantomcircuit.com/tag/caroline-radcliffe/

Shakespeare's Globe. Shakespeare, “Henry VIII”. Film and DVD 2010 Directed by Mark Rosenblatt. (Musician).

“Anonymous”. Film and DVD 2011. Directed by Roland Emmerich . (Musician with Globe Theatre).

 “The Paradise” (BBC1) Series One. October 2012.  Consultant on music hall performers for BBC drama series set in a nineteenth century department store. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00szxcy

 “If Wet” June 30 2013. Caroline Radcliffe demonstrates and discusses the relationship between early noise music and clog dancing. If Wet is a monthly event dedicated to sonic exploration, in Callow End Village Hall, Worcestershire. http://www.ifwet.org.uk/tag/caroline-radcliffe/

The Lighthouse by Wilkie Collins, with an Introduction by Caroline Radcliffe and Andrew Gasson and a Foreword by P.D. James. Caroline ­ Radcliffe; Andrew Gasson, Francis Boutle Publishers, Wilkie Collins Society, London 2013. ISBN 978 1903427 80 4.  Book. A previously unpublished play, edited with a co-authored introduction.

"15 by 15” Clog, Series 2 Episode 3, BBC Radio 4, 7 August 2013 and  1 January  2014. Hardeep Singh Kohli …" also talks to Kate Tattersall who runs the Camden Clog, a group of dancers who trace their dances back to the Lancashire cotton mills, where the millworkers tapped their clogs in time to the machines - a moment of history restaged by Sarah Angliss and Caroline Radcliffe."http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b037v4ft

 “Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens, 'The Lighthouse': A dramatic situation never before exploited” Book to the FutureFestival, University of Birmingham. Barber Concert Hall, Barber Institute of Fine Arts 27 October 2013. This event brings to life the first published edition of The Lighthouse - with newly discovered music, illustrations, and scenes from the play including Dickens’s prologue and his “Song of the Wreck”, acted and sung by students from the University of Birmingham’s Department of Drama and Theatre Arts and the Department of Music and presented by Dr Caroline Radcliffe. Free public event.

“Clowning Around” (Radio 4 Extra) 8 March 2014,  9:00 & 19:00. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03xcl02 

In conversation with Tony Liddington, Caroline Radcliffe discusses the nineteenth century music hall performer Dan Leno.

 ‘“We mean to burst on an astonished World” Dickens and The Lighthouse’ 20 May 2014. Dr Caroline Radcliffe gives an illustrated lecture to the Dickens Fellowship at the Lumen Centre, Bloomsbury, London.

“The Wire” magazine June 2014: Caroline Radcliffe’s performance last year at "if Wet" is featured in this June's print issue of the contemporary music magazine "The Wire" in relation to clogs, machinery, noise music and the industrial age.

“Cotton Mills and Clogs” University of Birmingham Special Collections 10 July 2014. Illustrated public talk on conditions in the nineteenth century cotton mill and how an extraordinary dance form arose from the physically and mentally gruelling relationship between the worker and the machinery of the Industrial Revolution (coinciding with Cadbury Research Library Special Collections Exhibition “From Lancashire to China: A weaver’s tale.” Muirhead Tower Atrium, 1 July - 16 October 2014, 9:00 - 18:00 Highlights of the exhibition included a chance to to hear a dance soundtrack composed by Sarah Angliss and Dr Caroline Radcliffe in which the thrum of Lancashire clog dance and field recordings of a cotton mill are interwoven in an absorbing evocation of sounds which would surely have resonated with Lucy.

“Lancashire Heel and Toe Clog Steps” University of Birmingham, Cadbury Research Library Special Collections, 10 July 2014. Public dance workshop with Dr Caroline Radcliffe (coinciding with Cadbury Research Library Special Collections Exhibition “From Lancashire to China: A weaver’s tale.” Guild of Students Dance Studio, University of Birmingham.

 “Wilkie Collins’ ‘lost’ drama – The Lighthouse”. Ideas Lab Predictor Podcast  August 2014. Dr Caroline Radcliffe disusses her recent edition of The Lighthouse with Lucy Vernall. https://audioboom.com/boos/2522584-wilkie-collins-lost-drama-the-lighthouse-dr-caroline-radcliffe

“Letters from Wilkie Collins to Steele MacKaye”, introduction and edited letters by Caroline Radcliffe, in The Collected Letters of Wilkie Collins: Addenda and Corrigenda (9) eds. William Baker, Andrew Gasson, Grham Law, & Paul Lewis. Wilkie Collins Society, December 2014. 

 “The Song of the Wreck”, Dickens Fellowship and Wilkie Collins Society, 2014. Song by Charles Dickens, music rediscovered, reconstructed, edited and recorded by Caroline Radcliffe. http://wilkiecollinssociety.org/publications/the-song-of-the-wreck/

“People vs. Larry Chimp” British Science Festival. Wednesday 10 September 2014, 20.00.

Barber Lecture Theatre, Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham. Lewis Dean  School of Psychology and Neuroscience University of St. Andrews. Shown as part of the British Science Festival, exploring modern debates in comparative psychology through putting a (hypothetical) chimpanzee on trial for murder. The audience act as jury, quizzing witnesses, weighing up the evidence and voting on the verdict. Caroline Radcliffe chairs the debate as ‘the Judge’.

“Dancing Cheek to Cheek: An Intimate History of Dance” (BBC4) 24 November 2014 21:00 - 22:00 Episode 1:
1.1m viewers(4.5%) Episode 2: 677,500 (2.8%) viewers. Various online and published reviews.

 “Dancing Cheek to Cheek” with Len Goodman and Lucy Worsley, BBC4, ,  “Len Goodman’s An Intimate History of Dance helped BBC4 record its second biggest show of the year and smash competition from BBC2”.  Caroline Radcliffe performs nineteenth century heel-and-toe clog dance and discusses the relationship between cotton machinery and clog dancing, teaching Len a few steps at Queen Street Textile Mill, Burnley. Research consultant for episode. https://www.dropbox.com/sh/2polae6jfqq8533/AADq-AXFv3PTFUVK2NSilXssa?dl=0

“The Machinery”, Science Museum, London, April 25, 2015. Caroline Radcliffe and Sarah Angliss perform their award-winning theatre piece and talk to an audience of international sound artists and the general public in the AHRC funded “Music Noise and Silence Festival”.

“Who Do You Think You Are” (BBC1) 10 September 2015. (3.90 Million Viewers) Caroline Radcliffe introduces Gareth Malone to his music hall ancestry in a pub in Liverpool. Research consultant for episode.

Dickens Symposium September 18, 2015: Keynote speaker, King’s College, University of London and the Dickens Museum.

“You’ve Been a Lovely Audience” (BBC4) Scheduled December 2015. Caroline Radcliffe discusses the music hall performer Dan Leno with the comedian Frank Skinner for a three-part series on music hall and variety entertainment. Research consultant for episodes 1 & 2.


Kershaw, Caroline, “Dan Leno: New Evidence on Early Influences and Style”, Nineteenth Century Theatre, Vol.22, no.1, Summer 1994, pp.30-55. ISSN 0893-3766

Kershaw, Caroline, “They’ve done me, they’ve robbed me, but, thank God, I’m the champion still!” Clog dancing in the Victorian Music Hall”, Border Tensions: Dance and Discourse, Proceedings of the Fifth Study of Dance Conference, University of Surrey, 1995, pp.199-207. ISBN: 0-946483-23-X

Kershaw, Caroline, Christy Carson, Jacky Bratton, “The London Music Hall Database”, Nineteenth Century Theatre, Vol.24, no.1, Summer 1996, pp. 34-35.

Radcliffe, Caroline, “The Ladies’ Clog Dancing Contest of 1898”, in Georgina Boyes, (ed.) Step Change: New Views on Traditional Dance, Francis Boutle, London 2001, pp.86-116. ISBN 1-903427-09-6

Radcliffe Caroline, “Recent Activity in British Library Manuscript Collections: French Drama in the British Library’s Lord Chamberlain’s Plays Collection”, French Studies Library Group Annual Review, Issue 4 (2007-2008) pp.48-49. http://fslg.libr.port.ac.uk/ Online journal.

Radcliffe, Caroline; Garrison, Laurie; Mattacks, Kate and Johnson, Kathryn: Catalogue of the Lord Chamberlain's Plays, 1852-1863. British Library/Royal Holloway, University of London, 2009. https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/dramaandtheatre/research/researchprojects/lordchamberlainsplays/catalogueofthelordchamberlainsplays,1852-1863.aspx

Radcliffe, Caroline and Mattacks, Kate "From Analogues to Digital: New Resources in Nineteenth-Century Theatre' in 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century, "Victorian Theatricalities", Issue no.8, pp.1-18, April 2009. Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies, Birbeck, University of London. www.19.bbk.ac.uk ISSN 1755.1560

Radcliffe Caroline “Remediation and immediacy in the theatre of sensation” in Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film, Vol 36, Number 2, Winter 2009, pp. 38-53. ISSN 1748-3727. Special edition on “Buried treasures” project by Royal Holloway University of London and British Library).

Radcliffe Caroline, “Dan Leno: Dame of Drury Lane” Davis, Jim (ed.) Victorian Pantomime, Palgrave. 2010, pp.118-135. ISBN 978-0-230-22159-8.

Radcliffe Caroline, “The Talking Fish: Performance and Delusion in the Victorian Exhibition”, Kember, Joe; Plunkett, John; Sullivan, Jill (eds.) in Instruction, Amusement, Spectacle: Popular Exhibitions 1840-1914, Pickering and Chatto, 2011.ISBN:1848933061 (hbk.); 184893307X (ebook); 9781848933064 (hbk.); 9781848933071 (ebook).

Radcliffe, Caroline: Katie Mitchell’s St Matthew Passion: Moral indignation at Glyndebourne Opera. Reflection, Performing Ethos, peer-reviewed journal, Volume 4 Issue 1, April 2014. ISSN:1757-1987.

Radcliffe Caroline, Angliss Sarah, “Revolution: challenging the automaton: repetitive labour and dance in the industrial workspace”, in Performance Research 18.1, Winter 2013, peer-reviewed  journal, March 2013. ISSN: 1352-8165.

Radcliffe, Caroline; Gasson Andrew, The Lighthouse by Wilkie Collins, with an Introduction by Caroline Radcliffe and Andrew Gasson and a Foreword by P.D. James. ­Francis Boutle Publishers, London 2013. ISBN 978 1903427 80 4.

Radcliffe, Caroline, “Letters from Wilkie Collins to Steele MacKaye”, in The Collected Letters of Wilkie Collins: Addenda and Corrigenda (9) eds. William Baker, Andrew Gasson, Grham Law, & Paul Lewis. Wilkie Collins Society, 2014.

Radcliffe, Caroline, “The Song of the Wreck”, Wilkie Collins Society, 2014. http://wilkiecollinssociety.org/publications/the-song-of-the-wreck/

Radcliffe, Caroline, “Henry Irving and the Music Halls: Theatrical Hierarchy, Cultural Capital and the Legitimate/Illegitimate Divide”, book chapter in Politics and Popular Performance, eds. Katherine Newey, Peter Yeandle, Jeffrey Richards, Manchester University Press. 2015. (In press).

Books and chapters in preparation:

Monograph: Radcliffe, Caroline, Wilkie Collins: "A Dramatic Faculty".


Various book reviews and peer reviewing for journals.