Dr Sarah Whitfield

Sarah K. Whitfield is a music and theatre historian, researcher and practitioner. She uses digital humanities research methods alongside traditional archival research to challenge established narratives, focusing on uncovering the work that under-represented and minoritised figures do and have done in the arts. She most recently co-authored An Inconvenient Black History of British Musical Theatre 1900-1950 with Sean Mayes, and edited the collection Reframing the Musical: Race, Culture and Identity (2019). She works with datasets to analyse and access hidden information, most recently around the data ecosystem of music education in her work for a music education charity.

She has presented her work internationally to a variety of audiences, including at a concert at Wigmore Hall around her research, on BBC Radio 3's 'Music Matters', the New York Public Library and the British Library. As a dramaturg, she collaborates and advises on a range of musical theatre projects, with a particular focus on Queer theatre and stories about women. She has published widely across collaborative practice in music history, musical theatre, film musicals, and in Queer studies. 

Sarah has previously worked in HE institutions, most recently as Reader in Musical Theatre at the University of Wolverhampton. She is on the editorial board for Studies in Musical Theatre. She has worked as a consultant for a range of institutions in the UK and the US including libraries and exam boards (ABRSM) and is on the board of MusicHE.

She has supervised PhDs and postgraduate research projects across musical theatre, music history and cultural studies, with a particular focus on digital humanities methods, Queer studies, and practice-led research.

Selected publications

Mayes S & Whitfield SK (2021), An Inconvenient Black History of British Musical Theatre 1900-1950, Methuen Drama, Bloomsbury [ISBN 9781350119642].

Whitfield SK (2020), Disrupting heteronormative temporality through Queer dramaturgies: Fun Home, Hadestown and A Strange LoopArts 9(2) (69) [DOI].

Whitfield SK (2020), A space has been made: bisexual+ stories in musical theatre, Theatre Topics, 30(2), E-5-E-12 [DOI].

Whitfield SK (ed.) (2019), Reframing the Musical: Race, Culture and Identity, Methuen Drama, Bloomsbury [ISBN 9781352004397].

Ap Siôn P, Lovelock J & Whitfield SK (2019), Rock & Pop, Musical Theatre and Jazz – Appraising Popular Music (Companion Text to A/AS Level Music WJEC), Atebol [ISBN 9781913245276].

Whitfield SK (2018), Boublil and Schönberg’s Les Misérables, Fourth Wall Series, Routledge [DOI].

Whitfield SK (2016), ‘Next you’re Franklin Shepard Inc.?’: composing the Broadway musical, a study of Kurt Weill’s working practices, Studies in Musical Theatre, 10(2), 163-176 [DOI].

Faculties / departments: Research

Research

Latest Publications

Whitfield, S. K. (2024) Flowers for Mrs Harris: Covid-19, women's work, and the musical's 'some kind of bliss'. In: Contemporary British Musicals: ‘Out of the Darkness’. Bloomsbury: Methuen Drama, London. ISBN 9781350268050 (hardback) 9781350268036 (paperback) 9781350268043 (e-book) (In Press)

Whitfield, S. K. (2023) Understanding the history of 1930s musical migrants to Britain through minimal computing-led digital humanities: the Hamburger-Lidka-Fuchsová Database and Datasets. [Dataset]

Whitfield, S. K. (2023) Líza Fuchsová. Music, Migration and Mobility Online Resource: Émigré Musicians from Nazi Europe

Whitfield, S. K. (2023) Musical migrants at Wigmore Hall in the 1940s. Music, Migration and Mobility Online Resource: Émigré Musicians from Nazi Europe

Whitfield, S. K. (2023) Oda Slobodskaya. Music, Migration and Mobility Online Resource: Émigré Musicians from Nazi Europe

Wolf, S. and Asare, M. and Berman, R. and Eng, R. and Glover, E. M. and Savran, D. and Stitt, G. and Webster, B. and Whitfield, S. K. (2021) What do we do with the musical theater canon? In: Troubling Traditions: Canonicity, Theatre, and Performance in the US. Routledge. ISBN 9780367468323 (hardback) 9780367468309 (paperback) 9781003031413 (e-book)

Mayes, S. and Whitfield, S. K. (2021) An inconvenient Black history of British musical theatre 1900-1950, lecture concert, Wigmore Hall, 21 September 2021. [Performance]

Mayes, S. and Whitfield, S. K. (2021) An inconvenient Black history of British musical theatre 1900-1950. Methuen Drama, Bloomsbury. ISBN 9781350119635 (hardback) 9781350232686 (paperback) 9781350119642 (e-book)

Dalgleish, M. and Whitfield, S. K. (2021) Sound objects: exploring procedural audio for theatre. In: Innovation in Music: Future Opportunities. Routledge. ISBN 9780367363376 (hardback) 9780367363352 (paperback) 9780429345388 (e-book)

Whitfield, S. K. (2020) A space has been made: bisexual+ stories in musical theatre. Theatre Topics, 30 (2) E5-E12. ISSN 1054-8378 (print) 1086-3346 (online)

Whitfield, S. K. (2020) Disrupting heteronormative temporality through Queer dramaturgies: Fun Home, Hadestown and A Strange Loop. Arts, 9 (2) (69). ISSN 2076-0752 (online)

Dalgleish, M. and Whitfield, S. K. (2020) Sound objects: towards procedural audio for and as theatre. In: Innovation in Music Conference, 5-7 December 2019, London. (Unpublished)

Ap Siôn, P. and Lovelock, J. and Whitfield, S. K. (2019) Rock & pop, musical theatre and jazz – appraising popular music [companion text to A/AS level music WJEC]. Atebol, Aberystwyth. ISBN 9781913245276

Whitfield, S. K. (2019) Black performance practice as British musical theatre 1900–1950: digitising and recovering a lost timeline. In: IFTR, Digital Humanities Working Group, 2019, New York Public Library. (Unpublished)

Whitfield, S. K. (2018) Boublil and Schönberg’s Les Misérables. The Fourth Wall . Routledge. ISBN 9781138094383 (paperback) 9781315106090 (e-book)

Whitfield, S. K. (2018) Book review: Elizabeth L. Wollman, A Critical Companion to the American Stage Musical (London: Bloomsbury, 2017). New Theatre Quarterly, 34 (2) pp. 196-197. ISSN 0266-464X (print) 1474-0613 (online)

Whitfield, S. K. (2018) Book review: Marc Edward Shaw and Holly Welker (eds.), Singing and dancing to The Book of Mormon: critical essays on the Broadway musical (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016). Studies in Theatre and Performance, 38 (3) pp. 350-352. ISSN 1468-2761 (print) 2040-0616 (online)

Whitfield, S. K. (2017) ‘You wanna hear the real story?’ (Mis)remembering masculinity in Clint Eastwood's adaptation of Jersey Boys. In: Twenty-First Century Musicals: From Stage to Screen. Routledge, London. ISBN 9781138648906 (hardback) 9781138648890 (paperback) 9781315626123 (e-book)

Whitfield, S. K. (2017) 'For the first time in forever': locating Frozen as a feminist Disney musical. In: The Disney Musical on Stage and Screen: Critical Approaches from 'Snow White' to 'Frozen'. Methuen Drama (Bloomsbury), London. ISBN 9781474234177 (hardback) 9781474234160 (paperback) 9781474234191 (e-book)

Whitfield, S. K. (2017) Book review: Robert Gordon, Olaf Jubin, and Millie Taylor: British Musical Theatre since 1950 (London: Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, 2016). New Theatre Quarterly, 33 (2) p. 200. ISSN 0266-464X (print) 1474-0613 (online)

Whitfield, S. K. (2016) ‘Next you’re Franklin Shepard Inc.?’: Composing the Broadway musical, a study of Kurt Weill’s working practices. Studies in Musical Theatre, 10 (2) pp. 163-176. ISSN 1750-3159 (print) 1750-3167 (online)

Whitfield, S. K. (2012) Two different roads to new musicals in 2011 London: London Road and Road Show. Studies in Musical Theatre, 5 (3) pp. 305-314. ISSN 1750-3159 (print) 1750-3167 (online)

Contact

For enquiries please contact:

Dr Sarah Whitfield

Doctoral Supervisor, Doctoral Programmes Coordinator

research@rcm.ac.uk

Sarah.Whitfield@rcm.ac.uk

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