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Charlotte Purkis is a Principal Lecturer in the School of Performing Arts. She specialises in connections between the performing arts and Modernisms, has published widely on music, dance and theatre history, and is particularly interested in critical writing practices which intersect with creative approaches, including autoethnography, and in the roles played by women in the 20th century cultural avant-garde as artists and critics.


Chapters in books

2021 'The Other Gates: Anglo-American Influences On and From Dublin', in: Pilný O., van den Beuken R., Walsh I.R. (eds) Cultural Convergence: The Dublin Gate Theatre, 1928-1960. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-57562-5

2020 'Promoting Involvement in Performance: Performing Arts Journals and Women Writers, 1945-1969, in: (Eds.) Laurel Forster and Joanne Hollows Women's Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1940s-2000s: The Postwar and Contemporary Period.  Volume 5 of ‘The Edinburgh History of Women's Periodical Culture in Britain’ series editor Jackie Jones, pp. 229-244.

2018 'A Theme with Many Variations': Gertrude Hudson, Musical Criticism, and Turn-of-the-century periodical culture', in: (Eds) Faith Binckes and Carey Snyder Women, Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1890s - 1920s; The Modernist Period. Volume 3 of ‘The Edinburgh History of Women's Periodical Culture in Britain’ series editor Jackie Jones. Edinburgh University Press, pp. 78-91.

2018 'The Mediation of Constructions of Pacifism in Journey's End and The Searcher, two Contrasting Dramatic Memorials from the Late 1920s' in (Ed.) Adrian Bingham Writing the First World War After 1918, Routledge ISBN-13: 978-1138601956.

2017 ‘Velona Pilcher’s literary excursions in the ‘theatre of war’ 1918-1947’, Literary Journalism and World War I, (2017) (Eds.) Andrew Griffiths, Sara Prieto, Soenke Zehle, Éditions PUN Université de Lorraine, pp. 181-206.

2016 ‘Velona Pilcher’s Promotion of an Intercontinental Avant-Garde’, in:  Atlantic Cross-currents: Women’s Networks in the Long Nineteenth Century (Eds.) J. Nitz, T. Schoen and S. Petrulionis, Universitaetsverlag Winter Heidelberg, Germany, pp. 71-90.

2016 '‘I am just Practising’: A Personal Conversation among the Boundaries and Subjectivities of Current Musicologies' in: Music And/As Process, (eds.) Lauren Redhead and Vanessa Hawes. Cambridge Scholars Press, pp. 210-229

2011 'Velona Pilcher and Dame Ellen Terry 1926', Ellen Terry, Spheres of Influence - Cockin, K (Chatto and Pickering 2011), pp. 119-132.

2004: 'You might have called it beauty or poetry or passion just as well as music': Gertrude Hudson's fictional fantasies' The Idea of Music in Victorian Fiction - Fuller, S and Loessef, N (Ashgate 2004) pp. 197-254.

1999 'L'eros dans la litterature', Les Lettres Europeenes: manuel d'histoire de la littérature européenne (Eds.) Annick Benoit-Dusausoy and Guy Fontaine 1st edition (Paris: Hachette), 2nd edition (Boeck Duclot Brussels 2007), pp. 572-8.


  • 2016 'The Mediation of Constructions of Pacifism in Journey's End and The Searcher, two Contrasting Dramatic Memorials from the Late 1920s', Journalism Studies 2016, Vol. 17 issue 4: pp. 502-516 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1461670X.2015.1135753
  • 'The Commemoration of the Strindberg Centenary of 1949 in Britain', Swedish Book Review, 2012:2, pp.
  • 'Irene Mawer Dance Words', in: Sirotkina, I (ed.) Free Verse, Free Dance, State University of Moscow 2011 [CD: ISBN: 978-5-89357-301-5].
  • 'Aspiring to Musicality: Improvisations in aural-visual 'correspondence' in turn-of-the-century British Art', Tate Papers 14, Autumn 2010 [http://www.tate.org.uk/research/publications/tate-papers/listening-sublime-aural-visual-improvisations-nineteenth-century; http://www.tate.org.uk/about/projects/sublime-object
  • 'Leader of Fashion in musical thought: the importance of Rosa Newmarch in the context of turn-of-the-century British styles of music appreciation' Nineteenth-Century British Music Studies 3 - Horton, P and Zon, B (Ashgate 2003) pp. 3-20
  • 'Post-modernity at The Piano: 19th century erotic bodies and the limits of language', Critical Musicology Newsletter 3, 2004
  • 'Sex-education in British and German Culture 1890-1914', Journal of Social Theory and Education, University of Southampton, Vol. 1 no. 1
  • 'The Making of Modern Dance: Rudolf Laban - The Seminal Years in Munich 1910-1914 ', with Valerie Preston-Dunlop, Dance Theatre Journal, Part 1 (Autumn 1989) Part 2 (Spring 1990), volume 7 no. 3-4.


  • Contributor to New Grove Book of Operas, New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and The Viking/Penguin Opera Guide: entries on 2th century Austro-German/American opera, and The International Dictionary of Opera: entry on Rutland Boughton.

Presentations at conferences/symposia

2021 ‘Evaluating the significance of British women critics and commentators in identifying musical trends and enthusiasms in early 20th century musical journalism’, The Third International Conference on Women’s Work in Music, University of Bangor (online)

2021 ‘Standing out in the crowd: the sharing of physicalised experiences by women journalists in response to on and off-stage public performance in early 20thc Britain’, Art Writing and The Body online conference in conjunction with the Decadence Research Centre at Goldsmiths and the British Association of Decadence Studies (BADS)

2021  ‘Women Critics of the Arts’, 3rd Conference of the Intercontinental Crosscurrents Network: Crosscurrents Conversation Series June/July 2021, online (University of Halle-Wittenberg, Germany)

2021 Presentation at the book launch of Cultural Convergence: The Dublin Gate Theatre, 19281960 at the GTRN Theatre Languages of the Stage Conference (online)

2018 ‘Velona Pilcher’s support for surrealist arts in 1930s and 1940s London’, Seeking the Marvellous: Ithell Colquhoun, British Women and Surrealism. Plymouth College of Art.

2018 ‘‘Continuing the conversation (valuing the past and liberating marginalia on selves encountering practice)’, Dialogues with History panel, ‘Beyond Mesearch: Autoethnography, Self-reflexivity, and personal Experience as academic Research’, Institute of Musical Research University of London and University of Surrey. 

2014 - 'Roads to and from Metz: Velona Pilcher's literary excursions in the 'theatre of war' 1918-1947' . Literary Journalism and The Great War. University of Nancy-Metz, Lorraine, France

2014 - 'Imaginary Portrait of a cosmopolitan itinerant - 'Israfel Mondego' - through the "ravished pen " of his alter-ego, Gertrude Hudson, aesthetic writer on music.' Cosmopolitanism, Aestheticism and Decadence. University of Oxford

2014 - 'Promotion, Patronage and Mentoring in post-war London: origins, ideals and consequences of The Watergate Theatre Club'. European Association of Avant-Garde and Modernist Studies. University of Helsinki, Finland

2014 - 'Music writers' and musical criticism in early 20thc Britain'. Music Literature, Historiography and Aesthetics. University of London, Institute of Musical Research

2014 - 'From the trenches to the tightrope: confronting the challenges of Velona Pilcher's bodily visions'. Queer Bodies 2014. University of London, Birkbeck

2014 - 'Cross-dressed critics: the significance of gendered expressions of self in writings on performance from the Early Modernist context.' Centre for Gender Studies 'Gender, History, Culture'. University of Winchester

2014 - 'A Female Journey's End? Velona Pilcher's vision of wartime trauma in The Searcher (1930) and its challenges to convention.' Modernism at War. University of Glasgow

2014 - 'Velona Pilcher's The Searcher (1930) a female Journey's End or a prelude to The Play of Light?'. Centre for Gender Studies research seminar. University of Winchester

2013 - 'To bring the theatre into line with the best in the other arts': Velona Pilcher as a conduit for the traffic of transatlantic and European modernisms into 1920s British avant-garde theatrical culture. Women's Intercontinental Cross-currants. Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg Germany

2013 - Presentation -Practice, Process and Paradox: Creativity and the Academy. April 2013, University of Roehampton, 'Musical sensibilities and their place in current musicology.'

2013-  New Elizabethans: Nation, Culture and Identity Institute of English Studies, University of London  ''Other Elizabeths, and associates, across the water: the overlooked contribution of the Watergate Theatre Club to the formation of new contexts for experimental arts in Britain from the mid 20th century.'

2013- Music in Nineteenth century Britain, University of Cardiff, '' Imaginary Portrait of 'Israfel Mondego' , through the "ravished pen " of Gertrude Hudson, aesthetic writer on music'.

1998 Dancing on the Trenches: Erotic Expressionism and Post-war trauma in Velona Pilcher's The Searcher ', Women Writing Between the Wars, St. Johns College Oxford

2000 'Max Brand and the Music of the Night', Thwarted Voices: composers suppressed by the Third Reich, SOAS and King's College London.

2001 - 'Seven Veils and a Full Monty? Film , Music and Embodiment - actual and virtual' , Royal Musical Association Annual Conference Music and Film, Southampton University

2003 - Aesthetic explorations of personal and collective identities and their construction through 'imperfect' listening to music' 19th century Music in Britain, University of Leeds.

2005 - "Musical writing and English aestheticism, or, the 'ravished pen' and the 'temperamental critic' ", 19th century Music in Britain, University of Nottingham 

 'Someone called Velona Pilcher', University of Hull, 'Ellen Terry and Edith Craig' conference, June 200

2009 'Thought in a glow: ultra-modernity and the Scriabinist' (1913-1931), University of London, Institute of English Studies, Russia in Britain: 1880-1940: Reception, Translation and the Modernist Cultural Agenda conference

2010 'Aspiring to Musicality: Improvisations in aural-visual 'correspondence' in turn-of-the-century British Art', Tate Papers 14, Autumn 2010

2009 'Movement, poetry and Dionysian Modernism: Irene Mawer's experiments with 'dance words', University of Surrey, National Resource Centre for Dance, project 'Pioneer Women: early British modern dancers project', 'Moving Naturally: re-thinking dance 1900s -1930s', symposium 

2010 'Telling Tales in the Realms of Ficto-criticism' (1) 'Royal Musical Association: Boundaries', University of London; (2) University of Winchester 'Symposium on Creative and Critical Writing', Culture/Media/Text Research Centre

2010 'Irene Mawer's Dance Words', 'Free Verse/Free Dance', Moscow State University Russia

2010 'The Immortality of the Hour: creative engagements in the critical reception of Rutland Boughton's music drama', Music On Stage 3, Rose Bruford College, October 2010

  • 'Velona Pilcher and her American Theatre contacts', British Association of American Studies Annual Conference, UCLAN Preston, April 2011
  • 'Writerly identity in early 20th century characterisations of the Diva: exploring interactions between creative practice and personality in the literary journalism of Velona Pilcher', 'The Diva', Liverpool Hope University, July 2011
  • 'The Immortality of 'The Hour': what paradoxes are at play in perceptions of Rutland Boughton's music-dramas beyond the opera house?, Transforming Opera: Love to Death, Welsh National Opera/Cardiff University School of Music/Royal Musical Association annual conference, Millennium Centre Cardiff, May 2012.
  • 'Anglo-American expressionism in Rubbra and Pilcher's music-theatre collaboration The Searcher (1930)', Music on Stage 4, Rose Bruford College for Theatre and Performance, October 2012
  • 'Velona Pilcher: Theatrical Modernisms', University of Hull Department of English research seminar series, November 2012
  • 2012 'Theatre Arts Monthly and its role in the play of theatrical modernisms within the European avant-garde', Modernist Magazines in the Americas: Points of Departure, Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford, December 2012
  • 'Contrasts and connections in Anglo-American Expressionist writing: The Searcher in context', British Association of American Studies Annual Conference, April 2013.


  • National Council for Drama Training (Adviser on pilot accreditation process (2005-2007) and developer of training materials)
  • Quality Assurance Agency (Subject specialist reviewer:HE and HE in FE (Drama, Dance and Cinematics; Music and Music technology) 1998-2011); Auditor: IQER pilot 2006
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