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Dr Catherine Quirk

Lecturer in Drama

English & Creative Arts

Department: English & Creative Arts

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Pronouns: she/her

Email: quirkc [at] edgehill [dot] ac [dot] uk

I’m a Canadian-born scholar-practitioner with a keen interest in recognising voices that have historically been silenced, hidden, and marginalised, particularly those of women. In my research, teaching, and practice, I interrogate the histories, practices, and structures which have led to these voices being obscured. As a theatre historian, I’m particularly interested in encouraging the study of history and historical practices as a useful scaffolding for creative work.

I completed my PhD at McGill University, before teaching Theatre History at Concordia University, both in Montréal, Canada. My dissertation, “Self-Making: Acts of Performance in the Victorian Novel”, analysed autobiographical writings of nineteenth-century women actors alongside a range of novels from the period to argue that throughout the nineteenth century women self-consciously separate their performing and performed selves. Both on stage and in fiction, this practice allows for the creation of a sustained public identity while preserving the privacy of the self.

The theoretical framework of this research forms the basis of my current book project, Writing Performance: Actress Memoir and Performance Theory, 1830-2016, which considers the narrativization of performance theory in women actors’ autobiographical writings from the nineteenth century through the present. My research and practice also consider the affordances of alternative performance spaces, particularly those offered by VR and various social media platforms. I’m currently working on creative projects for Twitter and VR spaces, and am co-editing with Dr. Carolyn Ownbey (Golden Gate University) a collection on play in the time of Covid, and what the adaptations necessitated by the pandemic suggest about the futures of a variety of art and entertainment fields.

Research Interests

The long nineteenth century; theatre histories; digital, online, social media, multimedia, intermedial and XR performance; performance theory; intersections between literature and theatre; women’s writing and performance