Philippa Burt

Philippa’s interests are the sociology of the theatre, ensemble companies, and twentieth-century British theatre.

Staff details

Philippa Burt




Theatre and Performance


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Dr Philippa Burt is a Lecturer in the Department of Theatre and Performance. Her research centres on twentieth-century British theatre, and, in particular, the emerging role of the director and the changing notion of ensemble practice during this period. Methodologically rooted in the sociology of the theatre, she approaches such work from a sociocultural, political and economic standpoint. She is also interested in questions of collectivity within theatre, the intersections of performance and visual art, and experiments in the performer-spectator relationship.

Academic qualifications

  • PhD Drama and Theatre Arts, Goldsmiths, University of London (thesis title: The Ideal of Ensemble Practice in Twentieth-century British Theatre, 1900-1968)
  • MA, Performance and Culture: Interdisciplinary Perspective Goldsmiths, University of London
  • BA (Hons) Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, University of Surrey, Roehampton


Philippa is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and has led courses for Rose Bruford College and Colgate University, New York. At Goldsmiths, she teaches on a range of modules and programmes at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. In particular, she specializes in modernist and postmodern performance, including the historical and neo-avant-garde periods; critical theory; the crossovers between political theory and performance; performance art and hybrid performances; and sociocultural theory.

Philippa’s embraces a student-centred approach to teaching that provides space for students to draw on their own experience and expertise to inform their understanding of the material to be discussed and to develop their own opinions and arguments in dialogue with their peers. She is also committed to diversifying the curriculum to make it fully representative of the changing world of the theatre and to ensure that it is fully accessible.

Professional activities

Philippa is the Assistant Editor of New Theatre Quarterly (Cambridge University Press) and was the recipient of a Harry Ransom Research Fellowship in Humanities at the University of Texas, Austin, undertaken in June 2016. With the Sociology of Theatre and Performance Research Group, led by Professor Shevtsova, she organized four international postgraduate colloquia, including The Politics of Practice (February 2012) and Culture in Crisis (May 2013). She has also organized a series of collaborative research seminars with postgraduate students at the Freie Universität Berlin and, more recently, organized a research seminar titled ‘Granville Barker: The New Research’ with Professor Simon Shepherd at Central School of Speech and Drama in February 2019.

Publications and research outputs


Burt, Philippa. 2022. ‘The Best Thing I Ever Did on the Stage’: Edward Gordon Craig and the Purcell Operatic Society. New Theatre Quarterly, 38(3), pp. 258-269. ISSN 0266-464X

Burt, Philippa. 2019. Waste. Literary Encyclopedia, 1.2.08, ISSN 1747-678X

Burt, Philippa. 2018. From the Western Front to the East Coast: Barker's Trojan Women in the USA. New Theatre Quarterly, 34(4), pp. 326-338. ISSN 0266-464X

Book Section

Burt, Philippa. 2024. Ensembles and Companies. In: Claire Cochrane; Lynette Goddard; Catherine Hindson and Trish Reid, eds. The Routledge Companion to Twentieth Century British Theatre and Performance - Volume One: 1900–1950. Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN 9780367487898

Burt, Philippa. 2023. American 'Invasions'. In: Helen E. M Brooks and Michael Hammond, eds. The Cambridge Companion to British Theatre of the First World War. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 160-178. ISBN 9781108673778

Burt, Philippa. 2018. 'The mind goes back to the golden fairies...' Granville Barker's Choral Work. In: Michael Patterson, ed. The Great European Stage Directors, Volume 4: Reinhardt, Jessner, Barker. London: Bloomsbury Academic. ISBN 9781474253970


Burt, Philippa. 2021. 'The Meaning of Ensemble in the History of British Theatre'.

Conference or Workshop Item

Burt, Philippa. 2018. 'Colluding to Protect the State? The Case of the Arts Council, Special Branch and Theatre Workshop'. In: Theatricality, Performance and the State. Queen Mary, University of London, United Kingdom 7 - 8 June, 2018.

Burt, Philippa. 2017. 'Barker, Euripides and the War Effort in North America'. In: Dramaturgies of War: Institutional Dramaturgy, Politics and Conflict in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. University of Glasgow/Goethe-Institut Glasgow, United Kingdom 25 – 26 January 2018.


Burt, Philippa. 2015. The Ideal of Ensemble Practice in Twentieth-century British Theatre, 1900-1968.. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London

Areas of supervision

Philippa’s supervision interests and expertise include British theatre history; modernist theatre experiments, especially innovations in theatre making and directorial processes; research drawing on the sociology of the theatre; and ensemble theatre making.