After deciding that a career in the legal profession was not as exciting as the theatre, Pamela Karantonis embarked on a Vocal Performance Degree at Elder Conservatorium, Adelaide, and was a professional opera chorister and Equity member in the Australian performing arts industry, continuing classical voice study with Reginald Byers in Sydney, Ann de Renais in London, and in masterclasses with New York-based voice coach David L. Jones. She worked with the State Opera of South Australia and also sang in Mandarin on China Central Television (broadcast live from the Sydney Opera House). She also performed the Greek genre of rebetika songs.
From the academic side of things, Pamela has always been intrigued by disruptive genres of art and considers the theatre to be at its best when it fills this remit. After a short foray into comic impersonation, Pamela undertook and completed a PhD on Impersonation from the University of New South Wales, supervised by Edward Scheer.
From 2010-2014, she jointly convened the Music Theatre Working Group of the International Federation for Theatre Research, has presented at their conferences, and jointly edited one of the group’s publications. In 2016, Pamela co-founded, along with Thomas Kampe, the Creative Corporealities Research Group (at Bath Spa University).
- PhD, UNSW, Sydney, Australia
- BA (Hons – First Class) Adelaide, South Australia
- BA, UNSW, Sydney, Australia
Pamela has a diverse background in teaching on curricula ranging from academic Drama, Performance Studies and Film Programmes, to vocationally-focussed Acting and also Musical Theatre Programmes. She has also taught on a range of critical theory modules, at MA level and PhD supervision, with equal enthusiasm.
Students working with Pamela on voice, especially, have the benefit of feedback that is individual, with detailed technical information that is positive and empowering for each situation they encounter. At Bath Spa University, the Students’ Union awarded her a trophy for the best feedback given by a University Lecturer, and this was mainly to do with mentorship of their vocal progress.
Pamela is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Interdisciplinary Voice Studies (Intellect) and has also been an Associate Editor for the International Journal of the Arts in Society. She has peer-reviewed a monograph on contemporary Australian opera and acted as peer viewer for the following journals: Studies in Musical Theatre, Malaysian Music Journal and Contemporary Theatre Review (Special Issue on Music Theatre).
She has also served as an External Examiner for the Universities of Portsmouth and Surrey at both BA and MA level and is currently Examining the FdA and HE-in-FE provisions for Bournemouth and Poole College (Musical Theatre and Contemporary Performance) under the auspices of Arts University Bournemouth.
Pamela’s most notable publications include editorships of, and contributions to, Opera Indigene – Re/presenting First Nations and Indigenous Cultures (2011) and Cathy Berberian – Pioneer of Contemporary Vocality (2014). She is currently working on material for a monograph concerning vocal performance and identity politics.
Areas of supervision
Pamela is currently supervising two PhD projects, dealing respectively, with female vocality and the solo performer, and musicality as a devising resource in contemporary performance-making. Pamela’s PhD supervision interests and expertise include: voice, identity, emerging forms of musicalised theatre (including opera, experimental work and musicals) and the decolonising of all genres of performance-making.
Publications and research outputs
Karantonis, Pamela. 2015. ‘Punk’s dead, Michael’: Artifice, independence and authenticity in Leigh Bowery’s self-fashioned post-punk performative. Punk & Post Punk, 4(2-3), pp. 205-222. ISSN 2044-1983
Karantonis, Pamela. 2008. Staged Photography and the Performance of Autofacture: Cross-Genre Impersonation in Cindy Sherman’s Self-Portraits. The International Journal of the Arts in Society: Annual Review, 3(2), pp. 37-44. ISSN 1833-1866
Karantonis, Pamela. 2023. A Bran Nue Dae? Decolonising the Musical Theatre Curriculum in The Oxford Handbook of the Global Stage Musical. In: Robert J. Gordon and Olaf Jubin, eds. The Oxford Handbook of the Global Stage Musical. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Karantonis, Pamela. 2021. Remediating the female voice in extremis(m): The Human Voice (1966) in The Female Voice in the Twentieth Century: Material, Symbolic and Aesthetic Dimensions. In: Serena Facci and Michela Garda, eds. The Female Voice in the Twentieth Century Material, Symbolic and Aesthetic Dimensions. (7) Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 172-192. ISBN 9780367418557
Karantonis, Pamela. 2015. "Transcribing Vocality: Voice at the Border of Music After Modernism". In: Ben MacPherson; Amanda Smallbone and Konstantinos Thomaidis, eds. Voice Studies: Critical Approaches to Process, Performance and Experience. Abingdon, United Kingdom: Routledge, pp. 162-176. ISBN 978-1-13880-9352
Karantonis, Pamela; Placanica, Francesca; Sivuoja-Kauppala, Anne and Verstraete, Pieter, eds. 2014. Cathy Berberian: Pioneer of Contemporary Vocality. Farnham, United Kingdom: Ashgate Publishing (Routledge). ISBN 9781409469834