More publicity for theatre book

There have been a couple more mentions of my new book, Life on the Victorian Stage, in the press over the last couple of weeks.

Firstly, the Banbury Guardian did a short interview with me, which can be found online here.

Secondly, the Stratford Herald, which I contribute a monthly history column to, included a lovely boxout on the book.

And finally, Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine included the book in its review section this month.


New book out now

My new book, Life on the Victorian Stage, has now been published by Pen & Sword. It looks at the lives of those involved in the Victorian entertainment world – from actors, singers and dancers to their agents and managers, and playwrights and composers.

It looks at their professional lives, but also at their private lives and, more frequently than you might think, their criminal and litigious lives! It also studies how the theatre world was targeted by criminals.

To tie-in with the publication of the book, I also wrote this month’s cover feature for Your Family History magazine.

This shows you how to research your own theatrical ancestor – from first performances and training and stage names, to hard times to retirement.

I also have a double-page feature on the book, where I look at some Midland cases from the 19th century, in the monthly Focus magazine with this week’s Stratford Herald newspaper.

Creative Histories at Bristol Zoo

I was lucky enough to speak at a three-day conference in Bristol last week that explored ways in which researchers, writers, artists and curators, amongst others, can bring the past to life in different ways.

The Creative Histories conference – held in the brilliant surroundings of Bristol Zoo Gardens – included plays, artwork and storytellers, as well as the more traditional papers that looked at how to present history in creative ways.

My paper looked at how techniques from journalism – from the likes of Henry Mayhew and Jacob Riis through to the New Journalism of Tom Wolfe and co – can help make a more creative history.

The conference gave me lots of ideas and inspiration for my next book – and my Storify of the conference can be found

Companion to Crime and Criminal Justice published today

I am very pleased to have contributed sections to a new book, A Companion to the History of Crime and Criminal Justice, which is published by Policy Press today.

Some fantastic criminologists and crime historians have written for this book, and of course, I’d strongly recommend it!


Society for Theatre Research award

This week, I was very pleased to be given a research award by the Society for Theatre Research, at a presentation at the Art Workers’ Guild in London.

The award is towards the cost of a trip to the Billy Rose Theatre Division of the New York Public Library this autumn, as part of my research into transatlantic theatre in the fin de siècle.

This is for a book I’m currently working on, which combines my interests in both theatre and criminal history, and I’m very appreciative that the STR recognised the ‘importance’ of the area I’m researching. I’d also like to say thank you to my two referees, and I owe you both a coffee. 🙂

More on this book to come in due course!



Recent online work


I’ve recently written a couple of things online – firstly, an article for the New York History Review on my ancestor, who left middle-class financial security in Oxford for the American dream, but who died a pauper and was buried in New York’s Potters Fields. You can read it here.

Secondly, I wrote a guest blog post, as part of Women’s History Month, for the AHRC-funded Women Negotiating the Boundaries of Justice: Britain and Ireland, c1100-c1750 project, which can be read here.