Dr Sarah Whitfield

Headshot for Sarah Whitfield

Sarah K. Whitfield is a music and theatre historian, researcher and practitioner. She uses digital humanities research methods alongside traditional archival research to challenge established narratives, focusing on uncovering the work that under-represented and minoritised figures do and have done in the arts. She most recently co-authored An Inconvenient Black History of British Musical Theatre 1900-1950 with Sean Mayes, and edited the collection Reframing the Musical: Race, Culture and Identity (2019). 

She has presented her work internationally to a variety of audiences, including at a concert at Wigmore Hall around her research, on BBC Radio 3's 'Music Matters', the New York Public Library and the British Library. As a dramaturg, she has collaborated and advised on a range of projects from opera to site-specific immersive theatre to West End musicals. She has published widely on collaborative practice in music history, musical theatre, film musicals, and in Queer studies. 

She has previously worked in HE institutions, most recently as Reader in Musical Theatre at the University of Wolverhampton. She is on the editorial board for Studies in Musical Theatre. She has worked as a consultant for a range of institutions in the UK and the US including libraries and exam boards (ABRSM). 

She has supervised multiple PhDs and postgraduate research projects in music history and cultural studies, with a particular focus on digital humanities methods, Queer studies and practice-led research. 

Selected publications

Mayes S & Whitfield SK (2021), An Inconvenient Black History of British Musical Theatre 1900-1950, Methuen Drama, Bloomsbury [ISBN 9781350119642].

Whitfield SK (2020), Disrupting heteronormative temporality through Queer dramaturgies: Fun Home, Hadestown and A Strange LoopArts 9(2) (69) [DOI].

Whitfield SK (2020), A space has been made: bisexual+ stories in musical theatre, Theatre Topics, 30(2), E-5-E-12 [DOI].

Whitfield SK (ed.) (2019), Reframing the Musical: Race, Culture and Identity, Methuen Drama, Bloomsbury [ISBN 9781352004397].

Ap Siôn P, Lovelock J & Whitfield SK (2019), Rock & Pop, Musical Theatre and Jazz – Appraising Popular Music (Companion Text to A/AS Level Music WJEC), Atebol [ISBN 9781913245276].

Whitfield SK (2018), Boublil and Schönberg’s Les Misérables, Fourth Wall Series, Routledge [DOI].

Whitfield SK (2016), ‘Next you’re Franklin Shepard Inc.?’: composing the Broadway musical, a study of Kurt Weill’s working practices, Studies in Musical Theatre, 10(2), 163-176 [DOI].

Faculties / departments: Research


Latest Publications


For enquiries please contact:

Dr Sarah Whitfield

Research Associate: AHRC Project Music, Migration and Mobility


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