Dr Naomi Paxton

Contact details

Dr Naomi Paxton
Position/Fellowship type:
Cultural Engagement Fellow
Fellowship term:
01-Feb-2016 to 30-Jun-2016
Central Services of the School
Email address:

Research Summary and Profile

Research interests:
Civil Rights, Cultural memory, Culture, Gender studies, History, Metropolitan history, Political Institutions, Politics
Summary of research interests and expertise:
Before beginning her academic career Naomi trained and worked as a performer, and has appeared on stage in the West End and on tour in the UK and internationally. Her doctoral research, completed in 2015, explored the work of the Actresses' Franchise League, an organisation founded in 1908 by theatre professionals to support the suffrage campaign. Continued research interests include the work of suffragist theatre professionals on and off stage, histories of feminist and political theatre and past and present networks of activism and performance. Passionate about public engagement, Naomi was one of the AHRC/BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinkers in 2014-15, and has spoken about her research at numerous events, including literary and arts festivals, on the radio and in a short film for BBC Arts. She is an Associate Artist for the feminist production hub Scary Little Girls. In 2013 Bloomsbury published her edited volume 'The Methuen Drama Book of Suffrage Plays', which was launched at the National Theatre with the Platform event 'Suffragettes on Stage', drawing together performers and scholars to discuss the support for the suffrage movement within the Edwardian theatre industry and beyond. From 2015-16 she was Research Associate at the University of Manchester for the AHRC project 'Poor Theatres', which explored the relationships between theatre, poverty and performance.
Project summary relevant to Fellowship:
I'm very excited to be a Cultural Engagement Fellow at the School of Advanced Study and to be working on the Being Human Festival and related events.
Publication Details

Related publications/articles:

Date Details
31-Jan-2013 The Methuen Drama Book of Suffrage Plays

Edited Book

The Methuen Drama Book of Suffrage Plays is an anthology of eight exciting pieces written for and by members of the Actresses Franchise League from 1909-13. Immediately playable, they offer strong, varied roles for female casts, while also providing invaluable source material to students and scholars from a wide range of disciplines.Featuring 'How The Vote Was Won' which remains one of the most popular and well known suffrage plays, the volume also includes seven shorter works:'Lady Geraldine's Speech' (1909), a fantastic, fun piece for actresses. Lady Geraldine hasn't thought through the Suffrage cause and, on a visit to an old school friend meets some charismatic, successful and intelligent women who soon enlighten and encourage her on to the right path! 'Pot and Kettle' (1909), a comic piece in which a young woman returns to her family in great distress having assaulted a suffragette who was sitting near her at a Anti-Suffragist meeting.'Miss Appleyard's Awakening' about an anti-suffrage campaigner who finds herself in the home of a sympathizer but ends up inadvertently drawing her hostesses' attention to the contradictions in her arguments 'Her Vote' by the actor and playwright Henry Esmond which provides an interesting male viewpoint on the movement, criticizing the young suffragist for wanting to be part of a movement about which she seems to understand little.'The Anti-Suffragist or The Other Side', a charming, clever monologue about a sheltered young woman who finds herself increasingly involved with her local Anti-Suffrage society and increasingly puzzled by what she learns there.'The Mother's Meeting', an entertaining monologue that uses a working class character to expose the inconsistencies in the Anti-Suffrage arguments. 'Tradition' was first performed at a matinee for the Woman Suffrage Party held at the Berkeley Theatre in New York City on Saturday 24 January 1913.The plays featured articulate the arguments of the Suffrage Movement through a variety of styles, both comic and serious, and perfectly illustrate the use of drama as a medium for social change and entertainment. Together with illustrations and an introduction charting the history of the Actresses Franchise League and exploring the context and provenance of the plays, this is an excellent resource for both study and performance.

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