• Room 01.005 - Music

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I am open to PhD applications related to G.F. Handel, Thomas Moore, London theatre history (c.1725-1825), Music in Ireland (c. 1750-1850), 19th-century book trade


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Personal profile

Research Statement

Since 2000 I have been working with the Gibson-Massie Moore collection in Special Collections at Queen's University Belfast. I have supervised student projects at undergraduate, MA, and doctoral level and  my paper on Moore's working methods is currently under review. I have  curated the 'Thomas Moore Music Project' in the digital gallery of Special Collections, McClay library and convened a 4-week long Thomas Moore festival (spring 2013). I  am presently co-editing a volume of essays on Moore. As sponsor, I was successful in obtaining a Marie-Sklowdowska Curie Individual Fellowship for ERIN (Europe's reception of the Irish Melodies and National Airs: Thomas Moore in Europe). This project, which will commence in September 2015, will give rise to a series of digital and analog outputs that will situate the Gibson-Massie Moore collection as an internationally-renowed resource while including a significant element of public outreach, with aspired impact. My (international) conference presentation at BARS (July 2015) is also linked to this project.

My 2013 book, Dance in Handel's London Operas,  surveys  London theatre practice in the first half of the eighteenth century,  situating Handel's response to theatrical dance in relation to his immediate theatrical environment. I challenge the notion that theatrical dance was necessarily peripheral to Italian opera before Gluck, while suggesting that the London theatre scene may have had more impact on opera reform on the continent than has previously been assumed. Its wider value to 18th-century music studies has been recognised (see attached review in PURE record.)

I continue my exploration of London theatre historiography with my (online output, open access) re-evalution of theatre manager John Rich, whose role as an active participant in contemporary aesthetic debates regarding opera has previously been unrecognised. My article on Italian dancers is significant as it contributes to a wider study of cultural transmission; my articles and book chapters on the dancer Marie Salle variously consider her as a stimulant for musical invention or emerging theatrical aesthetics, and also as a role model for younger female dancers. My 2013 keynote address for 'Plays, Places and Participants' broadened my study of female theatrical dancers to detail their professional and personal situation in London, circa 1770-1810. This chapter-length study has stimulated my present monograph: Fame and the Female Dancer, 1720-1850.

Research Interests

In 2010, Sarah McCleave  was appointed a co-editor of Theatre Notebook.   She continues to develop her interests in theatrical dance of the long eighteenth century through published work which calls on disciplines as varied as source studies, reception history, textual criticism, musical analysis, and gender studies.  She has  completed the twice-AHRB funded monograph, Dance in Handel’s London Operas  (University of Rochester Press, Feb. 2013). In October 2012 she appeared as an invited speaker for the project 'Les Arts Vivants au prisme du genre' (Paris). She was a keynote speaker for 'Plays, Places, and Participants,' at the Norwegian University for Science and Technology, Trondhemin, November 2013. She is also an invited speaker for the 2015 International Halle Handel Conference. She  is also a New Grove contributor, and has published in Dance Research, Music and Letters, The Consort,the Göttinger Handel-Beiträge, and the Cambridge Handel Encyclopedia. She  is  a founding member of Irish RISM and was a Council member for the Society of Musicology in Ireland (2003-2006).  McCleave  is twice the recipient of the Society for Theatre Research’s “Anthony Denning” award (1992, 2012). She has acted as a peer reviewer for Music and Letters, the AHRC, SSHRCC, and also the IRCHSS. She served on the committee for the JISC project awarded to the Department of Music, Cardiff University (2011-12).


Her research interests include:

Thomas Moore (1779-1852),  his relationship with his music publishers, and his impact on the 19th-century publishing industry.

The professionalisation of theatre dance, with particular reference to female performers and choreographers.

London theatre in the long eighteenth century, particularly the 'reciprocal relations' between genres

G.F. Handel (1685-1759), particularly his extra-musical influences


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