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Laura Purcell-Gates

Personal statement

Laura is a Reader in Drama and founder of the Arts and Social Change research group at Bath Spa University, and co-artistic director of UK-based puppetry company Wattle and Daub.

She has published in Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, Journal of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, and Popular Entertainment Studies, and has chapters in the forthcoming books Women and Puppetry: Critical and Historical Investigations (Routledge) and Migration/Representation/ Stereotypes (Palgrave MacMillan).

She is a member of the AHRC Peer Review College in the UK, a peer reviewer for Journal of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training and Palgrave MacMillan, and a steering group member of the AHRC international research network Objects with Objectives: Applied Theatre and Puppetry.

Her main areas of research concern intersectional approaches to hybrid bodies within puppetry, object theatre and cyborg performance, disability and puppetry performance, performance and medical humanities, and theatre and puppetry for social change. Her current research concerns puppetry, disability and medical humanities in collaboration with The Wellcome Trust. Her upcoming research concerns puppetry and medical constructions of sex and gender.

Academic qualifications

  • BA Vassar College
  • MTS Harvard University
  • PhD University of Minnesota.

Professional qualifications

  • CPLHE [Bath Spa University].

Professional memberships

  • Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE)
  • Theatre and Social Change Focus Group, ATHE
  • Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA)
  • Standing Conference of University Drama Departments (SCUDD)
  • Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed (PTO).

Teaching specialism

  • Puppetry and object theatre, feminist theory and performance, theatre for social change.

Current scholarship

Currently developing a research project on puppetry as intervention with UK-based asylum seeking and refugee teenagers.

Recent project lead on a multidisciplinary research and public engagement project examining monstrous bodies and the medical model in the 18th century and today, in connection with WDFT's puppet opera 'The Depraved Appetite of Tarrare the Freak: A Chamber Opera for Puppets' ( www.wattleanddaub.co.uk/tarrare ). Project partners include the Medical Humanities programme at the University of Bristol, Arnos Vale Cemetery in Bristol, Tobacco Factory Theatres in Bristol, Dr Alan Bates (Department of Pathology, University College London), Dr Havi Carel (Department of Philosophy, University of Bristol), and Dr David Turner (Department of History and Classics, Swansea University).

Research and academic outputs

Go to ResearchSPAce

The monster and the corpse: puppetry and the uncanniness of gender performance
book_section

Purcell-Gates, L (2019) 'The monster and the corpse: puppetry and the uncanniness of gender performance.' In: Astles, C, Mello, A and Orenstein, C, eds. Women and puppetry: critical and historical investigations. Routledge, Abingdon, pp. 19-34. ISBN 9780415787390


Puppetry as reinforcement or rupture of cultural perceptions of the disabled body
article

Purcell-Gates, L and Fisher, E (2017) 'Puppetry as reinforcement or rupture of cultural perceptions of the disabled body.' Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, 22 (3). pp. 363-372. ISSN 1470-112X


Puppet bodies: reflections and revisions of marionette movement theories in Philippe Gaulier’s Neutral Mask pedagogy
article

Purcell-Gates, L (2017) 'Puppet bodies: reflections and revisions of marionette movement theories in Philippe Gaulier’s Neutral Mask pedagogy.' Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, 8 (1). pp. 46-60. ISSN 1944-3927


Automata and bêtise: contamination anxieties in late nineteenth-century French mime
article

Purcell-Gates, L (2017) 'Automata and bêtise: contamination anxieties in late nineteenth-century French mime.' Popular Entertainment Studies, 8 (1). pp. 21-35. ISSN 1837-9303


‘The terrible things I’ve done’: undisciplined subjectivity of the cyborg within intermedial performance practice
article

Purcell-Gates, L (2016) '‘The terrible things I’ve done’: undisciplined subjectivity of the cyborg within intermedial performance practice.' Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, 21 (3). pp. 413-417. ISSN 1470-112X


Locating the self: narratives and practices of authenticity in French clown training
article

Purcell-Gates, L (2011) 'Locating the self: narratives and practices of authenticity in French clown training.' Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, 2 (2). pp. 231-242. ISSN 1944-3927


Spectacular bodies, unsettling objects: material performance as intervention in stereotypes of refugees
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Purcell-Gates, L (2017) Spectacular bodies, unsettling objects: material performance as intervention in stereotypes of refugees. In: Migration/Representation/Stereotypes, 28 - 30 April 2017, University of Ottawa, Canada.


Leaky boundaries: transversing the abject through puppetry performance
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Purcell-Gates, L (2016) Leaky boundaries: transversing the abject through puppetry performance. In: American Society for Theatre Research Conference 'Trans', 3-6 November 2016, Minneapolis, MN, US.


What world does this body create? Puppetry as intervention in medical approaches to the disabled body
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Purcell-Gates, L (2016) What world does this body create? Puppetry as intervention in medical approaches to the disabled body. In: Annual American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR) Conference: Trans-, 3-6 November 2016, Minneapolis, MN, US.


Staging corpses: disrupting progressive historical narrative through puppetry
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Purcell-Gates, L (2016) Staging corpses: disrupting progressive historical narrative through puppetry. In: International Federation for Theatre Research Conference Presenting the Theatrical Past: Interplays of Artefacts, Discourses and Practices, 13-17 June 2016, Stockholm University, Sweden.


Puppetry and object theatre as intervention with teenage refugees
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Purcell-Gates, L (2016) Puppetry and object theatre as intervention with teenage refugees. In: Theatre, Youth, Trauma and Europe in Crisis, 25 June 2016, Bath Spa University, Bath, UK.


The challenge of disciplinary instrumentalism within cross-disciplinary applied theatre research
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Purcell-Gates, L (2016) The challenge of disciplinary instrumentalism within cross-disciplinary applied theatre research. In: Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA) Conference, 5-7 September 2016, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.


‘The history of this monster’: puppetry as intervention in disability stratification
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Purcell-Gates, L (2014) ‘The history of this monster’: puppetry as intervention in disability stratification. In: International Federation of Theatre Research World Congress 'Theatre and Stratification', 26 July - 2 August 2014, University of Warwick, UK.


Monstrous bodies: using puppetry to engage with perceptions of disability
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Purcell-Gates, L (2014) Monstrous bodies: using puppetry to engage with perceptions of disability. In: Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) Conference - Dream Acts: Performance as Refuge, Resistance, and Renewal, 24-27 July 2014, Scottsdale, AZ, US.


Performing medical monstrosity: an autopsy of The Depraved Appetite of Tarrare the Freak
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Purcell-Gates, L (2014) Performing medical monstrosity: an autopsy of The Depraved Appetite of Tarrare the Freak. In: Performing Science: Dialogues Across Cultures, 24-26 April 2014, University of Lincoln, UK.


Puppetry workshop / Demo and discussion
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Purcell-Gates, L (2014) Puppetry workshop / Demo and discussion. In: Performing the Freak: a Dialogue Between Theatre and Science About Monstrosity, 29 March 2014 & 13 June 2014, Tobacco Factory Theatres, Bristol, UK.


The monster and the corpse: puppetry and the uncanniness of gender performance
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Purcell-Gates, L (2013) The monster and the corpse: puppetry and the uncanniness of gender performance. In: Centre for Research into Objects and Puppets in Performance Symposium: Woma/en in Puppet Theatre, 1 November 2013, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London, UK.


Depraved appetites and contamination anxieties: race, gender, and puppet bodies in 19th-century France
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Purcell-Gates, L (2013) Depraved appetites and contamination anxieties: race, gender, and puppet bodies in 19th-century France. In: Puppet Talk Forum, 15 June 2013, University of Sussex, UK.


Slippage and disorientation in 'The Master and the Margarita'
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Purcell-Gates, L (2009) Slippage and disorientation in 'The Master and the Margarita'. In: Theatre Noise Conference, 22-24 April 2009, Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London, London, UK.


The frozen face: discourses of mechanization in neutral mask training
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Purcell-Gates, L (2009) The frozen face: discourses of mechanization in neutral mask training. In: Theatre & Performance Research Association, 7-9 September 2009, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, UK.


Tout bouge: the (re)construction of the body in Lecoq-based performance pedagogy
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Purcell-Gates, L (2008) Tout bouge: the (re)construction of the body in Lecoq-based performance pedagogy. In: Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA) Conference, 3-5 September 2008, University of Leeds.


Pedagogy of proposals: devising as a tactic for individual and group identity reconciliation
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Purcell-Gates, L (2008) Pedagogy of proposals: devising as a tactic for individual and group identity reconciliation. In: Researching Applied Drama, Theatre and Performance Conference, 2-5 April 2008, University of Exeter.


Critical discourse analysis of the body workshop
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Purcell-Gates, L (2007) Critical discourse analysis of the body workshop. In: Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed (PTO) Conference, 31 May-3 June 2007, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA.


A happy mistake: creative collaboration as pedagogical strategy
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Purcell-Gates, L (2006) A happy mistake: creative collaboration as pedagogical strategy. In: Association for Theatre in Higher Education's (ATHE) Women and Theatre Program Conference, August 2006, Chicago.


Dance of the black Madonna: creating space for female transgression
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Purcell-Gates, L (2005) Dance of the black Madonna: creating space for female transgression. In: Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) Conference, 28-31 July 2005, Weston St Francis, San Francisco.


The un-taming of the shrew: rewriting Shakespeare, reconciling identity
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Purcell-Gates, L (2005) The un-taming of the shrew: rewriting Shakespeare, reconciling identity. In: Association for Theatre in Higher Education's (ATHE) Women and Theatre Program Conference, 28-31 July 2005, Weston St Francis, San Francisco.


Reflections of Jane: mirror trope as subversive strategy in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper
conference_item

Purcell-Gates, L (2005) Reflections of Jane: mirror trope as subversive strategy in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper. In: L'ordre et le chaos/Chaos and Order, March 2005, Universit de Reims Champagne Ardenne Colloque.


Tout bouge [Everything moves]: the (re)construction of the body in Lecoq‐based pedagogy
thesis

Purcell-Gates, L (2011) Tout bouge [Everything moves]: the (re)construction of the body in Lecoq‐based pedagogy. PhD thesis, University of Minnesota.


The Depraved Appetite of Tarrare the Freak
performance

Purcell-Gates, L (2017) The Depraved Appetite of Tarrare the Freak. Tobacco Factory Theatre, Bristol, UK, 25 - 28 January 2017.


The Depraved Appetite of Tarrare the Freak
performance

Purcell-Gates, L (2015) The Depraved Appetite of Tarrare the Freak. In: Bristol Festival of Puppetry, Tobacco Factory Theatre, Bristol, UK, 2-3 September 2015.


The Depraved Appetite of Tarrare the Freak: A Chamber Opera for Puppets [work in progress]
performance

Purcell-Gates, L (2012) The Depraved Appetite of Tarrare the Freak: A Chamber Opera for Puppets [work in progress]. In: Bristol Ferment, Bristol Old Vic, Bristol, UK, May-July 2012.


Triptych
performance

Purcell-Gates, L (2009) Triptych. Touring event, 2009-2011.


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