Thursday, 1 March 2018


Copied below – short blurb on my doctoral research and description of a favourite office object,  featured this week on the ANZAMEMS Postgraduate and Early Career Researchers' Facebook group (thankyou!)

My doctorate research is on modern revivals and reinventions of the medieval York mystery play cycle, exploring the modern cultural needs that have looked to revive and sustain the play cycle in (and for) current and future generations. I am interested in how the the cycle’s role and intent differ today from the Middle Ages, and in what ways they remain the same or comparable. I am also intrigued by what draws people to modern productions of the cycle – why the cycle is still played today, the expectations with which audiences approach the plays, and how contemporary viewers experience performances.
This month I leave on a research trip to the UK, Canada and US for archival work, interviews with academics, cast and creatives involved in recent productions of the plays, and observation of the September waggon production of the plays in the York streets.

This is Nicholas, my Hubberholme knitted mouse. Named after Nicholas Blackburn, a fifteenth-century mercer who features prominently in my MA thesis, my mother brought him back from the UK for me, along with the photographs of the Hubberholme church rood screen I neglected to take on my MA research trip and which proved vital to my thesis! The Hubberholme screen is one of only two surviving medieval rood screens in England; the church is also known for the mice (not medieval) carved into the oak pews – the trademark of the woodcarver Robert Thompson, ‘the mouseman of Kilburn.’

Monday, 13 November 2017

The mundane and the marvellous

This is legitimately my working life in the Arts Assignment Centre ;D via

stamping assignments ~ scanning assignments ~ filing assignments ~ counting assignments ~ stapling assignments (see above) ~ impaling one's thumb on badly stapled assignments ~ requesting students to please include a cover sheet with their assignments ~ students' smiles when they collect assignments and find they've done well ~ having to tell students, "No, sorry, your assignment has not been returned yet" ~ realising how very rarely people actually notice the person on the other side of a reception desk ~ being polite and nice for an entire working day ~ laughing with office mates ~ commiserating with fellow PhD students ~ the lunchtime rush in the common room kitchen, and the delicate dance between fridge, cupboards, microwave, drawers, sink and dishwasher ~ arriving first in the morning, and the secret satisfaction of knowing one has the entire English department to one's self ~ afternoon tea parties in the common room ~ passing the provisional year review two months early ~ having people explain just how highly they rate (or don't) a PhD in medieval drama ~ being told by a Professor in the field that a PhD in medieval drama is "necessary work" ~ writing 1,000 words a day with ease ~ writing 300 words a day with an effort greater than squeezing blood from a stone ~ having a conference abstract accepted ~ having an article rejected ~ trying to present ad lib for the first time ~ booking a one-way flight to England for a summer of research ~ the generosity, academic and otherwise, of strangers ~ an inbox full of replies to a call for information on the York plays ~ academic detective work ~ when one's university computer dies (again) ~ renewing library books ~ scribbled pencil notes ~ a paper-strewn desk ~ poppies in Albert Park ~ oak trees in full green leaf ~ the overloaded and heavenly scented philadelphus bush behind Old Choral Hall ~ the power of poetry ~ the Clocktower striking noon ~ walking down to St Pat's after lunch ~ people watching ~ the Pop-up Globe opening again soon ~ summer...

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

This day...

... is call'd the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say, 'Tomorrow is Saint Crispian:'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say, 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.'
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot, 
But he'll remember with advantages
What feast he did that day: then shall our names,
Familiar in their mouths as household words –
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloster, –
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered, –
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs't they were not here;
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Have you seen the York Mystery Plays?

Just received university ethics clearance for interviewing people involved with the York Mystery Plays. Now I need people to talk to! Please get in touch or help spread the word!



Eleanor Bloomfield, a PhD candidate at the University of Auckland, is researching modern revivals of the York mystery play cycle and is seeking first-hand accounts of the plays. Anyone who has seen, or been involved with, any performances of the York plays from 1951 to the present day, and is willing to be interviewed regarding their memories, impressions and experiences, please contact or write to Eleanor Bloomfield, The University of Auckland (English, Drama and Writing Studies), 14A Symonds St, 206-646, Auckland 1010, New Zealand. Confidential interviews will be held in Britain between March and September 2018. Approved by the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee on 10th October 2017 for three years. Reference Number 020006.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Pride and Prejudice public reading

This year is the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's death, and to mark the occasion the UoA English department is holding a public reading of scenes from Pride and Prejudice. Tuesday 29th August 2pm – 5pm in 207-501 (Arts 2 building, Pat Hanan Room).

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid. ~ Northanger Abbey