Close up of a saxophone under spotlights at a concert


Bringing people together to explore relationships between jazz and musical theatre

About this network

This AHRC network brings together an international group of scholars to exchange ideas about connections between musical theatre and jazz in dialogue with practitioners and industry workers. Through these exchanges, the network aims to develop new approaches, practices and conceptions at the intersection of forms and understandings. Network events are convened by Prof. George Burrows (University of Portsmouth) and Prof Nicholas Gebhardt (Birmingham City University).  

For more information, please contact

Why explore connections between musical theatre and jazz?

Musical theatre references jazz in its music and performance styles and in its representations of race, gender, sexuality and class. Conversely, jazz has adopted features of musical theatre in its repertoire of ‘standards’ and approaches to performing, recording and marketing. While such intersections have sometimes been acknowledged, the understandings, features and practices common to both forms have not been explored in detail before or considered for their meanings and developmental potential. The Musical Theatre and All That Jazz Research Network seeks to put that right and to see what can be gained by working across or between forms.

What sorts of questions will the network explore?

What does it mean that shows as diverse as Pal Joey (1940), Gypsy (1959), Chicago (1975), City of Angels (1989) and Lady Day (2014) directly reference jazz?

What is the merit of reading celebrated jazz performances, like John Coltrane’s recordings of ‘My Favorite Things’, relative to their musical theatre origins?

What happens when jazz musicians create work with musical theatre professionals?

What is gained for scholarship, practice and industry in conceiving of a cross-disciplinary and international understanding of forms, practices and meanings?


What is an AHRC research network?

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) aims to stimulate new debate and exchange of ideas between researchers and stakeholders on a specific thematic area or issue by covering costs for workshops, seminars, networking activities or other events. For more details visit the UKRI website.

How can I access the network and what is involved?

The network is accessible to anyone with an interest in its scope. It features a number of public events during its 18-month run, many of them available online by following links on this page, including keynote lectures, panel discussions and performances. Scholar discussions begin by considering ‘histories, materials and methods’ before turning to debate ‘forms, discourses and identities’ and then ‘audiences, policies and industries’. Scholars of any discipline are welcome to join the network membership for these discussions and anyone working within the musical theatre and jazz industries is also most welcome.

To get involved, simply drop us an email. You can also follow us on social media.

Latest news, blogs and resources

Jelly's first jam

by Jeffrey Magee
Read more

'Showstopper!': Improvising a musical during lockdown

by Prof. George Burrows
Read more

King Creole

by Prof. Nicholas Gebhardt
Read more

Our members

As our research network grows, so does its membership.

We’re still actively recruiting members, so we'll be adding more names to the list below as they're confirmed.

Who we are

To view an academic's profile, please click their name (all links open in a new window).

  • Victoria Boyce (Practitioner)
  • Hannah Price (Practitioner)
  • Shari John-Jules (Practitioner)
  • Simon Lambert (Practitioner)
  • Matthew Burns (Practitioner)
  • James Mainwaring (Practitioner)
  • Rob Gathercole (Practitioner)
  • Hannah Robbins (University of Nottingham)
  • Sven Bjerstedt (Lund University)
  • Anna Bull (University of York)
  • Daphne A. Brooks (Yale University)
  • Thomas A. Riis (University of Colorado Boulder)
  • John Craven (Kings College, University of London)
  • Marianne Larsen (Munich Theatre Academy)
  • Josef E. Köpplinger (Gärtnerplatztheater, Munich)
  • Lars Hansen is a highly versatile bass player and teacher who has worked in jazz ensembles as much as musical theatre orchestra pits
  • Petter Frost Fadnes (University of Stravanger)
  • Julian Woolford (University of Surrey)
  • Dustyn Martincich (Bucknell University)
  • William Allenby (University of Chichester)

Partners and funding

The Musical Theatre and All That Jazz network is the recipient of funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and run in partnership with Birmingham City University.

Musical Theatre and All That Jazz logo
Arts and Humanities Research Council logo
Birmingham City University logo