Kirsty Surgey

MA, BA (Hons), PGCE

School of English

Research Student

  • Theatre and Performance MA, 2014, University of Sheffield
  • Secondary English PGCE, 2003, Sheffield Hallam University
  • English Literature BA(Hons), 2002, University of Sheffield
Research interests
  • Performance
  • Family Histories
  • Stories
  • Transtextuality
  • Practice

My research project is practice-led and is investigating how family histories can be shared through performance experiences. I am exploring how performance can explore relationships between public, private, personal and professional histories.

This research uses uses Gérard Genette’s framework of transtextuality as an analytical tool. This framework offers a set of terms that can be used to unpick the relationships between and within texts.

By considering performance as a form of hypertext, it will be possible to consider elements of the performance as individual texts, as well as in relation to other texts inside and outside of the performance.

As a researcher, I am developing practice that makes use of my own family history and that invites audience participants to reflect on theirs. I am analysing the process of developing and sharing new performances that weave multiple texts into hypertexts.

Some of these texts may have physical presence in the performance work, in the form of objects, whilst other texts may be integrated into spoken narrative or may be revealed through action.

Increasingly the method of play is becoming significant in my research and in September 2017 I presented at the TaPRA conference on this topic. In the gallery at the conference, I invited delegates to play with a pack cards illustrated with photographs representing family history and performance.

The intention was that every game played with the cards provided a new version of the performance hypertext and the cards become both document and performance experience.

Research group
  • Terra Incognita
  • PaRNet


  • Dr Carmen Levick
  • Dr Bill McDonnell
Conference Presentations
  • ‘Playing at family history: Documenting the performance hypertext’, (installation and presentation, TaPRA Conference 2017, University of Salford, September 2017
  • ‘If the suit fits…’ Intertextual objects in Third Angel’s Cape Wrath’ (paper), ‘Where From Here: 21 Years of Third Angel’, Leeds Beckett University, November 2016
  • ‘The space in-between: Slide projection in family history performance’, Returning Ghosts: Performance and New Technologies WG Interim Event, Buckinghamshire New University, May 2016
  • Washing your dirty linen in public: The ethics of placing personal history on a public stage’, Thresholds and Permeability in Performance: TaPRA Postgraduate Symposium, The University of Sheffield, February 2016
  • ‘Museum Piece: Isabella’, Interactions with the real: Practice-based Research Conference, Royal Holloway University London, November 2015
  • ‘Neither here nor there: An exploration of how technology is exploited to change spatial relationships in contemporary performance practice’,
  • ‘‘Alternative Spaces’: A Postgraduate Inter-disciplinary Conference’, University of Kent (Paris Campus), June 2014