Dr Sarah Browne

Head of the School of Performing Arts

Email address: sarah.browne@wlv.ac.uk Phone number: 01902 01902 322051 Location: WH215, The Performance Hub Faculty: Faculty of Arts School/Institute: School of Performing Arts Areas of expertise:

Musical Theatre, Popular Music, Critical Musicology


Sarah was born and raised in the Black Country.  Having first trained as a pianist and vocalist, Sarah completed her graded music examinations at an early age. She began performing on stage in musicals at professional venues and then moved to the orchestra pit.  As conductor, arranger and musical director, Sarah has worked extensively with a number of orchestras and operatic societies in and around the region.
Sarah began her teaching career in secondary schools and sixth forms, teaching A Level Music and Performance Studies, in addition to helping schools achieve full Arts College status.  She has been responsible for the creation of numerous Musical Theatre courses; both at level three and Foundation Degree level. Previously, she successfully managed a large Performing Arts department in the Further Education sector with oversight of all Performing Arts subjects, Media and Film.
In 2008, Sarah worked in partnership with the University of Wolverhampton to author a Foundation Degree in Musical Theatre.  She was subsequently appointed as Course Leader for the BA (Hons) Musical Theatre course and was responsible for writing both the BA (Hons) degree in Musical Theatre and Drama and the MA Musical Theatre course. During this time, Sarah also established Musical Theatre West Midlands (MTWM), an initiative designed to foster and promote new musical theatre in the region. She was appointed to the post of Acting Head of Drama and Musical Theatre in 2014, Head of Music and Musical Theatre in 2015 and is now Head of the School of Performing Arts.
As Athena Swan representative, Sarah is proud to be promoting and supporting the work of female leaders in the University. She is currently working with The Canales Project and the UN Decade of Women project on the initiative, Hear Her Song.

Research interests

Sarah welcomes enquiries about research supervision. Her areas of expertise and supervision are:

  • Gender and racial politics in Musical Theatre
  • American musical theatre of the 1960s
  • Stage to screen musicals and film theory
  • Subsidised British revivals of the American canon
  • Thesis: The performance of rebellion in the musical, Hair


Membership of professional bodies

Committee Member of NAMHE (National Association of Music in Higher Education)


PhD in Musicology: University of Winchester

PGCE Secondary Music: University of Central England

BA (Hons) Music: University of Wolverhampton


  • Browne, S. (2018) 'Girl Talk: Feminist Phonocentrism as Act of Resistance in the Musical, Hair' Studies in Musical Theatre, 12:3 [Forthcoming]
  • Browne, S. (2018) ‘Dedicated to the Proposition…..’ Raising Cultural Consciousness in the Musical, Hair in Whitfield, S. (ed). Reframing the Musical: Race, Culture and Identity. Palgrave [Forthcoming]
  • Browne, S. (2017) The Last Five Years: Medium, Mode and the Male Gaze in Rodosthenous, G. (ed).  Twenty First Century Musicals: From Stage to Screen. Routledge 
  • Browne, S. (2015) 'Everybody's Free to Fail: subsidised British revivals of the American canon', In: Gordon R; Jubin O (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of the British Musical. Oxford University Press. 

Conference Papers:

  • ‘From Hair to Hamilton: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells your Story?’ Song, Stage and Screen Conference (CUNY, USA) and International Federation of Theatre Research Conference (University of Stockholm, Sweden) 2016.
  • 'The Tribal Sacrifice: Re-balancing the role of the female in Tharp’s choreography for the film musical, Hair'. Society of Dance Research Conference (St Hilda's College, Oxford University, UK), 2015.
  • 'What a Piece of Work is Man: Negation of the female in the stage to screen adaptation of Hair'. Restaging the Song Conference (University of Sheffield, UK) 2014.
  • ‘Girl Talk: Feminist Phonocentrism as act of resistance in the musical, Hair.’ Song, Stage and Screen XIII (UCLA, Los Angeles, USA) May 2018

Experience in industry

  • September 2018: Head of the School of Performing Arts
  • September 2015 - August 2018: Principal Lecturer, Head of Music
  • October 2014 - September 2015: Joint Acting Head of Department Drama and Musical Theatre/Head of Musical Theatre
  • Aug 2012: Senior Lecturer Musical Theatre, University of Wolverhampton
  • Sep 2004 - July 2012: Centre Manager: Performing Arts and Media, Dudley College,
  • 2002 - 2004: A Level Music Co-ordinator, Coppice Performing Arts School,
  • 2000 - 2002: Musical Theatre Lecturer, Sandwell College,
  • 1998 - 2000: A Level Music Co-ordinator, Thorns Arts College.

Sarah has previously worked as conductor, arranger and vocal director.

Further information

Teaching Responsibilities

Module Leader:

  • 5DR008 – Politics, Popular Performance and Musical Theatre
  • 5DR013 - Musical Theatre Repertoire (Intermediate)
  • 6DR006 – Musical Theatre Production.
  • MA by Research in Performing Arts

Non-Teaching Responsibilities:

  • Head of School
  • Faculty Quality Enhancement Committee Member
  • Faculty Board Member
  • Deans Advisory Group Member
  • Athena Swan Representative

Further Information

  • Founder of Musical Theatre West Midlands (MTWM)
  • External Advisor - BA (Hons) Musical Theatre (University of Chester),
  • External Examiner - BA (Hons) Musical Theatre (Hammond College, University of Chester).