Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London
Website URL
Suffrage, theatre, feminism, drama, performance, propaganda, suffragist, suffragette, actresses, edwardian, plays, activism, activist, history, magic,
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

Dr Naomi Paxton is a performer, writer, broadcaster, and researcher.

Naomi is currently employed as Knowledge Exchange Fellow at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London. She is also an Associate Fellow of the School of Advanced Study, University of London. 

Naomi trained as a performer at Goldsmiths College, University of London, and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland). After a decade as a professional actor, she started a PhD in the Drama department at the University of Manchester. Her doctoral research, completed in 2015, explored the work of the Actresses’ Franchise League and the contribution of theatre professionals to the suffrage campaign.

A confident and creative speaker and presenter, Naomi’s  extensive public engagement experience includes creating games and educational resources, collaborating with musicians and playwrights to make new work, curating exhibitions at Parliament and the National Theatre, performing and speaking at museums, archives and festivals across the UK, and appearing on radio and tv. She is the regular MC for Museums Showoff and the V&A Museum’s Stand Up at the V&A shows, was an AHRC/BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinkers for 2014-15, and also presents BBC Radio 3’s Arts and Ideas programme, Free Thinking.

In 2019 Naomi won the Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA) Early Career Research Prize for her body of work on suffrage theatre and performance, and received British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award.  Stage Rights! The Actresses’ Franchise League, Activism and Politics 1908-1958 was highly commended in the 2019 Women’s History Network Book Prize.

Naomi also performs at comedy, cabaret, magic and variety shows as her character Ada Campe. She is a member of The Magic Circle.

Recent Publications


  • Stage Rights! The Actresses’ Franchise League, activism and politics 1908-1958, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2018
  • The Methuen Drama Book of Suffrage Plays: Taking the Stage, London: Bloomsbury 2018

Chapters and articles

  • ‘Suffrage Punch and Judy’ in Alissa Mello, Claudia Orenstein, and Cariad Astles, (eds) Women and Puppetry: Critical and Historical Investigations. London: Routledge, 2019
  • ‘How the magician’s assistant creates the illusion’ for Wellcome Collection, 2019
  • ‘Very much alive and kicking: the Actresses’ Franchise League from 1914-1928’ in Maggie B. Gale, Kate Dorney (eds) Stage Women: Female Theatre Workers, Professional Practice and Agency in the Early 20th Century. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2018.
  • ‘Still Marching, Still Inspiring, Still Campaigning’ for Road to Equality, Google Arts and Culture, 2018


  • ‘Lady Beatrice Wright’, ‘Actresses’ Franchise League’ and ‘Inez Bensusan’ for Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2018
Media Coverage
Presenter BBC Radio 3 "Free Thinking; AHRC/BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinker; BBC Radio 4, BBC Parliament, BBC Two's "The Daily Politics", BBC Arts, Radio DIVA
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
United Kingdom
Expertise by Chronology
Expertise by Topic
Libraries & Archives, Literary History, Material Culture, Museums, Public History, Women, World War I