Ms Jennifer Voss

Job: PhD student

Faculty: Arts, Design and Humanities

School/department: School of Humanities and Performing Arts

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH

T: N/A



Publications and outputs


Book Review: Tom Cantrell and Christopher Hogg (eds) (2018) Exploring Television Acting, London: Bloomsbury, Methuen Drama, in Journal of British Cinema and Television, 16:1

Research interests/expertise

Jennifer Voss is a final year PhD candidate in Drama Studies and Film History at De Montfort University, and is funded by the AHRC in partnership with Midlands 3 Cities. Jennifer’s doctoral research, which uses performance theory to build upon a traditional film studies approach to cinema history, focuses on actresses’ performance of emotion during the transition from silent to sound cinema in Britain and America. Her research interests include:

Actor training histories
Transition from silent to sound film 
Welfare/ethics in actor/performance training
Exploitation of women in the film industry
Film/Star/Theatre/Performer archives
Film fan magazines

Areas of teaching

DRAM1003 Texts and Stages
DRAM1011 Performance in Context: History and Analysis
FILM1001 Introduction to Global Film History


MA(Res) Drama and Film History
BA(Hons) Drama Studies and Media and Communications

Conference attendance


'Magazines, Mythologies and the "Mad Silent Star": Using the Archive to Reframe Women’s Experiences in Early Hollywood', Stardom and the Archive Symposium, University of Exeter


'Fairy-tales, Film Stars, and Fragmented Histories: Using the Archive to Uncover Women's Experiences in Early Hollywood', New Approaches to Silent Film Historiography: Technology, Spectatorship and the Archive, University of Leeds

'"Catch 'em young, treat 'em rough, tell 'em nothing": A Study into the Emotional Exploitation of Women in Silent Cinema', Women in Hollywood Symposium, De Montfort University 


'Women, Emotion, and Melodrama: Blurring the Boundaries of Performance in Mary Pickford's Tess of the Storm Country (1922)', Exploring Boundaries in Film and Television, Cinema and Television History (CATH) Research Centre Postgraduate Conference, De Montfort University

'Women, Emotion, and Melodrama: Reconsidering Performative Perspectives of Melodrama for the Silent Screen', Genre Studies: Now! BAFTSS Annual Conference, University of Bristol


'"The Hardest Working Girl in Hollywood": Clara Bow, Louise Brooks and the Welfare of the Performer', Doing Women's Film and Television History III: Structures of Feeling, Women's Film and Television History Network, De Montfort University

'The Emotional Machine: Clara Bow, Louise Brooks and the Welfare of the Performer in Training', Drama and Performance Conference, Sapienza University, Rome​


'Performative Persona: A Comparative Study of Louise Brooks and Clara Bow', Outlines: MA Performance Practices and Research Showcase, De Montfort University

PhD project

PhD title

Performing Emotion: Women's screen acting and the transition from silent to sound cinema, 1926-1934


Utilising performance theories developed within drama studies, this project will bring an interdisciplinary perspective to traditional film history scholarship, in the investigation of women’s performances of emotion during the transition from silent to sound cinema. Contributing to the development of women’s film history, this thesis will consider ​a range of key actresses, including Mary Pickford, Lillian Gish, Joan Crawford, Norah Baring, Madeleine Carroll and Mabel Poulton, in a comparative study of their silent and sound performances within films from Britain and America from 1926 -1934. Adhering to a feminist perspective, the focus on these women’s necessarily evolving and carefully constructed performances of emotion, will serve to challenge essentialist ideologies that highlight women as naturally aligned with emotion​.