Posted on 18/01/2011
It is with great sadness that we have to announce that David Bradby, Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies and Honorary Fellow in the Department, has died after a long illness.
David joined the Drama and Theatre Department as Head of Department in 1988 after working at the University of Caen and the University of Kent, whose Drama Department he co-founded. He studied at Oxford, trained as a teacher at the University of Bristol and completed his PhD in Glasgow.
David was a great expert in – and enthusiast for – contemporary French theatre, writing a definitive history of the post-war theatre, Modern French Theatre 1940-1990, and monographs on the playwright Michel Vinaver and the director Roger Planchon, in whose company, briefly, he served as a performer while working as a language assistant in Lyon. His book Director’s Theatre, co-written with David Williams, is a key document in theatre studies for its concept – inspired by Planchon – of ‘écriture scénique’ or ‘scenic writing’. Just as the playwright writes the page, the director is the author of the stage.
He was also inspired by les événements of May 1968 and never lost a sense of the theatre as a place of political turmoil, contestation and dialogue. He championed some of the most innovative fringe theatre companies of the 1970s, his friendships with figures like Max Stafford-Clark bridging the worlds of academia and theatre making.
David was an inspiring teacher, a wonderful colleague, and lived in all respects an admirable life. Everyone who knew him and was taught by him will feel his loss very deeply.