Regretfully, the former head of our Drama and Theatre department, David Bradby, passed away on the 17th of January. Bradby was an important figure in the department from 1988 until he retired in 2007. The department came a long way in those years and is now one of the best theatre departments in the United Kingdom.
Bradby began his studies at Oxford where his interest in theatre was awoken. He tended towards French theatre and eventually wrote his PhD on the French works of Arthur Adamov at Glasgow University. He went on to co-found the Drama Department at Kent University and work as head of Drama at the University of Caen before settling here with us. He dedicated years of his career to improve our Drama and Theatre Department and this is why, in the summer, the department will host an event in his honour. Dr Gilli Bush-Bailey, current head of the department, explained that ‘David had been ill for some time but his death has come as a shock to us all and that sense of shock and extreme loss is being expressed throughout the field of Drama and Theatre’.
Colleague and friend Dan Rebellato considered Bradby a great influence and ‘huge presence’ in his life. Rebellato wrote ‘he has encouraged me and others to think that an academic stance of almost geekish enthusiasm for the obscurest corners of a theatre culture is no bad thing’. Rebellato admired his enthusiastic teaching methods and was always eager for his reading recommendations.
David Bradby wrote several works on theatre, including ‘Modern French Theatre 1940-1990’ and ‘Director’s Theatre’, in which he compared the director’s work on the stage to the writer’s work on the script. He also co-edited the Contemporary Theatre Review, a journal on modern theatre that is published four times a year. It is clear that he will be missed, remembered and read by many.