Professor Michael Earley, who has served as Principal and Chief Executive Officer of Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance for the past eight-and-a-half years, retired on 15 September 2017.
With his retirement Michael Earley said: ’Seeing our many, many students turn into successful graduates has to be the high point of my time as head of the College. All this has been supported by a spectacular staff, alumni, governors, plus contributions from others in the higher education profession, government and performing arts industry. I leave with the feeling that Rose Bruford College has been steadily at the top of its game.’
Under Michael Earley’s leadership Rose Bruford College went through a period of extensive change during a challenging period for UK higher education, withdrawal of government funding and rising tuition fees. Interim Principal Dr Andrew Walker, who has worked with Professor Earley over two decades, has expressed his admiration for Professor Earley’s work. Dr Walker commented: ‘In the past year alone, under Michael’s leadership the College has obtained its own Taught Degree Awarding Powers and a Gold Award in the Teaching Excellence Framework.’
During Professor Earley’s tenure as Principal there were also extensive and positive curriculum and administrative changes, and higher visibility of the College as both a Higher Education institution and as a world-leading drama conservatoire.
The College also extended and promoted its international work under Michael Earley’s guidance, as the College adopted ‘London’s International Drama School’ as part of its identity. The College now has an increased number of partnerships throughout Europe, the United States and parts of Asia and regularly sends its students on exchanges abroad.
Professor Earley also established a working relationship with Summerhall arts centre in Edinburgh, Scotland, where the College is now the only drama school in the world to operate its own venue year-round and during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Nearer to its Sidcup campus, the College has pursued a closer working relationship with the London Borough of Bexley and with schools and FE colleges across South East London. A key focus has been to widen participation and broaden the demographic profile of students that Rose Bruford College attracts along with working with new providers across the UK. Three years ago the College built and opened new student accommodation in Sidcup, becoming one of the only UK drama schools to operate its own halls of residence to support year-round activities, like an expanded summer school.
The College wishes Professor Earley well in his retirement.