Rose Bruford College Appoints its first President

Sir Richard Eyre, the prominent stage, television and film director and former Director of Britain’s Royal National Theatre, was appointed President of Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance at the College’s graduation ceremony on Friday, 24th September. He becomes the College’s first President.  In accepting his role as chief public advocate for the College, before an audience of 206 graduates and 800 staff and onlookers, Sir Richard stressed the importance of an arts-based and drama training education now being threatened by university funding cuts: ‘Let us hope that this government in their zeal for good housekeeping do not forget that it is through education of all sorts, at all levels, that we can begin to improve the economy, begin to change attitudes the arts, to class, to the state, to each other and to ourselves....It’s through education and the arts that the potential of each of us is fulfilled. To work in the arts at any level is to experience a sense of fulfilment, experiencing the common purpose and shared joy that comes from doing something difficult that gives pleasure to others. At the heart of all the arts lies the desire to communicate, to share with other people your skill, your knowledge and your joy.’ 

Michael Earley, Principal and Chief Executive of Rose Bruford College, said ‘The appointment of Sir Richard Eyre brings prominence to Rose Bruford College. He will be a wonderful and articulate advocate for us and for the whole sector of drama training, as we and all Higher Education Institutes face a testing time that starts when the government reveals its spending review.  With Richard Eyre’s help and support we’ll take this College through a difficult passage.’ Mr Rodney Gent, Chair of the College Board of Governors, expressed his gratitude to Sir Richard, on behalf of Governors and staff, for taking on this role. 

In recognition for their outstanding contributions to the arts, theatre and entertainment industry the College also awarded honorary Fellowships to three distinguished recipients: lighting designer Paule Constable, Edinburgh-based arts impresario Richard Demarco and stand-up comic Shazia Mirza, who also attended the College. 

Paule Constable is one of Britain’s leading lighting designers who has won the Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Lighting Design three times, and is a leading figure in the promotion of the lighting design profession particularly on the role of women in the industry. Richard Demarco is an artist, collector, archivist and promoter of the visual and performing arts, and since 1947 has been a major driving force in the development of the Edinburgh Festival, and the promotion of the arts in Scotland.
Shazia Mirza is an award-winning stand-up comedian who has performed all over the world with numerous radio and TV appearances, and writes regularly for The Guardian and The Observer. 

About Graduation: 
Venue:                                Rose Bruford College

Dates:                                   Friday 24th September 

Further Details: 

For further details please contact:

Dominic Bean

Marketing and Communications Manager 

020 8308 2605 


Sir Richard Eyre
Richard Eyre started out as an actor before settling on a career as a theatre director, producer and writer.  He was educated at Sherborne School, Peterhouse (Cambridge) and Lincoln College (Oxford).  He was Associate Director of the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, from 1967 to 1972 and Artistic Director of Nottingham Playhouse from 1973-1978.  He was Director of the National Theatre (which became the Royal National Theatre during his time there) between 1987 and 1997. His many notable productions include the premiere of Trevor Griffiths’ Comedians, the twice revived Guys and Dolls, Hamlet (directed twice, first with Jonathan Pryce in the title role in 1980 and then with Daniel Day-Lewis in 1989 followed by Ian Charleson), Richard III (with Ian McKellen; also producing as a film), King Lear (with Ian Holm; also adapted and directed for film), Ibsen’s John Gabriel Borkman (with Paul Scofield, Vanessa Redgrave and Eileen Aitkins) and Hedda Gabler (with Eve Best), plus innumerable classical productions and new plays by David Hare, Tom Stoppard, Howard Brenton, Alan Bennett, Christopher Hampton and Nicholas Wright.  His most recent stage productions include the musical Mary Poppins (West End and Broadway), The Reporter by Nicholas Wright (National Theatre), The Observer by Matt Charman (National Theatre), Noël Coward’s Private Lives (West End with Kim Cattrall and Matthew Macfadyen), Welcome to Thebes by Moira Buffini (National Theatre) and, upcoming, A Flea in Her Ear (Old Vic Theatre).

Richard Eyre’s film career started with The Ploughman’s Lunch (written by Ian McEwan) in 1982, which won the Evening Standard Award for Best Film; Iris (2001), a biopic of writer and philosopher Iris Murdoch (starring Judi Dench, Kate Winslet and Jim Broadbent) and Stage Beauty (2004), set in the Restoration and about the first female actress on the British stage.  Most recently he directed Notes on a Scandal (2006), the film adaptation by Patrick Marber of the Booker Prize-nominated novel by Zoe Heller that starred Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett, and The Other Man (2008), his own screen adaptation with Charles Wood of a short story by Bernhard Schlink, starring Liam Neeson, Antonio Banderas and Laura Linney. He was Executive Producer of Atonement (2007), based on Ian McEwan’s novel.

Eyre worked as both a television director and one of the producers of BBC’s Plays for Today between 1978 and 1980. He directed Tony Harrison’s V for Channel 4 Films in 1987. He returned to the BBC in 1988 to direct the Falklands War story Tumbledown (starring Colin Firth), which won him the BAFTA Award for Best Director. Eyre served on the board of Governors of the BBC between 1995 and 2003.

Richard Eyre directed Verdi’s La Traviata, his first opera production, with Sir Georg Solti conducting, in 1994 with Angela Gheorghiu for London’s Royal Opera House (since revived), Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro at Aix-en-Province (2001) and most recently Bizet’s Carmen (2010) for the Metropolitan Opera in New York with Elina Garanca.

Eyre’s writing career has resulted in the memoir Utopia and Other Places, first published by Bloomsbury in 1993.  Changing Stages, the acclaimed guide to twentieth-century British theatre (co-written with Nicholas Wright), appeared in 2000 to accompany a multi-part television series that he hosted.  Published by Bloomsbury in October 2003, National Service is the diary, which he kept when he was Director of the Royal National Theatre from 1987 to 1997.  It was awarded the 2003 Theatre Book Prize.  Eyre has written adaptations of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler and of Jean-Paul Sartre’s Les Mains Sales as The Novice, both for the Almeida Theatre. His most recent book is Talking Theatre: Interviews with Theatre People (Nick Hern Books, 2009), a series of interviews with artists who had played a significant part in making and influencing the theatre of the second half of the twentieth century.

Sir Richard Eyre has been the recipient of numerous honours and directing awards, including five Olivier Awards. In 1982 he won the Evening Standard Award for Best Director for Guys and Dolls, and in 1997 for King Lear and Tom Stoppard's Invention of Love. In 1997 he won an Olivier Lifetime Achievement Award and awards from The Directors' Guild of Great Britain, The South Bank Show, The Evening Standard and The Critics' Circle. He was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1992 New Year Honours and knighted in the 1997 New Year Honours, receiving the honour on 4 March 1997.  He was Cameron Mackintosh Professor of Contemporary Theatre at St Catherine’s College, Oxford, during 1997. He became a Patron of the Alzheimer's Research Trust in 2001. He was made an Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1998, and he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Letters (honoris causa) by the University of Liverpool in 2003 and the University of Nottingham in 2008. 

Paule Constable:
Paule Constable is one of Britain’s leading lighting designers who has won Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Lighting Design three times, most recently in 2009 for her work on The Chalk Garden at London’s Donmar Warehouse.  After completing an English and Drama degree at Goldsmiths' College, University of London, Paule Constable trained in lighting design while working in the music business. 

She has created many productions at the National Theatre, including the current production of Danton’s Death. Her lighting designs are regularly seen at the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Donmar, the Royal Court and for Complicite. In the West End she lit Evita, Don Carlos, The Weir and Amadeus. She has also undertaken many designs for the Royal Opera, English National Opera, Glyndebourne, Opera North, Scottish Opera and Welsh National Opera. Paule Constable has worked extensively abroad in Paris, Salzburg, Strasbourg, Berlin, Brussels, New Zealand, Dallas and Houston. Her dance credits include work with Adam Cooper Productions, the Royal Ballet, Ballet Boyz and Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures. She is a Technical Associate of the Royal National Theatre. 

Paule Constable has had a long association with Rose Bruford College: Teaching Lighting Design, providing placements for students and contributing to the annual symposium. She also chairs a national conference on the role of women in lighting in the theatre. 

Richard Demarco:
Richard Demarco, CBE, is an artist, collector, archivist and promoter of the visual and performing arts. Since its start in 1947, he has attended, or been extensively involved with, each Edinburgh International Festival, the largest arts festival in the world. He has been one of Scotland’s most influential advocates for contemporary art, especially art that crosses borders, through his work at the Richard Demarco Gallery and the Demarco European Art Foundation. Through his work helping to found Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre in 1963, he was instrumental in fostering what has become the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. 

On many occasions, Richard Demarco’s contributions to contemporary art and art education have been recognised internationally. He has been awarded honorary doctorates by universities in Europe and North America and, from 1993 to 2000, he was Professor of European Culture at the University of Kingston.He has received the Polish Gold Order of Merit, the Cavaliere della Republica d’Italia, the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres de France and the Order of the British Empire. Three years later he and other organisers of the gallery space left the Traverse to establish what became the Richard Demarco Gallery. For many years, the Gallery promoted cross-cultural links, establishing outgoing connections for Scottish artists across Europe and bringing significant European artists, like Joseph Beuys and Tadeusz Kantor, to Scotland and the UK. Since the early 1990s, Richard Demarco's activity has been undertaken through the Demarco European Art Foundation, whose archive and collection (now partially digitalised by the University of Dundee) is currently housed at Craigcrook Castle in Edinburgh as an international study and research centre for visiting scholars and students.

Shazia Mirza:
Shazia Mirza is an award-winning British Asian stand-up comedian from Birmingham, who started her work in theatre as a part-time student at Rose Bruford College. She began to perform stand-up comedy in September 2000. Subsequently, Shazia Mirza has performed all over the world and regularly tours her work. She has appeared on American network television, on CBS’s 60 minutes and NBC’s Last Comic Standing. She has also appeared on the BBC’s satirical panel show, Have I Got News for You? Shazia Mirza’s Diary of a Disappointing Daughter column appears regularly in The Guardian. She received a Periodical Publishers’ Association Award in 2008 for her New Statesman column. She can regularly be heard on Radio 4. In April 2010 Shazia Mirza was named as one of the top ten female comedians in Britain by The Observer. Her most recent show at this August’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival included stories of her encounter with Queen over tea at Buckingham Palace. 
About Rose Bruford College: 
Rose Bruford College is a specialist HEI drama school in Sidcup, south east London. It’s 1000 students and a faculty of 200 academics are organised into two schools (The School of Performance, and The School of Design Management and Technical Arts), offering a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. With a long tradition of innovative work, the College specialises in looking at theatre and performance from a range of cultural and artistic perspectives, and in preparing students from a wide range of backgrounds for work in the professional theatre and related creative industries. The work is supported by extensive research, including the Stanislavski and Clive Barker Centres; and extensive overseas links, primarily in Europe and the US. It has two licensed theatres: The 320-seat Rose and the 100-seat Barn Theatre; and a series of specialist studio spaces.