Professor (Emeritus) Anthony David Hozier 1944 – 2017

It is with great sadness to have to announce the death of Professor (Emeritus) Anthony Hozier who died on the 31st August 2017 after a short illness. Graduates, teaching staff, theatre practitioners, and academics will remember Anthony as the embodiment of a significant and most valuable strand of their learning, teaching, and theatre practice.

Anthony’s career in theatre and higher education spanned over fifty years. His understanding of theatre, both theoretically and practically, were immense. As a practicing professional he experienced all the many facets of the theatre industry, working as a stage manager, designer, actor and director.

As artistic director at the Queens Theatre, Hornchurch, Anthony was responsible for over forty productions. During this period of his career he brought to the Queens a range of theatre, which provided an enduring foundation on which to build its reputation as a leading regional producing theatre.

Anthony joined Rose Bruford College in 1976 as Head of Theatre Studies and worked with the then Principal, Professor Jean Benedetti, to develop and implement a BA Honours Degree in Acting. At the time this was a unique proposal and one, which eventually would fundamentally change the training and education of actors in the UK. Despite the fact that actors and writers had been making theatre before Thespis was born, convincing the then National Council for Academic Awards that acting was a subject that could be taught at degree level was an immense challenge. Proving academic rigour and distinct teaching methodologies to the National Council was something that Anthony relished. In those early years during the development of the acting degree he outstandingly argued and debated the reasons for a degree whose study was based in its practice. He wrote, “Without the study of the practice there can be no basis for the development of a responsible and responsive relationship between the actor and their audience.”

Anthony’s outstanding contribution in the development of the acting programme finally led to its validation as a BA Honours Degree, thus setting a bench mark standard by which all other drama schools wishing to offer an acting degree would eventually be judged. Anthony was passionate that graduates must have an understanding of the arts and the demands of financial and public accountability, forward planning, and the continuous struggle for established and emerging theatre companies to gain and maintain a place within the industry. The establishment of the acting degree provided a template on which to develop further honours degree courses in technical theatre and stage design which embodied the basic principles and methodologies of practice and study.

In 1985, in collaboration with Goldsmiths College, Anthony introduced the work and teaching of Augusto Boal to the UK, organising a range of workshops for students, academics, and practitioners. Boal's theories, interpreted by Anthony, have been important in the pioneering field of drama therapy and have been applied by many practitioners of drama. The work continued with publications in the magazine ‘Red Letters’, on the Theatre of the Oppressed by Boal. From this research and the techniques derived from the work of Boal they have been consolidated into a range of teaching materials, which have been incorporated into many performance courses.

Anthony continuously championed the cause of higher education in the performing arts; he oversaw the establishment of unique degrees in arts management ‘Organising Live Arts’, and in digital technologies for live performance. In 1995 as Head of the School for Distance Learning he began the painstaking task of developing and writing two unique and innovative courses entitled Theatre Studies and Opera Studies. For good measure Anthony quickly followed this up with an MA in Theatre and Performance. In three years Anthony prepared and edited over 30 modules providing distance-learning students with outstanding study materials. Distance learning and full time students now use these works alike. The programmes of study under Anthony’s leadership quickly gained a global reputation and placed Rose Bruford College firmly on the international higher education stage.

In 1998 Anthony became Dean of the newly created Faculty of Opera and Theatre Studies. The formulation of this faculty was in part due to the increase in student numbers from both the home and overseas markets. The connections made by the faculty through the distance learning programmes and with partner institutions in the USA led to the development of taught undergraduate degrees in European Theatre Arts and later in American Theatre Arts. As with all the courses and programmes Anthony had overseen, every student is required to continually question and reflect on his or her practice.

Anthony’s keen interest and research into the work of the writer and director Bertolt Brecht enabled him to develop a distinctive teaching methodology and training that empowers the practitioner with ways in which to analyse text and inhabit the world of a character. Writing in the magazine ‘Red Letters’ in 1982 Anthony reflects on Brecht’s theatre and the stark realities and conflicts for actors working in either the commercial or subsidised theatre. These stark realities are reminders of the need for actors and directors to be independent thinkers and to question the motives of their sponsors and benefactors. Anthony’s life long study and research into the work of European Artists has led to the introduction of revered directors and performers, in particular Manfred Wekwerth, Eugenio Barba, and the late Clive Barker, to Rose Bruford College.

Through his love of the epic story and of Balinese and South Indian Theatre, Anthony was an expert on Kathalaki, the Classical Dance-Drama of Kerala. Working with David Bolland who lived and worked in Kerala for twenty-five years, Rose Bruford College is now the custodian of original and rare film footage of the ancient method and traditions of Kathakali. In the ‘80’s when, through government cut backs in higher education, the College was under serious threat of closure, Anthony was instrumental in consolidating academic and administrative staff to defend the College. Campaigns involving the obligatory marching, lobbying of MP’s and the offices of the Funding Council took place. In very Brechtian style the campaigns often involved a lot of props, theatrical props, stocks and manacles – some of the key symbols of Rose Bruford Colleges’ plight. The finale to this was Professor Hozier, together with colleagues, carrying a full sized coffin through the streets of London and placing it in the entrance to the Offices of the Funding Council. The coffin must have had the desired effect – closure was averted and since that very dark period in the College’s history it has gone from strength to strength. In 2001 Anthony was awarded the title of Professor of Rose Bruford College.

In 2003 Anthony became Vice Principal and gained a reputation for thoroughness, tenacity, firmness of judgement, and for never losing sight of the fundamental role of Rose Bruford College as a Performing Arts Institution. Anthony retired from Rose Bruford College in 2007 and in 2008 was made an Honorary Fellow. His academic work continued, working with his friend and colleague, Manfred Wekwerth, as editor, to produce the English version of ‘Daring to Speak ‘ about the work of Brecht and the Berliner Ensemble Company.

In 2010 Anthony became Professor Emeritus of Rose Bruford College and Treasurer and Secretary of the Edith Rudinger Gray Trust for Opera Studies. Anthony’s support for the College continued, working with ex-principal of Rose Bruford College, Phil Robins, to enhance graduate awareness of the College. This work has enabled graduates, covering many decades, to unite into very strong alumni, who are outwardly supportive and proud of their College. This would never have happened without Anthony’s work and support.

Professor ​Emeritus Philip Wigley