Sir Michael Boyd has been named as the next Cameron Mackintosh Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre based at St Catherine’s College, at the University of Oxford. He will succeed the actress and playwright Meera Syal in January 2013.
Boyd was born in Belfast, and studied at the University of Edinburgh where he gained an MA in English Literature. Following his training as a director at the Malaya Bronnaya Theatre in Moscow, he returned to the UK to work at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry and the Crucible in Sheffield. He was the founding Artistic Director of the Tron Theatre in Glasgow for eleven years.
He joined the RSC in 1996 as an Associate Director and took over from Adrian Noble as Artistic Director in 2002. He oversaw the hugely successful redevelopment of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and transformed the Company’s fortunes. He directed the RSC’s eight play History Cycle as the centrepiece of a year-long Complete Works of Shakespeare Festival (begun in April 2006 and involving 30 companies, 19 of which were international).
Sir Michael presented annual London seasons in partnership with Delfont Mackintosh and The Roundhouse, as well as developing the RSC’s record breaking Matilda The Musical for Stratford, London and New York. He was knighted in the 2012 Birthday Honours for services to drama, and stepped down from his position as Artistic Director in September.
Sir Michael said: 'I have always enjoyed the company and inspiration of scholars and look forward to working with both dons and students at Oxford.'
The Chair of Contemporary Theatre, founded through a grant from the Mackintosh Foundation at St Catherine's College, aims to promote interest in, and the study and practice of, contemporary theatre. The Visiting Professorship has previously been held by actors, writers, directors, and producers including Stephen Sondheim, Arthur Miller, Alan Ayckbourn, Richard Eyre, Phyllida Lloyd and Patrick Stewart.
Professor Roger Ainsworth, Master of St Catherine's College, said: 'We are very excited at the prospect of Sir Michael’s year with us. His wealth of directing experience, coupled with his time at Stratford, will bring a leading practitioner’s art into close contact with students and academics alike keen to interact with him.'
His inaugural lecture will take place at St Catherine's College on Monday 28 January 2013.