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Professor David Thomas

Emeritus Professor

Email: d dot b dot thomas at warwick dot ac dot uk


In 1986 Professor David Thomas was appointed Professor and Chairman of Theatre Studies at the University of Warwick. He retired from this post in September 2004, and is now a Professor Emeritus of the University of Warwick. Previously he lectured in Drama at the University of Bristol. He read Modern Languages at Cambridge specialising in French, German, Norwegian and Swedish language and literature. He also studied for his doctorate at Cambridge. His doctoral thesis examined the influence of German dramatists and theatre practitioners on Scandinavian theatre in the 1920s and 1930s. In the 1960s he published a number of articles and essays on drama and power politics in Denmark during the 1930s. In 2003 he wrote a series of contributions on Scandinavian theatre for the Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre and Performance.

Professor Thomas has published a number of papers on Ibsen's work in the journal Scandinavica and in the series published by Oslo University Press entitled, Contemporary Approaches to Ibsen. In 1983 Macmillan published his monograph entitled, Henrik Ibsen. In 2002 Methuen published his edition of Ibsen's Hedda Gabler. In 2006 Methuen also published an edition of Strindberg's Miss Julie which he edited with Jo Taylor, a recent graduate of English and Theatre at Warwick.

During the late 1980s and 1990s he worked extensively on the theatre of Restoration and Georgian England and seventeenth and eighteenth-century France. In 1989 Cambridge University Press published his reference volume on Restoration and Georgian theatre entitled, Theatre in Europe: a documentary history. Restoration and Georgian England 1660-1788. This volume has recently been re-issued in paperback form. In 1992 Macmillan published his monograph on the work of a key Restoration playwright entitled, William Congreve. In 1998 he edited anthologies of seventeenth and eighteenth-century plays for Macmillan entitled, Six Restoration and French Neoclassic Plays and Four Georgian and Pre-Revolutionary Plays. In 1966 the University of Warwick and Films for the Humanities published his video entitled, The Restoration Stage. From Tennis Court to Playhouse. This has recently been re-issued in DVD format by Films for the Humanities and Sciences.

In this video/DVD and in a paper published by Theatre Notebook in 1999, ‘The design of the Théâtre du Marais and Wren's Theatre Royal, Drury Lane’, Professor Thomas used IT models as a research tool to investigate the design of historical theatre spaces. In addition, he has contributed to television programmes on Handel's opera Semele (South Bank Show, 1983) and Wren's Drury Lane playhouse (Lost Buildings of Britain, Channel 4, 2004).

In 2000 he was awarded a grant of £150K by HEFCE to direct a teaching and learning project with Professor Christopher Baugh (University of Kent). This aimed to enhance student learning by giving access to teaching and workshops led by scholars and practitioners of national and international standing from distant locations. The project was entitled ‘Accessing and Networking with National and International Expertise’ (ANNIE).

In 2001, with Dr David Carlton (Politics and International Studies, Warwick), he was awarded a grant of £45K by the Leverhulme foundation to direct a research project investigating theatre censorship legislation in Britain. Dr Anne Etienne was appointed research fellow on the project in 2001. The outcomes of this co-authored research project were published by Oxford University Press in 2007 in a volume entitled, Theatre Censorship: From Walpole to Wilson.

At present Professor Thomas is undertaking further work on an IT-based investigation of Restoration Theatre for Cambridge University Press and is also preparing a chapter on Georgian theatre censorship for Oxford University Press. He makes regular contributions to the public lecture programme of the Dominicans in Nice on religious or philosophical themes in films: Bergman (2007 and 2009), Visconti and Riefenstahl (2011). See: In January 2011 he recorded a programme on the plays of Edward Bond for Radio Vatican entitled, ‘The playwright and the world around us’.

Professor Thomas can be contacted at his Warwick email address: d dot b dot thomas at warwick dot ac dot uk