Glynne Wickham (1922-2004)
Glynne Wickham, Professor Emeritus of drama at the University of Bristol, died aged 81 in February 2004. A blue plaque in the foyer of the Bristol drama department's theatre, renamed the Glynne Wickham Studio Theatre in his honour, offers a tribute to "Glynne Wickham, who inspired the study of drama in British universities".
Glynne Wickham is remembered for having virtually single-handedly created the academic discipline of drama. He was appointed in 1948 to the department of drama at Bristol - the first in the UK - and in 1951 he convened a symposium on "the responsibility of universities to the theatre" to endorse the policy of studying drama in the context of theatre. A 1954 symposium on "the relationship between universities and radio, film, and television" looked ahead to developments in media studies. He laid the foundations for the university's theatre collection in 1951 (now holding museum status and an internationally significant archive). In 1955, he was made head of department and in 1960 he became the UK's first chair of drama.
Glynne helped to set up a playwriting fellowship in the drama department at Bristol and John Arden was among the young playwrights attracted to this post. Harold Pinter's first play, The Room, had its world premiere in the department's studio in 1957. Glynne was also responsible for the department publishing New Theatre Magazine (1959-73) and served as president of the 'Society for Theatre Research' from 1976 to 1999. In 1970, Sam Wanamaker sought his advice on the setting up of a Globe theatre in London.
Glynne published extensively: Shakespeare's Dramatic Heritage (1969), The Medieval Theatre (1974), English Moral Interludes (1975), A History of the Theatre (1985), and, most recently, English Professional Theatre, 1530-1660 (2001), a documentary history (of which he was editor and co-author)
As part of its 30th anniversary celebrations, SCUDD established its postgraduate scholarship. In tribute to the legacy and achievement of Glynne Wickham, this has been named the Glynne Wickham Scholarship. It is wholely appropriate that Glynne's name continues in this way to promote research within the discipline.