Professor Martin Banham

Having taught at the then University College, Ibadan, Nigeria from 1956 (where I was involved in creating the School of Drama), and with an intervening year on exchange in the United States, I was appointed Fellow in Drama at Leeds in 1966. Together with my colleague and technical Director Trevor Faulkner, I established The Workshop Theatre as a laboratory for teaching and research in theatre. In 1967 we established the first MA in Drama and Theatre Arts (later Drama and Theatre Studies) in the UK. After some years the Workshop Theatre became an integral part of the School of English, allowing the establishment of the Single Honours degree in English and Theatre Studies. Although I have researched and published on various aspects of drama (contemporary British theatre, the C19th. Stage, Shakespeare) my passion has been for the theatre and performance culture of Africa, and non-European theatre. In my early days at Leeds I enjoyed a parallel freelance career in television, presenting ITV’s children’s programme ‘My World’!

My publications include Osborne (Edinburgh, 1969); ed., with John Hodgson, Drama in Education: The Annual Survey(London, 1972, 1973, 1975); African Theatre Today ( London, 1976); ed. Plays By Tom Taylor (Cambridge, 1985, one of 17 volumes in the series British and American Playwrights 1750-1920 of which I was general editor together with Peter Thomson); ed. The Cambridge Guide to World Theatre (Cambridge, 1988, 1990, awarded the Barnard Hewitt Award of the American Society for Theatre Research, later reissued as The Cambridge Guide to Theatre, 1992, 1995, 2000); ed. with Errol Hill and George Woodyard, The Cambridge Guide to African and Caribbean Theatre (Cambridge 1994, 2004); ed. with Jane Milling, Extraordinary Actors: Studies in Honour of Peter Thomson (Exeter 2004); ed. A History of Theatre in Africa (Cambridge, 2005). I am also editor, with James Gibbs and Femi Osofisan, of the annual book/journal African Theatre (James Currey, Oxford, annually since 1999).

I have taught, lectured, conducted workshops and directed extensively abroad, in the US, Brazil, Japan, China, India, Ireland, Spain, Denmark, France, Italy, Greece, Germany, the former Yugoslavia, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Malawi, and Tanzania.