Professor Millie Taylor has been appointed professor by special appointment of the Musical at the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), effective 1 November 2020. The chair was established on behalf of the VandenEnde Foundation, with the support of the Amsterdam University Fund. Taylor will be the first professor in the Netherlands in this field of study.
The establishment of the Joop van den Ende Special Chair in the Musical and the appointment of Millie Taylor to the chair will give a powerful boost to interdisciplinary research at the UvA into historical, current and future developments in musicals. The chair is not only a meaningful addition to existing education and research at the UvA's Department of Arts and Culture, but will also play a key role in bringing the study of Musicals to the attention of the Dutch arts and culture sector, which has hitherto devoted little research to the subject in spite of its undisputed cultural significance.
‘I am proud that Professor Millie Taylor has been named professor by special appointment of the Musical. With her broad, international background, she knows both the theory and the practice of the world of the musicals very well, a perfect combination for this position. We hope that she can contribute to the enthusiasm of a new generation of students for the musical profession, and help broaden the current offering with new stories and forms’, says Joop van den Ende, chairman of the VandenEnde Foundation.
Millie Taylor began her career as a freelance musical director and for almost twenty years toured Britain and Europe with a variety of musicals including West Side Story, Rocky Horror Show, Little Shop of Horrors and Sweeney Todd. Following her transfer to academia, she became the UK’s first professor of Musical Theatre. Her main research interests are in the interactions between music, sound and drama in theatre with a particular focus on musical theatre dramaturgies and the development of new writing. ‘I’m looking forward to promoting research into the musical in the Netherlands, into its history, its practices and its unique dramaturgies. I hope we can act as a catalyst, inspiring new writers, researchers and performers, and seeing them develop the musical in the Netherlands, both today and in the future’, says Taylor.
As a UvA professor, Taylor will carry out research into the social and historical context of musicals, composition, lyrics, the materiality of performance practices and their institutional and cultural conditions, with a focus primarily on the Netherlands in an international context. She will also contribute to study programmes in the field of musical theatre in the form of BA and MA modules, and supervise students working on their MA and PhD theses.
Taylor obtained her PhD in Drama and Music from Exeter University in 2001, following which she was, consecutively, a senior lecturer in Performing Arts, a reader in Performing Arts, and a professor of Musical Theatre, all at the University of Winchester.
She is the author, co-author or editor of seven books – including Theatre Music and Sound at the RSC: Macbeth to Matilda and Musical Theatre, Realism and Entertainment – and two edited collections, as well as numerous article, chapters and reviews. She serves on editorial boards for three academic journals and is a regular reviewer on the BBC Radio 4 arts programme Front Row. She is also the founder and current chairperson of the British Musical Theatre Research Institute (BMTRI).
Because of its focus on musicals, the Special Chair bears the name of Joop van den Ende, who has done so much to develop and promote musicals in the Netherlands in his role as a cultural entrepreneur. Founded in 2001, the VandenEnde Foundation is a family foundation that aims to contribute to the improvement and preservation of a diverse and high-quality cultural climate in the Netherlands. In addition, the Foundation aims to help younger generations grow up in an environment that is sensitive to and respectful of the arts and culture in their broadest sense.
The foundation Amsterdam University Fund aims at stimulating engaging minds to pursue projects and research at the University of Amsterdam. Financial support from the Amsterdam University Fund makes it possible for students and scientist to realize their academic dreams in the field of education, research and cultural heritage.
The Joop van den Ende Special Chair in the Musical will form part of the UvA’s Department of Arts andCulture. It will fall under the auspices of the Theatre Studies capacity group, in close collaboration with the Musicology capacity group.