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Theatre historian receives award for outstanding achievement in scholarship

07 Dec 2012

The American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR) has awarded its Distinguished Scholar Award - the most prestigious award granted to a theatre scholar - to Professor David Mayer.

Professor Mayer, who is Emeritus Professor of Drama and Research Professor at the University, joined the Victoria University of Manchester in 1972 and retired in 1996. Since his retirement, he has continued to study and publish on British and American popular entertainment of the 19th and early 20th century.

He has received research fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, Yale and Harvard Universities, the British Academy, the Leverhulme Trust, and the Harry Ransom Research Center.

Professor Mayer’s writings since the early 1980s explore links between the late Victorian stage and early motion pictures. He is co-founder of The University’s The Victorian and Edwardian Stage on Film Project and a contributing member to The [D.W.] Griffith Project developed between Le Giornate del Cinema Muto, Pordenone, Italy, the British Film Institute, the Museum of Modern Art, and the US Library of Congress.

For many years he served as liaison between British universities and the Victoria and Albert Museum as it developed its Theatre Museum and subsequently served as a Trustee of that museum and as a Trustee of the Mander & Mitchenson Theatre Collection.

He co-edited the journal Nineteenth Century Theatre & Film. His dozen books include Harlequin in his Element: English Pantomime, 1806-1836 (1968), Henry Irving and ‘The Bells’ (1984), Playing Out the Empire: Ben-Hur and other Toga-Plays and Films(1994), and Stagestruck Filmmaker: D.W. Griffith and the American Theatre (2009).