David Roberts

Professor of English, National Teaching Fellow and University Orator

School of English

I qualified BA from the University of Bristol and DPhil from Oxford, where I was supervised by the great Shakespeare scholar, Emrys Jones. After teaching at both Bristol and Oxford, I moved to Japan, where I taught at the Universities of Kyoto and Osaka, as well as for the British Council.

I was Head of English at BCU for nearly ten years, combining the role with various Associate Dean responsibilities. During a five-and-a-half year stint as Faculty Dean and Pro-Vice-Chancellor I oversaw numerous projects including the new Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, the expansion of the multi-award winning School of Jewellery, and the strategy that produced a Faculty average GPA above 3 (internationally excellent) in REF2021. In 2018 I stepped down from management to devote more time to teaching and writing. As University Orator I have written and delivered 130 honorary degree citations.

So far I’ve published seventeen books, including five for Oxford University Press and three for Cambridge University Press. The latest is a new edition of Colley Cibber’s Apology for CUP, which one reviewer kindly judged ‘sets a new standard for scholarship in the field’. My work has appeared in leading journals including Shakespeare Quarterly, ELH, New Theatre Quarterly and the Review of English Studies. My essay on Shakespeare, Beethoven and Wagner features in the Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare and Music, and I have essays forthcoming in the Oxford Handbook of Restoration Literature and the Palgrave Handbook of Theatre Censorship. I’ve also published three textbooks and two novels (currently working on a third). Recently I devised a card game, Shakespertise™, for use in schools and colleges.

Beyond academe I’m keen to support the arts. I’ve served two terms as a trustee of the Birmingham Rep (including a period as interim chair) and sit on the board of Mid Wales Opera. For six years I was a trustee of the Birmingham Hippodrome, for whom I wrote an anniversary book, Hippodrome 120. 

Current Activity
Areas of Expertise
Postgraduate Supervision
Media Work