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Professor Richard Beacham
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Professor Richard Beacham, a native of Virginia, holds a personal chair in the School of Theatre Studies. He has also taught as a visiting professor at Yale and the University of Califoria, and worked as a Resident Scholar at the J. Paul Getty Museum in California, where he oversaw professional productions of ancient plays, based upon his research. He is an authority on ancient theatre, and has written two major studies of theatre and spectacles in ancient Rome: The Roman Theatre and Its Audience (Harvard Press), and Spectacle Entertainments of Early Imperial Rome (Yale Press). Professor Beacham is currently working with Dr Hugh Denard on the forthcoming publication Performing Culture: Theatre and Theatricality in Roman Pictorial Arts (Yale Press, 2003).

Professor Beacham in also the English language authority on the work of the early twentieth century theatre designer and visionary theoretician, Adolphe Appia, on whom he has published four books, and numerous articles, including Adolphe Appia, Theatre Artist (Cambridge Press), Adolphe Appia: Texts on Theatre, Adolphe Appia, Artist and Visionary (Gordon and Breach).  
Scene from the 1994 production of
Casina at the Getty Museum

He is currently conducting leading research in the application of advanced information technology, and in particular the use of Virtual Reality, to the research and teaching of historic theatre sites and stage setting. This work has been supported by the Heritage Division of the Council of Europe, and in addition, Prof. Beacham secured a major conservation grant from the Getty Trust, arising from this work, which has also received support from a wide variety of international funding bodies.

< 3D model based on the wall painting of The Room of the Masks, Pompeii

Prof. Beacham headed the EC sponsored THEATRON project (Theatre History in Europe: Architectural and Texual Resources Online), which was a consortium of 8 European academic and commercial partners, who created an advanced multi-media teaching and research module documenting the history of European theatre. This module used a virtual reality interface to access a great many 3D architectural models of major European historic theatres linked to supporting textual and graphic databases

With funding from the AHRB and ther Leverhulme Trust, Professor Beacham is heading the Pompey Project, which is rebuilding the first and greatest of Rome's theatres. Working with an interdisciplinary team of VR modellers, archaelogists, database experts and theatre and art historians, the reconstruction has thus far provided accurate information enabling 'key hole' digs to be made at the site with the minimum of disruption to the remains. The use of VR provides insight and understanding not otherwise possible, from a recreation of the means by which crowd control might have been aplied to an audience of some quarter of a million, to illustrations of how special effects would have been employed on the vast stage.  
3D reconstruction of the theatre of Pompey

Over the last seven years, Professor Beacham's theatre historical research has attracted in excess of one milion pounds of funding. The importance of this work has been recognised not only with the humanities but in the world of IT, with the recent nomination of the Theatron Project as a Computerworld Honours Laureate. Chosen by the CEOs of the world's leading information-technology companies, the Honours program highlights the most significant advances in the application of IT.

Book publications


Email: richard.beacham@kcl.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)1926 885 083 (Leamington office)
Tel: +44 (0)20 7848 2684 (London office)


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