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Dr Barbara Day MBE

Founder Governor

Barbara came to Prague to study Czech theatre in the mid-1960s, after graduating in Drama from Manchester University. She then worked in theatres in London, Bromley, Stoke on Trent and Bristol, and in drama in education, before registering at Bristol University to write her PhD dissertation on the Czech theatre of the 1960s. While there, she organised the Bristol Czechfest (1985), with the aim of presenting to the British public such independent elements of the Czech arts as the Theatre on a String, Chorea Bohemica, Magdalena Jetelová and Jiří Stivín. Through this she became involved in the world of the unofficial culture, and from 1985 worked for the Jan Hus Educational Foundation, involved in providing lecturers, books and other materials for the underground seminars in Prague, Brno and Bratislava, and for the samizdat associated with them. (In 1988 the JHEF was described by the secret police as “one of the most dangerous organisations of an ideologically subversive nature operating from the territory of Great Britain against the CSSR”.) After 1989 Barbara moved to the Czech Republic to help establish the NGO sector, and since then has been teaching at SIT, CERGE-UPCES and DAMU, translating for Prague Castle, Charles University, Czech Academy of Sciences, National Gallery, Museum of Czech Literature, and writing – alongside academic papers and articles her published work includes Czech Plays (1992), The Velvet Philosophers (1999) and Trial by Theatre: Reports on Czech Drama. She was awarded the MBE in 2002 and the Commemorative Medal of President Václav Havel in 1998.