The Oxford School of Drama

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Graham Upton

Trustee - Graham Upton

Graham grew up in Australia and began his working life as a schoolteacher in Sydney but moved to the UK in his mid-20’s where he has had a long and varied career in higher education. As an academic, he carried out research and published on a wide range of topics in the fields of Educational Psychology and Special Educational Needs before moving into university leadership and management. Having spent 10 years as Vice Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University he went on to serve as Interim VC in five other universities and also has extensive experience as a trustee on Boards in the public, private and charitable sectors. As a long-standing local resident, he has been highly engaged in the life of both Oxford and Oxfordshire and has served as High Sheriff and Deputy Lieutenant of the County. 

What motivated you to join the Oxford School of Drama Board of Trustees?

I have always been passionate about the world of theatre and while I have never appeared on stage, I have had some hugely rewarding engagements in theatre management and governance having served as Chair of the Board of Trustees and President of Oxford Playhouse and Chair of the Board of Trustees of Pegasus Theatre in Oxford. In addition, in every university in which I have worked there have been courses in Drama and in Acting which I believe have given me an understanding of the context in which training for work in film, television and the theatre takes place as well as having been a parent who has had the pleasure of watching his daughter do an acting course. Becoming a Trustee of the Oxford School of Drama seemed a wonderful opportunity to build on my previous engagement in theatre and to use my skills and experience to support the ongoing development of the School.

What would you like to contribute or achieve as part of your role?

The School is entering a period of potential change as a result of Government proposals which might impact on our funding, the qualifications we offer and the educational oversight of our programmes. I believe this is an area where my experience in higher education might be particularly helpful.