Philip Taylor died on June 19, 2020, aged 60. Passionate about his work, Philip supported his colleagues just as he had been well nourished by his encouraging teachers.
Philip grew up in Melbourne with supportive parents in an active, sporty family. As a child, he was taken into town to see Mary Poppins which began his lifelong love of the movies (shared with his mother, Betty) and storytelling. He became involved in theatricals at primary school and continued with them at McKinnon High Secondary.
Philip loved playing school as a child and was filled with delight when Father Christmas brought him a chalkboard, leaving no doubt that he would enter the teaching profession. Philip earned a BA at Rusden State College (1980) where he encountered Dorothy Heathcote’s work which framed his pedagogy at Christian Brothers’ College, Salesian College, and Holmesglen TAFE.
Philip relocated to New York (1987) to begin work on his MA in Educational Theatre at NYU, subsequently earning his PhD (1992). While there, he taught at a primary school for the Archdiocese of New York, an experience immortalized in Redcoats and Patriots: Reflective Practice in Drama and Social Studies.
Philip returned to Australia as a lecturer at the University of Melbourne (1992-1994). He served as Senior Lecturer at Griffith University (1994-2001) and then Associate Professor in Educational Theatre at NYU Steinhardt (2001-2019), where he served as Program Director (2003-2012).
Philip’s research interests included applied theatre, process drama, qualitative research, reflective praxis, and educational inquiry. Dr. Taylor established the International Drama in Education Research Institute (IDIERI, 1996), was inaugural director of the Centre for Applied Theatre Research at Griffith University, and was foundation editor of Applied Theatre Researcher and ArtsPraxis.
Philip leaves behind a legacy of scholarship that has transformed research in the field. His book Researching Drama and Arts Education: Paradigms and Possibilities has been a standard text on research design. His other publications include The Drama Classroom: Action, Reflection, Transformation; Applied Theatre: Creating Transformative Encounters in the Community; Assessment in Arts Education; Structure and Spontaneity: The Process Drama of Cecily O’Neill; and Theatre Behind Bars: Can the Arts Rehabilitate? Dr. Taylor’s international editorial board service included Studies in Applied Arts and Health, Research in Drama Education, Drama Research, International Journal of Education and the Arts, and Drama Australia Journal. Directing credits for NYU included Two Weeks with the Queen, The Crucible, Tears of the Mind, Woyzeck, Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, Beautiful Menaced Child, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, the brechtbeckett workshop, and Ah-ssess.
In the last few years, Philip’s attention was largely focused on Creative Codes, a memorabilia company whose mission was to share the magic of theatre and film with a new generation. In 2019, Dr. Taylor received a Lifetime Achievement Award for service to Applied Arts and Health, Education and Community from the Journal of Applied Arts and Health. Philip was a son, a brother, an uncle, a teacher, a researcher, a colleague, and a friend. He will be missed.
Published in New York Times from Jun. 27 to Jun. 28, 2020.