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A Tribute: Mike Sadler and Keith Reader

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2022 saw the loss of two outstanding figures who contributed over many years to giving the Institute its particular blend of teaching and research. Both were life-long aficionados of Paris and its small cinemas, its avant-garde theatres, its cafés, and its bookshops. Both imparted these joys and their insights to generations of students and left works that will continue to inspire more. 

The Institute has long offered students from around the world, and particularly from the British Isles, the chance to broaden and deepen their lives into bilingual, bicultural ways of being. And perhaps no two more than Mike Sadler (1943-2022) and Keith Reader (1945-2022) have left us with an abiding sense of how to achieve this with flair, curiosity, care and perhaps above all ‘panache.’

Mike made all of his career in France, moving to work at the Institute in the heady days of ’68 rebelliousness and was soon heralded as the most English of Parisians, a well-known figure on French radio and television, translator extraordinaire of twentieth-century theatre, often with his partner Lulu Sadler, a much-cherished teacher, and above all perhaps a writer as funny and at ease in both English and French. Keith’s Franco-Britishness was more itinerant, and his teaching at the University of London Institute in Paris was more infrequent but equally memorable.

Both were unflagging advocates of flânerie, of taking the city in and seeing what it had to offer, whether in one of the many small art house cinemas or in theatres in and around Paris. Both opened the way for so many discoveries and the confidence to go beyond the well-worn paths of French culture and its capital, and nothing is more important than extending the range of experience and the possibilities for contact and connection.

Both are sorely missed, but their legacy lives on in the resources and desires that they helped foster, in the film and theatre collections at the Institute library, in the insights and inventiveness they shared with generations of students, in the friendship they extended to many of us at the Institute.