The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T +44 (0)1227 764000
Drama and Theatre
Ken Pickering is a founding figure of Performing Arts higher education in the UK, a prolific author and experienced professional director.
Ken Pickering BA (Open), MA (Wales), MPhil (Sussex), PhD (Calif) wrote his first poems at the age of five and appeared in Shakespeare's The Tempest as a schoolboy. He trained as a drama and music teacher at the University of London Goldsmiths' College and went on to become a lecturer in teacher training colleges. He wrote his first stage works with the composer Keith Cole and later wrote many plays and musicals for Channel Theatre, one of the UK's leading touring theatre companies. He has adjudicated the Speech and Drama sections of every leading Festival in the UK. For many years he edited the journal Speech and Drama and was accordingly made an Honorary Fellow of the Society of Teachers of Speech and Drama. He is one of the founders of The Institute for Arts in Therapy and Education in London (IATE). He chaired the team that established the first university validated Performing Arts Degree in the UK at the University of Kent and went on to establish the first BA degree with Classical Ballet at its core at the London College of Dance and Drama. Ken was Professor of Theatre (teaching directing, acting and playwriting) and subsequently Visiting Scholar in Residence in Communication and Leadership at Gonzaga University, Washington, USA.
Ken is a prolific author of books, plays and musicals, and two of his works, Drama in the Cathedral and The Mysteries at Canterbury Cathedral, were the Times Literary Editor's choice of Book of the Week. His Studying Modern Drama and Key Concepts in Drama and Performance and Theatre Studies (Palgrave Macmillan) are both very popular with students. His book The Performer's Anthology was published by Janus and his Choreographing the Stage Musical, written with Margot Sunderland, has just been re-issued by Players Press in the USA. His most recent publications are: Great Neglected Speeches from the Elizabethan Stage, published in the US by Players Press; Theatre: the First Stages (co-authored with Anthea Preston); and Jesus Centre Stage (Highland Press) co-authored with Tony Jasper for whom he has directed several touring productions. Ken is currently working on a book on Naturalism and the Theatre for Palgrave with Kent colleague Jayne Thompson.
Although he is recognised as one of Britain's leading directors of Medieval Drama following his massive productions in Canterbury and Birmingham Cathedrals, Malvern Priory and Tewkesbury Abbey, he has also directed professional opera and many professional tours with Images and Jasperian Theatre Companies.back to top