Performing Arts

Kenneth Robertson

Senior Lecturer – Acting

MA Theatre (Performance) Cert. Ed. Art and Drama. FHEA

Biography

While at school my drama teacher, who had trained at Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama, arranged for me to go on a weeks course at the Royal Court Theatre. This involved working with theatre practitioners in classes during the day, taken by George Devine, Bill Gaskill and Keith Johnstone and visiting different theatre shows in the evening. It was during this week I attended the first night of Joan Littlewood’s production of Oh! What A Lovely War and the first ever production in this country of Spring Awakening.. After two years professional acting work I studied Art and Drama, for three years and qualified as a teacher in both subjects. I continued as an actor and have worked in many different styles of acting and forms of theatre, film and television. This included Children’s Theatre, Young Peoples Theatre, Community Theatre, Touring Theatre, Physical Theatre, Repertory Theatre, Japanese Theatre. In 1973 I saw a production of the award-winning Japanese theatre company: Red Buhdda Theatre, at The Roundhouse in London, which was directed by the famous composer Stomu Yamashta. I auditioned for their company and was one of two (out of 400 auditionees) who were invited to join the company as actors.  After touring with this company for two productions in Europe and at The Roundhouse, I became part of the acting ensemble at The Young Vic. under the leadership of Frank Dunlop (for three years) . a play, based on the life and work of Charlie Chaplin, was written for me. It toured and was later performed at Joan Littlewood’s Theatre in 1977. The cast also included Alfred Molina (Indian Jones and Chocolat), with whom I formed an actors agency and we also chose to represent Bredan Coyle (Downton Abbey) and Dougray Scott (Inigma, Mission Impossible). In 1981 I was cast in the leading role of Giovanni in Tis’ Pity she’s a Whore which was the launch production of the award winning company Cheek By Jowl. I was seen in this production by The Royal Shakespeare Company and invited to join them for an initial two year contract which was extended to four years. I worked with numerous directors there including Trevor Nunn, John Caird, Terry Hands, Clifford Williams and Bill Alexander. I have also appeared in films and television plays and series.  Impressed watching Trevor Nunn’s direction, I became more interested in this role.  After gaining a Masters Degree from Goldsmiths, (London University) I taught and directed  at Rose Bruford, The Academy of Live and Recorded Arts and at East 15 Acting School, where I taught and directed for 6 years.. I also directed plays at Hampstead’s New End Theatre and for Find The Light Theatre Company in Birmingham.

Professional practice

  A Senior Lecturer in Acting at Arts University Bournemouth since 2006 where my main area of expertise has been in the teaching of  Stanislavski’s  ‘system’ ( Psychological Realism) and Shakespeare. I have directed Level 6 final productions. In 2014 the centennial year of both the First World War and Joan Littlewood’s birth I will be directing’ Oh! What a Lovely War’ at The Lighthouse Theatre in Poole. More recently I directed the American play ‘Once in a Lifetime’ at The Lighthouse  and ‘‘Blue Stockings’ at Pavilion Dance in Bournemouth. My main areas of teaching are the units on Realism in acting and the practice of text analysis of the Stanislavski system. I also specialise in the teaching of Shakespeare, having worked with The Royal Shakespeare Company, the Young Vic. and Cheek by Jowl, in Shakespearian and Jacobean productions. I also teach acting for camera., Having been a professional actor for over 25 years, working in various styles of theatre, television and films. Another subject I teach is, Professional Preparation as I also ran a theatrical agency, promoting actors. For a number of years, from 1980 to 1993, between acting work, I was a guest director/lecturer at Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama, before becoming a full-time Senior Lecturer there. I also  taught at East 15 Acting School for six years, at the Academy for Live and Recorded Arts and also Guildford School of Acting.. I have completed a three year engagement with a college in Leeds, as an External Examiner and am now External Examiner for the FdA Acting for Theatre and Media at Weymouth College. I have recently been helping with a research project, using our actors, with the Psychology dept. at Bournemouth University. More recent productions I have directed are Julius Caesar, another production of ‘Oh What a Lovely War’ and I adapted a script for the stage of Thomas Hardy’s novel ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’, which I directed for The Lighthouse Theatre in Poole.

Professional memberships

  • Institute of Theatrical Reasearch. (2013–2015)
  • British Actors Equity (1968–1998)
  • The Shakespeare Association (2015)

Grants

  • Equity Educational grant £3000 (1993–1994)
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