Kevin Bennett was a member of our Youth Program from 2004-2006 and his time at The Cultch helped build the foundation for his career as a Director. He now works at the Globe Theatre in London, England. Our Youth Program continues to nurture young artistic talent and provide vital opportunities for our youth. Find out more about supporting our Youth Program here.
“I was a member of the Cultch’s Youth Panel for two seasons from 2004-2006 and these were very formative years for me as a teen. I was struggling to find a place of belonging and the Youth Panel was it. I was a passionate theatre kid and had just begun my strong desire to work as a theatre director. I gained many skills and had unforgettable experiences from my time on the Cultch’s Youth Panel. I gained experience in producing an arts festival and was able to understand on a practical level what is required to put on a festival with a variety of events.
I was exposed to artists and people I would not otherwise be exposed to like visual artists, film makers, poets and drag performers because of the varied programming during the week. This helped me grow and learn as a theatre director and as a person. My passion and focus was theatre, so I managed to direct a one-act play in the theatre portion of the festival both years I was involved.
I was mentored by experienced professional directors who gave me insight and advice that I still use today (some of the books recommended to me then are still ones I go back to regularly for ideas and inspiration!). I was able to work with new writers, actors, technicians and designers in an absolutely gorgeous theatre space. It began my love of theatre directing and remains an important stepping stone in my career as a director.
Following the Youth Panel I went on to study at Studio 58 and then began my directing career in Vancouver and abroad. Some highlights of the past decade since I have been working professionally include: directing many self-produced Shakespeare productions in Vancouver including Macbeth, Hamlet, King Lear, and Measure for Measure; hosting community based programming, leading workshops and directing productions with organizations such as the Carnegie Community Centre and Templeton Secondary School; spending two years as an assistant director at Canada’s Stratford Festival; touring the world as the associate director on a production of The Merchant of Venice for Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London UK; directing The Madness of George III and Henry V for the Shaw Festival Theatre; and directing King Charles III at the Stanley Theatre for the Arts Club Theatre Company.
Recently I gained a UK ‘exceptional talent’ residency permit and have been based in London for just over a year. Since my arrival in London I have been working on the education faculty at Shakespeare’s Globe, directing a staged reading of a new musical at the Waterloo East ‘New British Musical’s Festival’, and most recently spent two months in Beijing directing Romeo and Juliet as a co-production between one of London’s top drama schools (The Guildhall School of Music and Drama) and China’s top drama school (The Central Academy of Drama). This was the final production for the inaugural graduating class of a brand new international degree where theatre students have the opportunity to train in both eastern and western theatre techniques. The ambitious aim of this program is to create a new type of actor who has an international sensibility so we can create connection, community and understanding while telling stories all over the world.
Through all these experiences, I look back with immense gratitude for the Cultch’s Youth program all those years ago. Not only was it the beginning of my journey as a director but it opened my eyes to different people, with different experiences and stories and helped me grow into the person I am today.”
The Cultch’s Youth Program provides opportunities for young people in our communitty aged 13-26. Find out more about supporting our youth here.