In March 2017 we lost one of the founding members of the PMF, Ken Bennett-Hunter. Conceived out of the desire to discuss a challenging set, Ken and like-minded PMs would meet in the West End to share their thoughts and ideas. Ken was one of the most experienced and well-respected figures in British theatre over the last half-century. He began his career as a stage manager with the Lyric Players Theatre in Belfast in 1970, before moving onto the Phoenix and Haymarket Theatres, ENO and English Music Theatre at Sadlers Wells. He was production manager for Opera North, Young Vic, and Theatre Royal Stratford East, where he became its administrative director and established its commercial arm, Stratford East Productions as well as helping to develop the software Modelbox.
For more than 30 years he was an articulate advocate and passionate champion in the pages of The Stage, latterly as editor of its Backstage section. He also edited The Stage’s series of career guides, making them an essential tool for technical courses at leading drama schools.A committed supporter of training and education, he helped train stage management students in South Korea’s Seoul Arts Centre and in 1986 became technical director of LAMDA.
As a freelance consultant, Ken oversaw the refurbishment of London’s Cochrane Theatre and worked with a wide range of companies including Temba, Talawa, the Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich, Dublin’s Abbey Theatre, the Battersea Arts Centre and London’s Southbank Centre.
From 1995-1998 he was President of the Theatrical Management Association As a producer, he was involved with the improvised opera ensemble Impropera, Janine Ulfane’s A Million Freds Productions, managed seasons in Stockholm and, from 2003 to 2009, the annual TMA awards.
In 2008, Ken became editor of Sightline, stepping down in 2014 to become associate editor to Paul Connolly, a position he held until his death.
Away from formal responsibilities, he was a valued mentor and unfailingly generous with advice to successive generations of theatre students and established figures alike.