Stuart Bennett

Stuart Bennett (1937-2015). He was one of the key movers and shakers in the Theatre-in-Education movement, with a career spanning Belgrade TIE, Cockpit TIE and others. He founded the ground-breaking B.A. Community Theatre Arts course at Rose Bruford College, the first to create a training programme oriented towards the needs of the alternative theatre movement. He later became Head of Education at the V&A Theatre Museum and worked to try to save it from closure in 2007.He was also very active in SCYPT (Standing Conference of Young People’s Theatre) and more recently in London Drama and in working to ensure the T.I.E.  and theatre for young people movements were properly archived. In 2006 he published Theatre for Children and Young People: 50 Years of Professional Theatre in the UK with Aurora Metro Books If you worked with Stuart in TIE or studied with him at Rose Bruford or have any other memories of him, please email us: See Rose Bruford College site for more.

Charles Way (Author):
‘I was very saddened to hear of the death of Stuart Bennett who was most influential in putting me on a professional course that has led to me writing over fifty plays
for young people’s theatre companies and community theatre in the eighties and nineties and on. I was training to be an actor at Rose Bruford- and was in my third year 1979 when due to my interest in writing Stuart actually commissioned me to write a play for an all female group called Carpel theatre who had formed from the students on his new community theatre course. Being commissioned made me feel as if I could really belong to this movement and have a life within it-which came to be the case.

Sadly my first play was not such a good one-{terrible}-but anecdotally -I changed my name to Charles Lindsay for it, being scared at the time that local National Front types would hunt me down and nail my knees to the floor (as was their wont) because it was an anti Fascist / all female piece.

My first job was then at Leeds TIE- and without Stuart’s encouragement and help I would not have been prepared for the interview/workshop. I send my condolences to Stuart’s family and will always remember him as a kind thoughtful and inspiring person.’

Gavin Stride:
‘There will be lots of Stuart stories that pay testimony to his generosity and passion. Here is mine. Long after he left RBC and the Theatre Museum I bumped into him late one afternoon on Tottenham Court Road. He immediately insisted we went for tea so he could know every thing in my world. It transpired that he had spent the day in a school, I guess doing some supply. When he arrived early in the morning he noticed a van and group of young people unloading clothes and lights and bits of wood into the main hall. He recognised the event and wandered over to ask what they were doing. One of them explained that they were actors and that they were doing a performance today, here, in the hall! Another joined and continued that what they were doing is called theatre in education. That he might not know about it but, in the actor’s view, some of the most exciting work is happening in schools. The conversation continued for half an hour with Stuart gently probing why they thought it important. He left thanking them for taking the time to explain what they were doing and telling them he thought the world a better place for their efforts. He was some man.’