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Visionary Shakespeare Director & Producer Richard Kenyon Is Reforming The Industry!




For over 25 years director/producer Richard Kenyon has been creating plays, movies and shows that not only are for entertainment value, but help teach us all various lessons we can take with us in our daily lives.

His award winning short film “Insomniac” and the recent Shakespeare inspired “A Girl’s Guide To Drowning” a selection for The Sunnyside Up Film Festival and other festivals around the world, has painted Richard as one of the go-to people in the industry for Shakespearean work; Richard has produced over 50 productions of Shakespeare including many over the ten years when he ran The Shakespeare Company in Calgary, Canada, a theatre company he founded and for which he was artistic director.

While Shakespeare and those “types” of productions are sometimes difficult for people to understand, Richard has been reforming the industry and this topic to help people get an easier grasp on it all, for a higher understanding.

We spoke to Richard exclusively about his love of entertainment and what changes he would like to keep see happening within his industry.

1. How did you first desire to get into the entertainment business? 

I love telling stories and I had a natural aptitude towards performing as a kid.

2. What was the first project you worked on?

I served my apprenticeship as an actor at The Shaw Festival in Ontario, Canada. There I worked with some of the world’s best actors and directors. Although I played small parts my main responsibility was as an  understudy. At Shaw I learned how to be a professional in all aspects of my work.

3. As a master of Shakespeare’s work and words, which of his plays and/or writings do you love most?

For me if there is perfection in English literature then King Lear comes very close. It is an extraordinary play that deals with family, aging, friendship, parenthood, lying, deception, murder, and eventual understanding. It articulates the human experience in a way that is so clear and yet so painfully true.  It truly is a masterpiece. I just directed a Zoom reading of King Lear during Covid and it was such a joy going back and re-exploring it. A huge thrill.

4. Who were your role models within the industry?

David Fincher is someone I really admire. His body of work is so wonderfully diverse. I am often inspired and thrilled by his work as a director. His precision and attention to detail is very inspiring.  In the theatre world I love Sam Mendes. He has the ability to direct a film and then direct a play. He has his feet in both worlds and he is such an amazing artist.

5. As a director and producer for over 25 years, how have you changed your own style over the years with the ever changing technology?

I think as a director my style of working hasn’t changed that much. I still have a specific way of working that aids the actor and serves the project. I still spend lots of hours in the library doing my homework. Of course the digital world was a huge boost for artists. This gave us the rare opportunity to have access to ancient texts that we otherwise wouldn’t. Where I notice the biggest challenge is always working with a group of people that you don’t know. Each dynamic is different and you have to shift your way of working sometimes. But I don’t ever have a set way of working with actors. Each project has its own challenges and demands. Always good to stay flexible.

6. What changes in the entertainment industry would you like to see happen in the years ahead? 

I’d love to see more women and people of color in all facets of the entertainment industry.

7. What have you personally helped reform since the start of your career?

When I co-founded a Shakespeare theatre company back in 1996 I was determined to give both male and female actors a chance to play the many roles in Shakespeare. In fact we were one of the first theatre companies that did an all-female production of King Lear directed by a woman. Color blind casting has been something I have been very passionate about. That’s the great thing with Shakespeare is there is a universality to his work. It doesn’t matter if King Lear or Shylock in The Merchant of Venice is played by a woman. It is the characters predicament that we as an audience connect to. The gender is almost irrelevant.   There have been so many gender reversal or gender neutral productions of Shakespeare over the years. I’d love to see more!

8. What do you hope your work will be remembered for in years down the road when people look back?

I hope people will see that I am a passionate storyteller with a love for Shakespeare that has a knack for helping people understand it. Shakespeare can be accessible and fun for students of all ages and all you need are four things: a heart, the breath, a mind and a soul.

With a Ph.D. in environmental science, Tracey has intricate knowledge about things that have been going around in this particular domain. While working as a professor, she also contributes highly-informative science and environment news for USA Reformer.

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