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David S K Henson

Actor, director, lecturer and voice coach

Education Profile


Bartley Green School, Birmingham [1969 - 1975]

Head of Music and Drama

Established a new department within the school and enabled many students to enter the world of music, attend university music departments and seek high ranking careers in the world of the arts. Many of the drama students gaining places at RADA, Guildhall and the few university departmenst that offered drama as a degree subject at the time. Whilst at the school served on the board of many consultative panels to establish the acceptance of drama as a curriculum subject and took a leading in role in many conferences to fight for its implementation within the curriculum. This resulted in a lot of work involving assessment and external assessments relating to the subject Drama and finally being accepted and assessed at CSE, GCSE and a few years later at Advanced Level.

St Thomas Aquinas Grammar School, Birmingham [1975-1985]

Director of Music - whilst in this post conducted and performed many works with players from the CBSO, Schools Symphony Orchestra and worked as a concert performer when time allowed. A choral tradition of an exceptional standard was created during this time and many performance were reported in press and journal reviews. Works performed by the school choral society included such choral repertoire as Finzi's In Terra Pax, Bernsteine's Chichester Psalms, Mozart's Requiem, Haydn's Nelson Mass, CPE Bach's Magnifcat, Purcell's Dido and Aeneas and many choral works by a variety of composers but especially featuring the compositions of Benjamin Britten

Chamberlain Sixth Form College, Balsall Heath, Birmingham [1985 - 1994]

Director of Studies in Performance - In addition to being responsible for the running of the large department and teaching Dance, Music, Music Technology and Theatre Studies at Advanced Level plus implementing an Access to Music for the BMus Degree at Conservatoire he was also responsible for writing the new syllabus in Performing Arts at Advanced Level plus holding the post of Chief Examiner. He was then apppointed Chief Examiner for GNVQ Performing Arts at all levels in addition to holding the post of external examiner for the University for Cambridge in UK and Singapore.

Wolverhampton University [1995 - 1998]

  • Lecturing Duties: History of Musical Theatre; Performance Practice; Aesthetics; Theory of Education; Philosophy and Psychology of Music Education; History of Musical Education; Teaching Practice
  • Workshops: Professional practice in the classroom; Composition

Royal Central School of Speech and Drama [1998 - 2005]

  • Position held: Course Leader for Postgraduate Studies in Acting Musical Theatre (Postgraduate qualification – MA)
  • Post Grad. Acting Music Theatre - Lecturing: Acting; Voice – sung / spoken; Performance Practice: Theory of Music; History of Musical Theatre; Directing; Critical Analysis; Scene work; Curriculum development to MA.
  • MA Acting Music Theatre - Lecturing: Acting; Voice – sung spoken; Vocal Pedagogy – analysis of speech qualities; Performance Practice: Theory of Music; History of Musical Theatre; Critical Analysis; Scene work; Directing – Public Showings and Actor’s Showcase; Masters’ level dissertation tutor and First Marker for entire cohort; PhD supervisor; Postgraduate Conference tutor – Collaborative research
  • MA Classical Acting - Lecturing: Verse; Voice pedagogy; Performance practice; Assessor for modules in Acting Voice and Verse
  • BA Acting – Lecturing: Sung & Spoken Voice techniques: Assessments and public performances (3 year)
  • Workshops: Fusion of sung and spoken text; musical theatre master classes; audition practice;
  • Administration: Timetable; Curriculum development; Selection of VLs; Industrial links; Programming of events and performances; audition procedures and admissions; personal academic tutor and mentor to all visiting and permanent staff; Postgraduate Research in all aspects of Musical Theatre programme; First Assessor for all modules within the MA programme


  • Musical Theatre and Acting Degree Course – Principal Lecturer: voice pedagogy; directing; acting – Classical Text and Meisner Acting Technique for musical theatre; verse speaking; directing
  • Current post: Head of study for Performance, Composition and Performing Arts - acting; musical theatre; verse speaking; performance practices; directing; vocal pedagogy – sung and spoken
  • Administration: Timetable; Curriculum development; Selection and appointment of Tutors; Industrial links; collaborative partners; programming of events and performances; audition procedures and admissions; personal academic tutor and mentor to all visiting and permanent staff; Research programme for BA and MA/MMus qualifications


  • Head of Study for Performance, Composition and Performing Arts for Undergraduate and Postgraduate qualifications at London College of Music
  • Course Leader BA [Hons] Musical Theatre and BA Acting for Stage
  • Examiner for LCM Speech and Drama practical examinations

Publications & Published Research:

  • Review: First Edition of ‘Contemporary Theatre Review ‘– Richard Rodgers
  • Contemporary Musical Theatre Texts – study of contemporary composers and their work.
  • Musical Theatre: Exploring the World Through Song published by Lamda Publications in 2008 ISBN 978-0-9557687-0-5 plus a CD to accompany the book where David can be heard playing examples from the musical theatre repertoire.
  • Musical Theatre: A Workbook Book published by Palgrave Macmillan December 20 2013. ISBN 978-1-137-33162-5
  • Proposed 2nd volume of Workbook for Macmillan - December 2014
  • Proposal for the implementation of book: New Writing within Musical Theatre in Higher Education

Conference Presentations

2000 – ELIA Conference – ‘Drama Training in UK’, Barcelona

2002 – International Conference for Voice - Helsinki

2004 - ‘From the Inside Out’ – An investigation into the assessment of the

           performance arts Birmingham (TCL Conference)

2005 - ‘Contemporary Training in Musical Theatre’ - ATFHE San Francisco

2006 - Delivery of Paper and Lecture Demonstration about new musical theatre

          writing at University of Portsmouth - ‘What is Music Theatre and

          Musical Theatre?

2006 - Conference based on the work of Musical Theatre and its transition into

           the 21st Century – London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art

2013 - School of Advanced Studies: Voice Conference in April 2013

2013 - Royal Central School of Speech and Drama: Musical Theatre Symposium –

          Song, Stage and Screen V111 in July 2103.

2014 - HEA Conference, UWL, London February. Songs for a New Curriculum: the significance

          for education and industry of new writing in musical theatre.

Current Research

  • The Music of Shakespeare - ‘Shakespeare in Song’ – analysis of all references to song within the dramatic texts of William Shakespeare
  • Acting through song – method and philosophy
  • What is Music[al] Theatre?
  • Contemporary acting techniques
  • The science of learning and mental processes involved in singing and teaching of singing
  • The work of Richard Rodgers
  • Stephen Sondheim
  • Psychology of performance
  • New work within the Musical Theatre and how it will survive as an ‘art form’
  • Finding a Voice - The investigation of new works and materials as yet unperformed – the globalisation of the musical theatre voice
  • Current and historical thought on pedagogical process within musical theatre
  • New writing within the Musical Theatre curriculum
  • The importance of dramaturgy in musical theatre.
  • Visiting lecturer at Kent University teaching ‘Directing Perspectives’ on the Masters programme
  • Visiting Lecturer at Kent University in ‘Theatre as Music’ – the boundaries between theatre and music in contemporary experimental forms of performance
  • Research, to be completed in further doctoral studies at Oxford, interrogates current 'musical theatre pedagogy' in order to clarify the position and status of this discipline within the general music education practices in Higher Education. The aim is to provide and develop a conceptual framework based on current research articles and pedagogical research relating specifically to the field of musical theatre education in order to justify its status and importance within the Higher Education music curriculum. It is important to note that some institutions within both UK and USA focus mainly on repertoire and teaching, whereas music education discipline tends to focus on learning and pedagogy. It is my intention to establish whether these differences may be limiting the effectiveness of both communication and practice within the pedagogical theories associated with musical theatre.

Professional Development Activities Since 2000

2002 - Director of several new Musical Theatre works for various professional theatres including Greenwich Theatre; Thurrock, Stratford East and Belgrade Coventry

2003 - Birmingham City University - Conference on 'Being an External Examiner'

2004 - UCE - Workshops in current practices associated with the duties of being an External Examiner

2004 - Contributed to the Government Paper on the future of Musical Theatre (Mercury Musical Works)

2005 - The Musical Theatre Barre for technique Development - University of the Arts Philadelphia

2005 - ‘Interrogation of text and emotion within the works of Stephen Sondheim’ - Miami University

2006 - Speaker in teaching of Musical Theatre within Higher Education

2011 - Directing new production of 'Company' by Stephen Sondheim

2012 - Directing new musical theatre 'Tess of the d'Urbevilles' at Union Theatre, London (Mercury Musicals)

2012 - Directing production of 'Into the Woods' by Stephen Sondheim

2013 - Follow on performance project with 'Tess of the d'Urbevilles' at Park Theatre, Islington

2013 - Creative Producer for London College of Music of new musical 'Bel-Ami' by Alex Loveless

2014 - Visiting lecturer in Directing at Kent University

2014 - Directing production of 'Ordinary Days' by Adam Gwon

2014 - Directing production of 'Alfie' by John Cameron and Eden Phillips

2015 - Visiting lecturer in Theatre as Music at Kent University

Membership of:

  • National Association of Teachers
  • Member of Guild of Drama Adjudicators;
  • London College of Music Examining Panel
  • Fellow of Institute of Learning & Teaching
  • Royal Society of Arts (Fellow)
  • Conference leader, Drama Consultant and INSET trainer in the field of performing arts
  • Member of review Board for Trinity College & Guildhall Examinations
  • Member of the National Association of Singing Teachers (NATS) USA

External Academic Duties:

  • External Examiner UCE MA in Drama and Education
  • External Examiner for BA Acting and postgraduate qualifications at Birmingham Theatre School
  • Lecturer to additional MA programmes at Royal Central School of Speech & Drama
  • MA supervision Tutor for Royal Central School of Speech & Drama
  • Ph.D supervision tutor in Education in Drama
  • Director and Education Consultant to the performance company ‘Impetuous Kinship’
  • Consultant to the Music Industry on use of voice within the ‘pop’ industry – Sony Music Industries
  • Artistic Director for Film Company ‘Shoes for Orphans’ – recent work includes ‘The Hidden Lay Dead’ for Collide Festival, Birmingham
  • External Examiner BA Acting and MAActing for Film and Media at East 15 Acting School
  • External Examiner BACreative Industries Newcastle College (Teesside University)
  • External Advisor BA Acting at Bath University
  • External Examiner BA Dance at London Studio Centre (Middlesex University)


INNOVATIONS AND ENTERPRISE within the field of musical theatre education include the promotion and investigation, through rehearsal to performance, of new musical theatre writing. This is not only an educational project but one of enterprise involving the university in a community of artists and collaborators as well as the surrounding community becoming more aware of the university and thus promoting its impact upon future society and the regeneration of the arts. Recent productions encouraging new writing within the field of musical theatre are as follows:

Quill written by Den Stephenson and Fergus O’Reilly.

Performed by the graduate year of Musical Theatre Students 2013

Bel-Ami written by Alex Loveless.

Performed by the graduate year of Musical Theatre students 2014

Alfie written by John Cameron and Eden Phillips

Performed by the graduate year of Musical Theatre students 2015

EDUCATION PROJECTS AT UWL created, written and developed for each musical theatre production in order for the director and students to communicate in a more positive manner with the local schools and colleges and thus promote the university as a thriving and artistic concern. Making connections with professional performance venues/theatres such as Questors Theatre, Ealing Broadway; Watermans Theatre, Brentford; Park Theatre, Islington; Union Theatre, London and Charing Cross Theatre, Charing Cross, London and enabling students to perform within these professional venues is also an example of enterprise that assists the entire university in reaching out to the surrounding community


CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENTS AT UWL are integral to the development of our unique BA degree course in musical theatre which identifies a specific core line of study with no options allowed. As a result we are fast becoming ambassadors for the subject within the field of Higher Education. The recent publication of the first of a series of books (mentioned above), dedicated to and outlining the work undertaken by our students at London College of Music, is a serious recognition by a publishing house (Macmillan) for what we do and wish to achieve.

Our other strength is in the development of a unique training of actor movement and so all our tutors will eventually be trained in Feldenkrais method in order to follow this through in every sector of the curriculum. Currently the university is supporting staff to be trained in the method in order that we can then pursue ‘in-house’ training for our students at LCM and my colleagues within the department.