Ken Campbell

A Tribute to Ken Campbell

Actor, Writer, Director. Associate: Llandovery Theatre Company

Llandovery Theatre Company mourn the loss of our friend and colleague KEN CAMPBELL who has died, aged 66.

Simon Barnes and Jaqueline Harrison worked with Ken in Colchester Rep and frequently met up with him in the mid sixties when signing on at Victoria labour exchange. After our signing, we would adjourn for a cup of coffee, and he would entertain us, his captive audience, keeping us in stitches with his stories of jobs he had done and his endeavours to explore ‘the meaning of life’.

In the 80’s when we were struggling to provide theatre and festivals of plays at Llandovery Theatre, Ken championed us. He became an Associate and Adviser – which basically meant he came to act for us for nothing, and ‘tried out’ his new plays.

A generous, brilliant, wild, eccentric genius, somewhat ruthless in judgment, as I know to my cost when he came to see Simon’s play ‘WHERE JULIE GONE ‘ at the Hen and Chickens, and – I was informed by a member of the audience – made audible comments throughout – which mercifully I didn’t hear! The two hour ‘discussion’ between us, after the show, as he ripped my performance to pieces, could have been heard half way down Islington High Street.

But we loved and admired him, and had a very great respect for his opinions and his judgment, and his support for new writing, which is what we were endeavouring to produce.

The last contact we had with him was a answerphone message replying to our invitation to attend 25 year anniversary celebration of the Llandovery Theatre Company – it was – typical of Ken – a witty, delightful but – unquotable response.

Whatever star Ken is inhabiting now, I hope it is not too far from Simon’s, and that they can share many celestrial cups of coffee, and recount details of the jobs they have done, the obstacles overcome, the plays they have written and performed, and the state of theatre and performance today.

Jacky Barnes
Llandovery Theatre Company, September 2008