Academic Staff Directory

David S.K. Henson

David S.K. Henson

Interim Head, London College of Music
Academic school:
Job title:
Interim Head, London College of Music
Head of Subject: Performance, Composition and Performing Arts
Course Leader for Musical Theatre
Course Leader for Acting
Higher qualifications:

G. Mus BSM, ABSM (B'ham Conservatoire); PGCE (B'ham); BA (OU); ALAM & LLAM (P/TD) (LAMDA); Diploma in Child Drama (B'ham); Cert GSM & LGSM&D (P/TD) (Guildhall); LTCL (Trinity); ALCM (LCM) Gold Medal (PS); MEd (B’ham)

Professional organisations:
Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA)
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)
Member of Guild of Drama Adjudicators - GoDA
Member at the National Association of Singers (United States)
National Association of Teachers
Member: Standing Conference of University Drama Departments [SCUDD]
Member: Mercury Musicals & Musical Theatre Networks - New Writing
Director for RealDeal Performance Company
Director of a new writing project at Finsbury Park Theatre
National Association of Teachers

David is currently the Interim Head of the London College of Music, and Head of Studies in Performance, Composition and Performing Arts, University of West London.

Throughout his career, in addition to his performing and directing career, he has been at the cutting edge of the development of the performing arts in education and has been responsible for the assessment of performance holding the post of Chief Examiner in Music, Theatre Studies and Drama with leading vocational and academic examination boards.

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 - ‘Interrogation of text and emotion within the works of Stephen Sondheim’ - Miami University
2006 - Speaker on the subject of The 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 on the MA course 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

External academic duties

External Examiner to: City of Birmingham University MA in Drama and Education: BA Acting and postgraduate qualifications at Birmingham Theatre School; BA Acting and MA Acting for Film and Media at East 15 Acting School; BA Creative Industries Newcastle College (Teesside University); BA Dance at London Studio Centre (Middlesex University)
External Advisor to BA Acting at Bath University
MA supervision Tutor for Royal Central School of Speech & 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
Various Musical Theatre education projects

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 and composed 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

Performance credits (Music and Theatre)

English in Italy (Lord Byron) Birmingham Touring Company
Verse of the Romantic Period (Speaker) Midlands Public Libraries & Venues
Laborintus I & 11 (Birmingham Contemporary Group) Adrian Boult Hall
‘Cabaret’ (Royal Shakespeare Company) Midlands Tour
Facade & English Art Songs (Royal Shakespeare Company) Midlands Tour & Universities
Mankind (London Players) St. Pancras Church, London
Messiah (Birmingham Festival Chorus) Birmingham Cathedral
Mass in G (Conservatoire) Birmingham Cathedral
Brahms: Requiem (Birmingham Festival Chorus) Birmingham Cathedral
Mozart: Requiem (Birmingham Festival Chorus) Birmingham Cathedral
Cavalli: Mass (Bach Choir) BBC Radio Recording

Founder member of the Lydian Consort performing major concerts throughout the UK. Repertoire ranged from secular to sacred including the major works of Monteverdi, Byrd and other giants of the period. Other repertoire included early secular madrigals to contemporary choral work and special commissions.

International concert work

Bach solo Cantatas include: 'Iche Habe Genug'
Schumann and Schubert Lieder include: Dichterliebe, Wintereisse, Die Schone Mullerin
Song cycles of Finzi, Quilter, Ireland, Elgar, Holst, Vaughan Williams, Howells and Britten
Series of recital programmes exploring special area of expertise, research and interest:
English Art Song from Purcell to Britten

Film, radio and TV

The Hidden Play Dead (Shoes for Orphans) B’ham Collide Festival
Digital Film Techniques - Documentary (Four Monkey Films) London/Australia
Music in the 20th Century (Speaker) BBC Productions
Life of AE Houseman (Narrator) BBC Productions
Christmas Verse - Radio West Midlands
Contemporary Poetry Selections - Radio West Midlands
Two Contemporary Rock Oratorios BBC Productions - 'Songs of Praise'

Directing credits (Music and Theatre)

Macbeth (Shakespeare in Education) B’ham Rep & Tour
As You Like It (Shakespeare in Education) B’ham Rep & Tour
Romeo & Juliet (Shakespeare in Education) B’ham Rep & Tour
She Stoops to Conquer (B’ham Theatre School) Custard Factory
The Country Wife (B’ham Theatre School) Custard Factory
Blood Wedding (B’ham Theatre School)
Venus and Adonis (Birmingham Conservatoire) Birmingham Cathedral
West Side Story (B’ham Schools' Company) Birmingham Town Hall
Godspell (B’ham Schools’ Company) Birmingham Cathedral
The Boy Friend (B’ham Schools’ Company) Birmingham Venues
HMS Pianfore (Birmingham Operatic Society) Birmingham Theatres and Solihull Theatre
Little Mary Sunshine (Birmingham Operatic Society) Birmingham Theatres and Solihull Theatre
Something's Afoot Crescent Theatre, Birmingham
The Mikado (Birmingham Operatic Society) Birmingham Theatres and Solihull Theatre
Ruddigore (Birmingham Operatic Society) Birmingham Theatres and Solihull Theatre
Assassins (Royal Central School of Speech & Drama) Embassy Theatre
Trial by Jury (Royal Central School of Speech & Drama) Embassy Theatre
The Last Five Years (Royal Central School of Speech & Drama) Embassy Theatre
Memly We Roll Along (Royal Central School of Speech & Drama) Embassy Theatre
Into the Woods (Royal Central School of Speech & Drama) Embassy Theatre
Pippin (Royal Central School of Speech & Drama) Embassy Theatre
Working (Royal Central School of Speech & Drama) Embassy Theatre
Actor’s Showcase (Royal Central School of Speech & Drama) Embassy Theatre
Actor-singer's Showcase (The Actor's Centre) Covent Garden
Three Women (New Leaf Production) Hampstead Theatre / Battersea Arts Centre
Falls (Central Company) Greenwich Theatre
Fax of Life (Ltd Company) Greenwich Theatre, Water Rats, Kings Cross
Carpe Diem (Ltd Company) Greenwich Theatre
The Unit (Ltd Company) Greenwich Theatre
Without Icing’ (Impetuous Kinship) UK Tour: Venues, London, Ipswich, Brentwood Theatre
Merrily We Roll Along (Amsterdam University) Univ. Theatre
Twelfth Night (Amsterdam University) Univ, Theatre
Chichester Psalms & Poulenc: Gloria (City BSSO) St.Chad’s Cathedral
Dido & Aeneas (Birmingham Conservatoire) Several venues
Lovers (Court Theatre)King's Head, Islington
Saturday Night (Court Theatre) Courtyard Theatre, London
An Evening at the Musicals, (Production Company) Italy
The Last Five Years (Ltd Production Company) London
Evening of Sondheim (London College of Music) London
Company (London College of Music) Watermans Theatre, Brentford, London
Into the Woods (London College of Music) Waterman Theatre, Brentford, London
Bollywood Rose (New Musical Theatre Company) Leicester Square Theatre, London
Tess of the d'Urbevilles (Production Company) Union Theatre, London
Ordinary Days (W5 Productions) London College of Music Theatre, plus additional performance venues

Various music theatre education projects...

with composers, performers and writers including: Judith Weir, David Lang, Mark Anthony Turnage, Peter Maxwell Davies; Harrison Birtwistle; City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Symphony Hall /Adrian Boult Hall / Various venues and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.

Works conducted range from...

major classical and contemporary choral works, symphonies, chamber music and concertos to chamber music and small choral ensembles with orchestras and choral groups ranging from Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, CBSO, St Phillip’s Academy plus various Choral Societies and chamber ensembles.

Research and scholarly output:

Publications and published research since 2000  

Proposal for the implementation of book: New Writing within Musical Theatre in Higher Education

Second volume of Musical Theatre: Workbook Two for Macmillan, December 2016. Future publication: Theatre and Music to be published in 2016

Musical Theatre: A Workbook. 2014. Palgrave Macmillan. Purchase a copy on Amazon.

Musical Theatre: A Workbook Book - Palgrave Macmillan, December 20 2013. ISBN 978-1-137-33162-5

Musical Theatre: Exploring the World through Song. 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.

Review: First Edition of 'Contemporary Theatre Review', Richard Rodgers

Contemporary Musical Theatre Texts, study of contemporary composers and their work.

Current research interests

Research, being completed in further doctoral studies at Oxford, identifying the work of Peter Slade and Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky and interrogating their contribution to the child’s world of play.  An insight into children’s games, as a psychological phenomenon and its role in the development of the child. 

Additional research includes:

What is musical theatre? - research to develop a conceptual framework within higher education.
Philosophy of Musical Theatre Education.
Music of Shakespeare - 'Shakespeare in Song' - Currently working on a book offering a detailed analysis of all references to song within the dramatic texts of William Shakespeare.
Acting through song - method and philosophy.
Contemporary acting techniques and their impact upon the world of musical theatre.
The science of learning and mental processes involved in singing and the teaching of singing.
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/unpublished - the globalisation of the musical theatre voice. Making reference to current and historical thought on pedagogical processes within musical theatre.
Song as a dramatic event in close relationship with the responses of the listener (audience) and semiotic elements.
The importance of dramaturgy in musical theatre.



Conference presentations since 2000

October 2016, ‘Si canta come si parla’ (one sings as one speaks); Let’s talk: The world of musical theatre as both speaker and singer. Association of Teachers of Singing Conference, St. Paul's Girls School, Brook Green, London
September 2016, Teaching creativity within musical theatre: A star is born 8 times a week. Popular Music: Creativity, Practice and Praxis, IASPM UK and Ireland Biennial Conference, Brighton
2016,  Unlock the imaginary world of song within the reality of the performance space. Performance workshop at Move It conference for dance and performing arts.  Lecture Demonstration: Acting through Song at on 19 March, 2016
2014 - HEA Conference, UWL, London February.  Songs for a new curriculum: the significance for education and industry of new writing in musical theatre.
2013 - Royal Central School of Speech and Drama: Musical Theatre Symposium. Song, Stage and Screen V111 in July 2013.
2013 - School of Advanced Studies: Voice Conference in April 2013
2006 - Conference based on the work of Musical Theatre and its transition into the 21st Century. London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art
2006 - Delivery of Paper and Lecture Demonstration about new musical theatre writing at University of Portsmouth. 'What is Music Theatre and Musical Theatre?'
2005 - Contemporary Training in Musical Theatre.ATFHE San Francisco
2004 - From the inside out. An investigation into the assessment of the performance arts Birmingham (TCL Conference)
2002 - International Conference for Voice, Helsinki
2000 - ELIA Conference. Drama Training in UK, Barcelona