Henson Keys

Henson Keys as King Lear.

Henson Keys as King Lear. ARKANSAS SHAKESPEARE THEATRE PHOTO

Henson Keys (Leonato, Much Ado; King Lear, Lear) is pleased to be spending his first season with Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre. He has been a professor of theatre and the chair of the acting programs in the Department of Theatre at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign since 1999. Henson is a veteran of more than 120 productions as an actor and director in New York and with professional theatres across the country, including the New York, Utah, Alabama, North Carolina, and Illinois Shakespeare Festivals; the McCarter Theatre (Princeton); the Yale Repertory Theatre; the Asolo theatre (Sarasota); the Walnut Street Theatre (Philadelphia); the Meadow Brook Theatre (Detroit); the Folger Theatre (Washington, D.C.); the Cleveland Playhouse; the Actors Theatre (Atlanta); and the Coconut Grove Playhouse (Miami). Henson has performed in 39 Shakespearean productions in roles ranging from Richard III to Malvolio to Jaques to Lear’s Fool and Lear himself. His recent professional directing work includes Julius Caesar and Much Ado About Nothing for the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival and Harvey for the Utah Shakespearean Festival. Previously, he headed graduate training programs at Ohio University and at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, where he held the ASF Endowed Chair of the University of Alabama. At the U of I, he has played Deputy-Governor Danforth (The Crucible) and King Lear and directed productions of Everyman, Angels in America, Othello, Virtual Devotion, Gross Indecency, A Chorus Line, Shakespeare’s R&J, Our Town, and The Normal Heart. For the School of Music Opera Program, he has directed La Traviata, La Bohème, Romèo et Juliette, and Rigoletto. Henson also writes opera CD and DVD reviews for Opera News magazine and the website Parterre.com. He has been a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association for forty years.




  • Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre proudly makes its home at the University of Central Arkansas.
  • Outreach

    • touring productions will reach 10‐12 schools and over 4,000 students
    • approximately 600 students participate in hands‐on workshops led by professional actors
    • 30‐40 teachers participate in workshops with the producing artistic director on how to teach Shakespeare in the classroom
 
 
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