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5. SIR KENNETH BARNES

 

The Vanbrugh Theatre at the Royal Colleg of Dramatic Art

The Vanbrugh Theatre at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art

© RADA

 

Sir Kenneth Barnes
Kenneth Ralph Barnes KGB; CBE was born in Heavitree, near Exeter 11 September 1878. 

After his time at Balliol College, Oxford, he became a civil servant and worked in the Land Registry for a while but, in 1909, a great opportunity came his way and, five years after its creation, he was appointed Director of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art - a post he held (except for a break when he was on active service during the First World War) for 46 years. 

Sir Kenneth Ralph Barnes

Courtesy of The National Portrait Gallery

 

He married a former student of RADA - Daphne Graham - in 1925. His sisters - Violet and Irene (and especially Irene) - remained closely linked to Sir Kenneth, not only as family, but as firm supporters of his tireless work for the students of the Academy for which, in 1938, he received the KGB. He was also a Trustee of the Shakespeare Memorial Fund.

 

In 1921 he instigated the building of a new theatre for RADA which unfortunately was totally demolished by bombing in 1941. A new Vanbrugh Theatre was opened by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother in 1954 shortly before Sir Kenneth's retirement.

 

Like his sister Irene, Sir Kenneth wrote an Autobiography which he called Welcome, Good Friends. He died 16 October 1957 aged 79.

 

 

 
 
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