Benjamin Henson Headshot

Benjamin is one of New Zealand’s busiest theatre directors, forging a diverse career, spanning from, scale and medium including original works, scripted premieres and opera. Prior to New Zealand, Benjamin worked for one of the UK’s largest youth arts organisations, leading participatory projects for primarily at-risk youth, including taking six productions a year to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for nine consecutive years. Ben later trained in theatre direction at the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, London, while continuing to direct for the London fringe and cabaret circuit. Following projects in Germany and France, Ben was the director in residence at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford. 

In New Zealand, Ben teaches in Auckland’s drama schools and is Artistic Manager of The Actors’ Program. 2019 marked the inaugural year of The Directors’ Program, the country’s only course of its kind, which has been developed and created by Ben and a team of industry advisors. Under the theatre collective Fractious Tash, Ben has received critical acclaim for Earnest, Not Psycho and Titus, which was then remounted for a sell-out season at the Pop-Up Globe (featuring Beyoncé covers by NZ’s only steelpan band...). The company presented the NZ premiere of Lucy Prebble’s The Effect to great acclaim and was set to collaborate with The Fortune Theatre on a new adaptation of Hansel and Gretel before the theatre’s closure. 

Benjamin was one of two directors to engage in The Engine Room; a fast-track initiative between Auckland Theatre Company, New Zealand Opera and The Fortune Theatre. As a result, Ben featured in Peer Gynt Recycled for ATC; directed Twelfth Night for the Fortune Theatre, winning production of the year at the Dunedin theatre awards.

Ben opened ATC’s 2018 season with the NZ premiere of Red Speedo by American playwright Lucas Hnath. He then closed their 2019 season with Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead, winning best production design in the Auckland Theatre Awards. The award-winning production of Last Tapes’ Valerie toured throughout NZ, following dates in Australia and Edinburgh, adding to its accolade the coveted Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. During the Covid-19 lockdown, Ben has written and directed the short film Owls produced from London and recorded over Zoom and featuring both Kiwi and UK actors. The film, produced by Russell Productions has now toured the film festival circuit, from Venice to LA. 

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