Ben Walden - Artistic Director

Ben is the founder and Artistic Director of Contender Charlie.

His work with staff and students has received major acclaim at education conferences around the world. He has given main keynote addresses for groups such as the ICP Convention in Australia, the ESF Principals in Hong Kong, ESSARP schools in Buenos Aires, the Latin America Headteachers Conference and the 3 International Baccalareate conferences for Europe, Asia and the Americas, as well as the IB World student Conference. He has also been a regular speaker at the New Heads Conference for the National College of School Leadership in the UK.

He is an actor and presenter who has played a number of leading roles on television and for the Donmar and Almeida theatre companies as well as at Shakespeare`s Globe. Having run many masterclasses for the Shakespeare`s Globe Education Centre he has worked in close collaboration with Mark Rylance and Richard Olivier in the development of an experiential theatre learning technique called Mythodrama.

As a Senior Associate at Olivier Mythodrama, Ben is now running sessions bringing this work at Leadership level into a broad range of organisations across the world. He has also run projects at a number of leading business schools including Columbia, OSBS, the London Business School and Insead.

"Contender Charlie" is the company he has formed to take this, and other theatre techniques, into education.

Its courses have now become a regular fixture at Headteacher conferences as well as at staff and student events all over Britain.

As well as his leadership and creativity courses for teaching staff, Ben runs sessions for students of many different abilities and backgrounds looking at themes of leadership and calling in their own lives.

His chief passion is using Shakespeare and Mythic stories to inspire meaning and purpose in the lives of young people and their mentors.