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David Kennedy

BA Theatre Studies and Humanities

At age 40, actor David Kennedy decided that he wanted to broaden his academic knowledge of theatre studies. Birkbeck, University of London was recommended to him by a friend who had been to the College and he decided to visit an open evening. David was pleased to discover that he would be able to combine his interests in theatre studies and the humanities on his BA.

He says: 'I had researched the history and ethos of Birkbeck, and I liked that it was established to give people who might not have been otherwise assigned the opportunity to get a degree. After speaking to staff at the open evening and my interview I felt like Birkbeck was a good fit for my ambitions and interests.'

Having left school at age 15, David had plenty of work and life experience behind him when he enrolled. He found that his classmates all brought a wealth of experience to the classes and this enabled them to form good relationships as they all bought their own perspectives into discussions and activities. He comments: 'All of the students were determined to learn and we were able to work very constructively together.'

David found the academic workload challenging, but his tutors were able to offer support. 'The tutors were very encouraging,' he comments. 'They all understood that we were working as well as studying.' In his third year, David was diagnosed as having dyslexia and dyspraxia, and received emotional and financial support from the College’s disability office. He says: 'The staff in the disability office offered me fantastic support, both in terms of accepting my newly diagnosed ‘disability’ and also in providing me with a computer and the software that I needed. Without the support of the disability office I don’t think that I would have managed to complete my degree.'

Since completing his degree David has done some work in drama therapy, and wants to remain a theatre practitioner. Reflecting on the benefits of his degree, David says: 'I’m definitely not the same person I was prior to studying at Birkbeck. I’ve got a much broader appreciation of the theatre and feel more confident in how I view and read plays. I’m delighted that I’ve had this opportunity!'

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'All of the students were determined to learn and we were able to work very constructively.'