The Chigwell connection

More than 50 years after he left Chigwell School to join the Royal Academy of Dance and Drama, the legend of Ken Campbell lives on.

After winning a scholarship in 1952, Ken’s experience at the exclusive private school undoubtedly shaped him into the performer he was to become.

Campbell was inspired by his eccentric, and intelligent Latin master, George Harvey Webb, who went on to found the East 15 drama school in Rectory Lane, Loughton.

As Michael Coveney writes in The Great Caper: “At Chigwell it is clear that [Mr Webb] gave Ken a glimpse of what ritous fun life in the professional theatre could, and should be like.”

In his later years the great caperer spent time teaching at East 15 and even gave performances of his one-man show.

Since 2008, a group of graduating East 15 students have performed a series of sketches as part of an annual tribute to Ken Campbell.

On the evening of Poltroonery Knights a panel of judges, who last year included Daisy Campbell, Ken’s daughter, pick the student with the most innovative act who is awarded �200.

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School bursar David Morrison said: “As a person, I believe Ken Campbell was a true gentleman and of great kindness.

“I felt the eccentricity so much remarked upon was a merriment, a rebellion. The man inside it was a passionate crusader against the world’s wrongdoings. We were extremely fortunate to meet him and see his shows.”

Poltroonery Knights will take place on Saturday 7th May at 7pm at Chigwell School Drama Centre.

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