Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Obituary - Mike Wilkinson - 1953-2012: News

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Obituary - Mike Wilkinson - 1953-2012: News

Article excerpt

Mike Wilkinson died of a heart attack as he waited for a train to London. He was on the way to see a play at the National Theatre. It was perhaps an apt passing for a man who had spent his career bringing his passion for plays and stagecraft to thousands of young people at Cranbrook School in Kent.

Born in Ealing, West London, in 1953, Mr Wilkinson attended Ealing Grammar before training as a teacher at Westminster College in the city of Oxford from 1972 to 1976.

Soon after, he took a job as a teacher of English and drama at Midhurst Grammar in West Sussex, where he proved a popular addition to the staff. But after three years, his dream of becoming a theatre or television director drew him away from education to a job as a floor manager for London Weekend Television and other TV companies.

Over about five years he worked on many shows, including Magpie, Thames Television's rival to Blue Peter. During this freelance period, he also worked on the technical side of West End shows while nursing his dream of theatre direction.

But when the job of head of drama at Cranbrook came up, Mr Wilkinson spotted a great opportunity. Not only would he teach his favourite subjects, English and drama, but he would also be in charge of the Queen's Hall community theatre on the site. He would decide its programme of performances, lure in the best acts and put on shows himself.

Mr Wilkinson, who never married, was responsible for forging a long- running relationship with the Cambridge Footlights comedy troupe, which now performs at the theatre annually. …

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