Mike Kenny becomes our first official patron

Arts Barge is chuffed to bits to welcome the  talented Mr Kenny as our first official patron.

Mike is one of the UK’s  leading writers (he was included in the Independent on Sunday’s list of Top Ten Living Playwrights) and has been a supporter of the project since the very early days. He won the Arts Council England’s first Children’s Award for Playwriting for Children and Young People in 2000 as well as other prestigious awards (including an Olivier award for his immensely successful The Railway Children) both here and abroad. He most recently provided York with the brilliantly immersive and moving experience that was Blood and Chocolate (2013).


As well as his obvious talents, Mike is a thoroughly lovely bloke and we’re very lucky to have him living here in York.

Here’s what he had to say about us…

“I’ve been searching for a quote I once heard. 

It was from Winston Churchill.

When asked to cut arts funding in favour of the war effort he replied, ‘Then what are we fighting for?’ I’ve been quoting this for years, but apparently he never said it. Not surprising, I suppose, knowing what we know of him.

So although he didn’t fight the Nazis to save the arts, we do know that he liked to paint. Every person needs the arts. What is being alive without singing a song, hearing a story, hanging a picture on a wall? A successful society is one with a healthy arts life. It is how we communicate what it is to be human, to be alive.

York is a vibrant city. It’s a city on a river which hardly uses it. York needs an arts centre, where people and art forms meet. An arts barge is two very good ideas in one.”  Mike Kenny 2014

Welcome aboard Mike – looking forward to that first play on the barge! But let’s steer clear of Noah’s Ark please…

Related Links

Short biog on Mike

Mike talks about adapting classic children’s literature for the stage

Mike’s script catalogue of Plays for Young Audiences



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