Oldham Coliseum and Nottingham Playhouse veteran Kenneth Alan Taylor has been awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
The 84-year-old former Coronation Street actor and director – husband to equally-popular former Coronation Street actress Judith Barker – is "thrilled to bits" to receive the honour.
Kenneth, who lives in Springhead, Oldham, receives the award for services to theatre and his speciality, pantomime. He began the Oldham tradition of hilarious and massively-popular Christmas pantos that continues to this day, then 30 years ago started a similar tradition in Nottingham, first as director and Dame and later as director, always to his own scripts mixing modern music and spectacle with broad comedy and topical jokes.
The London-born actor moved to Oldham in the 1950s as a young actor and joined the Oldham Repertory Theatre as the private theatre club started a gradual decline.
In the 1970s, on the closure of the “Rep”, Oldham Council and the Arts Council revived the theatre as the Oldham Coliseum with Kenneth in charge, bringing the theatre growing success before leaving to take over in Nottingham. He later returned to Oldham to work a second turn-around of fortunes, establishing himself as one of the best-known names in northern theatre.
Still working as a freelance performer in theatre and television, he scored two recent hits at the Oldham theatre with an award-winning, starring role in The Father, followed before the Covid lockdowns in joint brother and sister roles in Jimmie Chinn’s comic drama A Different Way Home.