Braving The Snow Storm With Ben
Featuring Ben Henderson
March 21, 2013
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Ben was born in New York, grew up in Winnipeg, went to Peterborough to attend Trent University, and then came to Edmonton to do his MFA in Directing at the University of Alberta in 1981 and has subsequently refused to leave. Most of his career was in theatre. He was the first Artistic Director of Nexus Theatre which did lunch time and late night theatre out of its underground home downtown in McCauley Plaza. He was also Artistic Director of Great West Theatre in Fort MacLeod, Theatre Network in Edmonton, and with Marty Chan founded Running With Scissors Theatre. Overtime his work has toured most of Canada and parts of Britain. His last job in the theatre world was as Dramaturg for the Saskatchewan Playwrights Theatre Centre helping playwrights craft their work.
He also trained and worked as a mediator, working mostly in organizational mediation and with parent and teen mediation, something he continues to dabble in to this day.
And then, in 2007, his life took a substantial turn as he left the theatre world to take on municipal politics, being elected as a City Councillor in the City of Edmonton. He first represented Ward 4 which took in the entire centre of the city and then with the change in ward boundaries he now represents Ward 8 which takes in the central south side. While with the City he has concentrated on a number of initiatives including a WinterCity Strategy, an Edmonton poverty reduction strategy, and (as an avid bike commuter) pushing for improvement for Edmonton’s bicycle and transit infrastructure. He has also gained a keen interest in City planning. He represents the City on the board of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), the Inter-City Forum on Social Policy, the Capital Region Waste Minimization Committee and represents the FCM on the Canada Council on the Social Determinants of Health.
Before being elected Ben was also heavily involved with community work, mostly as Vice President of the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues (EFCL) and as Chair of the Planning and Development Committee for the EFCL.
He and wife Laurie Blakeman, who is the Member of the Legislature of Alberta for the constituency of Edmonton Centre, have lived happily in the community of Rossdale, in Edmonton for many years with their menagerie of dogs and cats.