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Profile 1 – Ned Dickens

By Ann-Maureen Owens
with photography by Bernard Clark

The strength of community — the accountability of knowing people in more than one way or through different channels — is what Ned Dickens values about living in Kingston. A creative playwright and designer, he moved here with his partner, Kate Sykes, and infant son, Simon, about 20 years ago from a niche in Toronto with a similar sense of community — the Kensington Market area. “Kensington is described by those who live there as a village surrounded by fields of tall buildings,“ he says with a smile. The city itself was becoming unaffordable, so while visiting a relative attending Queen’s University, Ned and Kate decided to relocate and raise their family in Kingston. Their daughter, Nell, was born soon after. Here, they found a small city surrounded by fields of nature.

For several years, Ned’s work continued to be more provincially and nationally based than as part of the local theatre scene. He has written 16 plays, an opera libretto, award-winning radio dramas for CBC and projects for Toronto’s Young People’s Theatre. He has been Playwright in Residence at the National Theatre School in Montreal (four times), Nightswimming Theatre in Toronto and Theatre Kingston (twice). Before the pandemic, his script based on Kenneth Oppel’s young adult novel Airborn was in development at the Stratford Festival. . . .