British actor and director Harry Burton will receive the Kjell Meling Award for Distinction in the Arts and Humanities at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21, in the Wolf Kuhn Theatre of the Misciagna Family Center for Performing Arts at Penn State Altoona. The award ceremony include a lecture by Burton and will be followed by a dessert reception.
A veteran actor and director on the London stage, Burton enjoys an influential presence on the city’s premier West End theater district. The son of Emmy Award-winning British television broadcaster and producer Humphrey Burton, he was trained as an actor at the University of London’s Central School of Speech and Drama, later earning his director’s credentials through BBC Television’s Single Camera Directors’ course.
As an actor, Burton has regularly appeared on the West End stage in a host of celebrated productions. He has performed leading roles in "My Fair Lady," "Guys and Dolls," "The Magic Flute," "The Marriage of Figaro" and "Don Giovanni," among a host of others. He has accrued numerous Shakespearean credits in leading roles in productions of "Much Ado About Nothing," "A Midsummer Night’s Dream," "Troilus and Cressida," "The Merry Wives of Windsor" and "Twelfth Night." Burton has enjoyed numerous roles on British television, including guest appearances on such popular series as "The Midsomer Murders," "Fortunes of War" and "First Among Equals." He also has performed in four feature films, including "Agent Cody Banks II" and "Blackwood."
As a director, Burton has enjoyed renown for his West End productions of Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter’s "The Lover and The Dumb Waiter." He also directed Eric Daniels’ "Where I Come From," the first African-American play to be staged at the Kentucky Repertory Theatre. His most recent stage directorial credits include François Archambault’s "The Leisure Society" and Ross Ericson’s "Casualties." In September, Burton directed Clive Exton’s "Barking in Essex" at the West End’s Wyndham’s Theatre. Burton has directed two BBC film productions, including "Working with Pinter" and "Thinspiration." He recently worked as associate producer on "A Thousand Years of Joy," a documentary directed by Haydn Reiss about the life of American poet Robert Bly.
Burton has taught as teacher and director at the Royal Academy for Dramatic Arts, New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, New York City’s National Arts Club, London’s Actors Centre, the Screen Actors Guild, the California International Theatre Festival, the Australian School of Film and Television, the Danish Film School and the University of Vienna.
Penn State Altoona initiated the Meling Award in 2006 to honor the memory of its longtime associate dean for Academic Affairs, who died in 2005. The award is intended to memorialize Meling's love of literature and language and his unwavering support as an administrator for the development of Penn State Altoona's faculty as scholars and artists.