Kit Hesketh-Harvey

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Hesketh Harvey on Just a Minute in 2010

Christopher John "Kit" Hesketh Harvey is a British musical performer, translator, composer and screenwriter.

Early life[edit]

Born on April 30, 1957, in Nyasaland (now Malawi), into a Foreign Office family, he was educated as senior chorister at Canterbury Cathedral and then Tonbridge School in Kent. He gained an Exhibition in English Literature as well as a choral scholarship to Clare College, Cambridge where he studied under John Rutter and joined the Footlights.

Early career[edit]

He worked for six years as a staff producer for the BBC-TV Music and Arts Department, leaving to write the script for Merchant Ivory's Maurice (1987), and has worked on the Vicar of Dibley series for the BBC. He wrote 'Full Throttle', starring Rowan Atkinson, and Hans Andersen: My Life As A Fairytale (Hallmark). He co-wrote the screenplay for Tim Walker's film 'The Lost Explorer'.(Another collaboration with Walker, verses to Walker's photographs 'The Granny Alphabet' was published by Thames and Hudson in 2013).

He was the writer and singer of the musical comedy act Kit and The Widow, which over thirty years had a number of West End and Broadway theatre runs and international tours. They had their own series on BBC Radios 3 and 4, and two TV specials on Channel 4. He starred in the 1996 production of Salad Days at the Vaudeville Theatre, and in Tom Foolery (Jermyn Street and national tour). He co-devised and starred in the original production of the Sondheim revue, Putting It Together. In 2011, he starred in Cowardy Custard (national tour) with Dillie Keane. He co-starred with Tim Minchin in the first BBC Comedy Prom at the Royal Albert Hall in 2011: the last time that Kit and the Widow appeared on stage together. He stars annually in pantomime at Guildford. He makes occasional appearances on the many BBC Radio 4 series such as Just a Minute and Quote Unquote. He presents one-off documentaries on off-beat subjects for Radio 4. He was also a panellist on the unaired pilot episode of QI.


Kit Hesketh-Harvey won the 1988 Vivian Ellis Award for musicical theatre writers. He subsequently studied with Stephen Sondheim at St Catherine's College, Oxford, and his musicals written with composer James McConnel include Writing Orlando (Barbican 1988) and Yusupov (Bridewell Theatre). He adapted the English version of Jacques Offenbach's La Belle Hélène (2006) directed by Laurent Pelly for English National Opera. His translation of The Bartered Bride for Charles Mackerras at the Royal Opera House was Grammy-nominated, and he has translated many other operas.

Original libretti include Varjak Paw (composer Julian Phillips). He adapted and produced 'The Caribbean Tempest', starring Kylie Minogue, in Barbados and Sydney 2000. He co-produced Shadwell Opera's Magic Flute at the Rosslyn Chapel, Edinburgh,(Herald Angel Award 2009). He collaborated in 2011 with Gifford's Circus, writing the lyrics to War And Peace.

His plays include Five O'Clock Angel at the Hampstead Theatre. He writes regularly for Country Life magazine (2009 IPC's Writer Of The Year). His radio play, A La Villa Bab Azzoun, produced by Moving Theatre, won the 2009 Prix Europa. His work for military charities has taken him to the conflict in Kabul, as well as to Saudi, Africa and the Far East.[citation needed]

His translation of The Merry Widow was in Opera North's 2010/11 season, transferring in July 2011 to the Sydney Opera House. Armonico Consort are currently touring his piece 'Monteverdi's Flying Circus'. In 2011 he directed (for Merry Opera) his own adaptation of La Belle Helene, Troy Boy, and in 2012, his adaptation of La Traviata. He wrote and co-directed their production of 'The Magic Flute' at the Riverside Studios, London, in 2013. His translation of The Magic Flute was revived in 2012-13 in the Scottish Opera's production, directed by Sir Thomas Allen. In 2013, he translated Salvatore Sciarrino's The Killing Flower (Royal Opera) for Music Theatre Wales. Now working as a performer and lyricist with James McConnel, the duo perform regularly at London's top cabaret venues.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

In 1986, he married actress/academic Catherine Rabett; they have two children, Gus and Rollo. His sister is Sarah Sands, editor of the London Evening Standard.


External links[edit]