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The Ken Bradbury Improvisation Program Programs

Honkey Tonk Piano Program

"Politics, armies, the Statue of Liberty and Saran Wrap are all important," says Ken Bradbury, "but to know America, you've to hear it's music."

For over forty years Ken Bradbury has been tinkling the keyboards across the Midwest landscape, bringing the sounds of America's rich musical heritage to life. From tiny one-room schoolhouses to international conventions, Ken's honky-tonk piano stylings have delighted audiences and set feet to tapping, no matter the age of the shoe.

When not cruising the Illinois River on Peoria's famed Spirit of Peoria riverboat as featured pianist or playing at the Abraham Lincoln Museum in Springfield, Illinois, Ken regularly appears at Chautauquas, faith-based conventions, and several of his works have appeared on Public Television.

Spinning of mixture of our nation's melodies with stories of both the songs and the people who made them, Ken's presentations delight every family member, no matter the age.

You may know Bradbury from his writings since he has been named the most-performed author of theatre materials in American public schools ever year since 1997, and his syndicated newspaper columns appear in 14 Midwest newspapers where he writes under the pseudonym of Freida Marie Crump.


"I walked out of the workshop thinking, 'Hey, I can do this!'" ... a comment often heard at one of Ken Bradbury's Improv Workshops in elementary and middle schools.
Bradbury's name has long been associated with speech and theatre since he's been the most-performed author in public school speech competitions in the United States every year since 1997. His scripts have won more honors in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Great Britain than any other author.

"But the really exciting part of acting," says Bradbury, "is watching kids come up with their own stories. And that's what I help them do. In fact, most of them think we're just having fun until... bang! ...they realize they've just created their own story."

Using a wonderfully fun-filled series of improvisational games, Bradbury leads his young audiences into the world of fact, before they even know they're becoming actors and authors. For over thirty years Bradbury has acted as special consultant to the Illinois Elementary Association's speech program, traveling the Midwest to libraries, schools, and youth gatherings, fitting his presentation to the particular needs of that venue.

"I've always felt that everyone's born an actor," says Bradbury. "And if we just try a little, we can keep that tool in our valuable bag of life skills." He freely admits that his goal is not to produce professional actors, but to help young people open up their magic sack of possibilities. "If they perform professionally some day, that's fine," he says, "but I'm more concerned with how they feel about themselves. Acting is a joyous road to discovering who you are and using your skills to the best advantage."

Ken has presented programs for state youth conventions, churches, schools, speech and dramatics teams, summer library reading programs, and twenty-five years ago established his own series of summer camps for the performing arts.