Odyssey Medal

Bret Jones

Bret Jones

Bret Jones was born in Conway and raised in Pine Bluff. He started tap dancing at the age of 7 and was involved in various community theatre productions throughout high school. He attended Pine Bluff High School where he was active in school drama productions. While at Hendrix College, he took classes within the Drama Department and acted in several productions, one under the direction of Professor Ella Myrl Shanks, but most under the direction of Dr. Rosemary Henenberg. After receiving his B.A. from Hendrix in 1981, he lived for awhile in Dallas and New Orleans before going to England to study acting at the Drama Studio London.

He joined the dance company Zoots and Spangles in 1988, a company specializing in authentic jazz dance of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, particularly Lindy Hop and tap dancing. He became a featured dancer in the company in both tap and Lindy Hop, performing in shows in European countries including Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium, Norway, as well as in the United Kingdom, including London's West End. He has performed in shows with the legendary Adelaide Hall and Harold Nicholas, and danced with the Humphrey Lyttelton Band and the Herb Miller Orchestra. He appeared in Anthony van Laast's Astaire/Rogers tribute show Shall We Dance in Oslo and in Fred Astaire: His Daughter's Tribute at the London Palladium. His acting and dancing abilities combined in 1995 when he was cast as the male lead in the UK number one tour of Hot Shoe Shuffle. He has appeared in musicals such as Of Thee I Sing in London, Half a Sixpence at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, and My Fair Lady in Cyprus. He has danced in a number of television shows and in the film Pride and Prejudice. From 2002 to 2004, he played an Inventor in the original West End production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, directed by Adrian Noble. He also covered two principle roles of the Toymaker and the Childcatcher, appearing in both roles during his time in the show.

In acting roles, he was in the original production of Ben Elton's Popcorn at both the Nottingham and West Yorkshire Playhouses, and played Bob Ewell in To Kill a Mockingbird at the New Vic Theatre, in Newcastle-under-Lyme and played a small role in the BBC television production of Money. Shifting away from musical theatre, he has appeared in roles in small productions of new writing playing a manipulative small town preacher in Shooting Clouds, a corrupt sexual predator in Chernobyl in The Common Good and was pleased that the reviews for both shows described him as 'creepy'. He has been in a variety of commercials. In the autumn of 2011, he appeared in the West End premiere of Cool Hand Luke at the Aldwych Theatre, London. He has recently co-written and performed in a short film, Dead Thirsty, and is working with a co-writer in developing it into a feature film script.

Since 2002, he has pursued a variety of postgraduate studies. He holds an MA in Contemporary Approaches to English Studies and an MA in Cultural History, both from Goldsmiths, University of London, an MRes (MA in Research) in Drama and Theatre Studies from Royal Holloway, University of London, and a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice from Queen Mary, University of London. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He has taught at leading British performing arts conservatories, such as Guildford School of Acting and East 15 Acting School, and has taught at Queen Mary, University of London, where he is currently a research student. He recently presented a paper 'Pay and Display: Early Modern Theatre as Ritual Space' at the conference Space on the Elizabethan Stage, 1576 – 1599 at the University of Leeds.

He is a dual US/UK citizen and currently lives in London.