Ben Grimes

Ben is a native of Little Rock, Arkansas. He received a BFA in Regional Theatre from The Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University and has appeared in stage productions in regional theaters across the country. Ben is passionate about developing new voices and work in theatre and was a founding member of Moment to Moment Productions in Little Rock, Arkansas and also served as the co-artistic director of Drove Theater Company in New York City.

After more than a decade working professionally on stage and feeling disconnected and lost, Ben joined the US Army in 2006. As an Airborne Ranger in the 82nd Airborne Division, he deployed to Baghdad, Iraq. In 2017, he again deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. After his last deployment, Ben began to reintegrate back into theatre to heal from the stress of combat. He found a deeper connection to the material and that working in an ensemble environment helped to elevate his feelings of isolation and depression. These discoveries led Ben to enroll in the Clinton School of Public Service where he received his Master’s in Public Service. Ben’s research and studies in theatre practiced as a public service inspired him to launch Riverside Actors Theatre, a theatre company that uses the vehicle of theatre and storytelling to address trauma and the struggles that veterans and other at-risk populations commonly face.

Death of Kings is Riverside Actors Theatre’s inaugural production and utilizes Ben’s story coupled with the text of William Shakespeare to explore the costs of war and service. Death of Kings is a story of the modern-day veteran, however the themes and questions we ask are universal to all generations of veterans. This nation has existed and continues to exist through service. These sacrifices are often paid by individuals that are come from troubled and tumultuous upbringings. In today’s age of an all-volunteer military, the gap between those who serve and those who don’t continues to widen. Death of Kings is an attempt to close that gap, to champion the men and women who shoulder our nations burden through the most trying times, and to discover the collective trauma and values that unite us as human beings.