Journal and News
Ex-ITC Chair Becomes Honorary Doctor
ITC’s Chair between 2017-2022, was recently awarded a Degree of Doctor of Letters honoris causa upon Alison King
She was asked to address the graduating students and this is what she said:
Acceptance speech for my Honorary Doctorate
First of all, I would like to thank Sally Ann Gritton for the wonderful introduction and kind words and for the University of East Anglia and Mountview for giving me this honour.
This is truly unexpected and like most honours it really belongs to the people that support and help us along our way in life, so thank you to all my friends and family that tolerated ‘the theatre hours and lifestyle’ and always supported our projects wherever they have been!
I never expected to be standing here today, I am utterly humbled and delighted to be joining the other illustrious honorary doctorates. I studied at Mountview, so I stand before you as a very proud Alumni, proud to be part of Mountview’s history and future and for the work that Mountview does and for the students I see before me today. Of course, you all have a much better building than we had all those years ago!
I graduated from Mountview in 1992 (a long time ago now) and as Sally has highlighted even when I graduated, I wanted to make theatre that made a difference and had impact. I have always wanted to make work that entertains and inspires and most importantly provides opportunities and access to everyone, especially to those where art may or could be a considered a barrier.
I never ever imagined receiving this honour today, you never imagine such accolades are for people like us, making work like we do. I am just a hard-working person who worked her way up from Stage Manager to be standing here now, in front of you. My father always said that ‘good work will out’ and I think if he was here today, he would finally consider that I had paid him back for my studies! I have always done just that, worked hard, been decent to people and kind, one of the most important lessons I learnt early on. I have always let my love for theatre, the art, the work and the people be the driving factor, so for all of you graduating today I would urge you to think further than ambitious accolades (ambition comes in many forms) and think about the work and projects you do and why and the people you work with.
A consistent work ethic to do your best and be true to yourself is some of the best advice I can give you.
I was fortunate to meet such a person to work with, I owe so much to Charlotte Cunningham of Turtle Key Arts and to the whole Turtle Key team and family. We are only ever as good as the people around us and I have had the good fortune and privilege to work so many brilliant artists and companies and to be part of so many incredible projects.
I believe that art can and does change lives and can make the world around us a better place to be in. From a smile of happiness to confidence growing, to unlocking creative potential, to opportunity, to making lifelong friends, to being part of a family and team, to engaging and bringing communities together, connecting and touching people’s lives, to highlighting important issues and telling the stories that need to be told, through theatre, dance, music and circus. Theatre does this and more. I have had the good fortune to work across the world and I have seen first-hand what art can do for people. Art should never exclude and whether you are performing in front of 1000 people or doing a workshop for one, you are creating, engaging, and connecting through art and that to me is what It should all be about.
I know for all graduating students that these are challenging times to be starting out. These last few years have tested our resilience, resourcefulness, nerve and adaptability, but as I look out to all of you, I see the future of theatre, I see promise, hope, excitement and ambition, so I would challenge each of you to take all that you have learnt from Mountview and use it to make good art, accessible and inclusive art and think how can I make a difference? You may think you can’t, that you don’t have what it takes, but you do, you just need to trust yourself, your beliefs and be true to your core values.
You will all have lots of opportunities to not only challenge but change the world and the older generations above you and with your youthful energy, wonderful creativity, and optimism, believe me you can, I know, because I was one of you 31 years ago.
So to all of you graduating students today, all the very best for the future, congratulations on everything that they have achieved so far, good luck and I look forward to seeing what you all do next…..
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