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Message from Elaine about her Honorary Degree of Letters

On Friday 7th September at St Paul’s Church in Covent Garden I had the thrill of being awarded an Honorary Degree from the University of East Anglia at Mountview’s Graduation Ceremony. The award was made in recognition for my ‘Outstanding Contribution to Musical Theatre and the Theatre Profession.’ I was given an Honorary Doctorate of Letters. Being part of the ceremony at which so many talented young people were starting out with a career in the theatre made it particularly special. I have been fortunate to receive many theatre industry awards during my career but this one really is very special and I’m very honoured.

It was such a great day with all the students, staff and, of course, my friends there to support me. We arrived at the ceremony just before 2pm and I was taken to a dressing room to be fitted with the graduation outfit. I had to wear a rather fetching gown(!), which practically swamped me, even though they had specifically ordered a small size for me, and an equally fetching hat! Thank goodness everybody else was wearing the same outfit.

We all sat and watched as every student walked up to the stage and received their well earned degree certificate and had their photograph taken. The level of excitement nearly took the roof off, but what amazed me was the array of ladies shoes that passed by! Some of which I don’t know how those young girls managed to stand let alone walk!!

Eventually it was my turn to receive my honorary degree, which was presented to me by Professor Edward Acton, Vice Chancellor, of the University of East Anglia and Sue Robertson the Principal Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. And as I said in my speech that afternoon – ‘Dr Paige’, who would have thought it?!