A ‘theatrical wizard’ who co-founded the world’s leading live theatre company praised De Montfort University Leicester’s arts courses for being “second-to-none” as she received an honorary degree this week.
Rosemary Squire OBE is the Founder Director and Deputy Chairman - and the presiding spirit - of the Ambassador Theatre Group, or ATG.
After 25 years, ATG now has 45 venues in Britain, America and Australia. There are between 30 and 40 million visits to the theatre in the UK each year and ATG sells one in three of those tickets.
Dr Squire was made an Honorary Doctor of Arts in recognition of her entrepreneurial drive and spirit “mirroring the creativity and innovation encouraged at DMU” during the ceremony on Tuesday afternoon which celebrated graduates from the Faculty of Art, Design and Humanities.
Her citation said she was “a theatrical wizard materialising briefly here in the limelight, centre stage” adding “it is not her usual role. Rosemary Squire OBE generally works her magical effect behind the scenes.”
Dr Squire said: “I am honoured. I am really impressed with the Arts and Festivals Management courses at the university, and have spoken at DMU conferences. We have also employed DMU graduates at Ambassador Theatre Group. The quality of the arts courses is second-to-none.
“I think the arts education at DMU is practical too. I am really impressed. The students are not just learning, they are living the work too, and developing all the skills needed to work in the entertainment industry.”
Three ceremonies were held in The Venue@DMU on Tuesday to celebrate the graduation of students from the Faculty of Art, Design and Humanities.
As thermometers hit 30C, hundreds of students received their hard-earned rewards in front of proud friends and families. DMU staff handed out free bottles of water while graduands could visit a ‘freshen-up boutique’ in the Graduation Village. The Graduation Village also offered food and celebratory drinks.
Haya Hamadeh received her Architecture degree and is planning to take a Masters in Architecture at DMU next year.
Haya, who is originally from Syria but now living in Saudi, said: “Studying at DMU was a lovely experience and well worth it. I am very excited about studying my masters so hopefully I will be enjoying five wonderful years here.”
Nicole Bird, who received a BA (Hons) in Dance, plans to teach disabled adults and children how to dance. She said: “I thought studying my degree at DMU made me a person. I grew into someone I never imagined I would be and made friends for life. I loved it and will miss it.”
Marcus Dove, who received a BA in Fine Art, had an incredible year after being commissioned to produce a work of art for DMU’s Chancellor Baroness Lawrence.
He said: “The ceremony was emotional and inspiring…and really hot! I have had a really great experience at DMU.”
Before receiving her Honorary Doctorate, Dr Squire also offered advice for DMU students wanting to enter the industry.
She said: “I would say, as an inspiration to all the grads today, think big, allow yourself to develop a vision. Take your time. Think about what you really love. The important thing is to know your direction. If you know where you are going, there are many different routes to get there.
“It is important to be prepared too. Hard work pays off and opportunities always arise. You need to seize the moment and be ready for it.
“Learn from people. Give yourself plenty of tools in your toolkit, whether that is in ticket sales or theatre marketing or digital channels. So, when something arises, you know how to approach it.
“Go and see everything. If you’re going to work in the entertainment business, you have to understand what entertains people.”
Posted on Tuesday 19th July 2016