BAFTA nominated actor David Morrissey was recognised for his ongoing contribution to UK drama, television and film by being awarded an Honorary Doctor of Arts by Edge Hill University.
Acknowledged by peers and institutions as one of the finest actors of his generation, David has achieved excellence in the world of film, television and the performing arts. His standout performances include Being Human, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, The Deal, and most recently in his iconic role as The Governor in The Walking Dead.
Accepting his accolade from the University’s Chancellor Professor Tanya Byron, David congratulated his fellow Arts and Sciences graduands.
“It’s a great honour to be here and share your day with you. I was shown around this fantastic University and have been so impressed by everything. I can’t believe you’ve had the opportunity to spend time here. The facilities are just amazing and I was bowled over by these professional studios that are just like the ones I was desperate to get into when I was starting out.
“Being from Liverpool, when I do come back to the North West, the thing I always think about is family. When I told my Mum and Dad I wanted to be an actor, it was like telling them I wanted to be an astronaut because they couldn’t help me. They knew nobody in that profession at all but they encouraged me,” he said.
David’s continued commitment to his North West roots is evident in his consistent support of Liverpool’s film culture, and his close creative relationship to both the Everyman Theatre where he most recently performed as Macbeth in 2010, and the Unity Theatre of which he is a board member.
“My Dad always said to me ‘if you find a job you love, you’ll never do a day’s work in your life’ and I really feel that. Once I discovered the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. It was a very exciting place where we did improvisation, we walked in other people’s shoes and I loved that. The skills I learnt at the Everyman have stayed with me,” he said.
David also reflected on the joy of his charity work both with the United Nations and his own Creative Arts School Trust running drama workshops with children around the world.
“In the workshops I’ve done with students in the UK, South Africa and in Lebanon I’ve seen children who feel they have no voice, feel that nobody listens to them. After the workshops you suddenly see them opening up and their teachers notice how much more engaged they are in every aspect of their education. Drama can enlighten people in every aspect because it makes you inquisitive, makes you ask questions and that’s a great thing,” he finished.
His passion for nurturing talent has also seen David become a vocal and public commentator on the prospect that working-class talent is being priced out of acting, calling on the creative industries to do more to end their “economic exclusion” and exploitation via a culture of internships
David’s acting career started at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool, where he was born and raised. He made his debut in the 1983 series One Summer about two Liverpool runaways. Following a degree at RADA, he worked with the theatre company Cheek By Jowl.
As prolific and versatile as ever, in the past year David has performed in the film, The Ones Below, in the television series The Missing and wowed audiences on the London stage as Harry in dramatist Martin McDonagh’s Hangmen.
Edge Hill University will award ten Honorary Degrees during its 2016 summer graduation ceremonies. Each of the recipients – leaders in a range of areas spanning film, law, politics, music, education, and philanthropy – will be recognised by Edge Hill for their contributions to society that resonate with the University’s values, teaching and research.