Artistic Director and Paralympics opening ceremony co-director Jenny Sealey MBE has been given an honorary degree by Middlesex University in London recognising her achievements in performing arts and contribution to the disability arts.
Jenny, who lost her hearing at age seven, has been the Artistic Director of the disabled-led Graeae Theatre Company since 1997. Last year she co-directed the London 2012 Paralympics Opening Ceremony alongside Bradley Hemmings, and was an Artistic Advisor for the Unlimited 2012 Festival which celebrated the work of deaf and disabled artists.
She was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Honours list in 2009 for services to disability arts and has previously won the Liberty Human Rights Arts Award. Jenny has also been named on the Time Out London and Hospital Club ‘h.Club100 list’ of the most influential and creative people in the creative industries.
Middlesex University Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Driscoll said: “Jenny’s career achievements, alongside her work with deaf and disabled artists and continuous campaigning for disabled peoples’ rights, makes her a true inspiration to the students graduating today. Last year she had the honour of co-directing a memorable London 2012 Paralympics Opening Ceremony, which is testament to her talent and drive.”
Jenny Sealy said: “I am so lucky to be deaf as this has given me my fighting spirit and drive to make the world of theatre inclusive and accessible. I think each and everyone one of us has the same responsibility and together we can make an impact. Professor Stephen Hawking whose wise words rang across the stadium at the Paralympics Opening Ceremony said - Don't look down at your feet. Look up at the stars. Be curious. What wonderful advice!”
Jenny’s national and international theatre credits include ‘Reasons To Be Cheerful’ (Graeae), Blood Wedding (Setagaya Public Theatre, Tokyo) and The Garden (Greenwich + Docklands International Festival and Southbank Centre).
Jenny collected her honorary degree at a ceremony at Middlesex University's Hendon campus on Friday (19 July).