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Queen's birthday honours: MBE for former Theatre Royal Stratford East director

PUBLISHED: 07:00 09 June 2018

Kerry Michael Picture: TRSE

Kerry Michael Picture: TRSE

Archant

The former artistic director of Theatre Royal Stratford East has been recognised in the Queen's birthday honours.

Kerry Michael, who stepped down last year after 13 years in the role, has been made a MBE for services to the arts.

He received the news via letter about two months ago but was sworn to secrecy until now.

He said: “I didn’t quite believe it at first. I thought it was a mistake.

“I’m a working class, second generation immigrant.

“These things don’t happen to people like me.

“For the establishment to recognise me in this way is amazing.”

Kerry is in the middle of a year out after leaving the theatre in September, and said he will announce his plans for the future later this year.

During his time at the Gerry Raffles Square theatre, he helped to make it a place to develop new work and provide a platform for under-represented people to have their voices heard.

His shows have been regularly nominated for Olivier awards, with the production of Cinderella becoming the first pantomine to be nominated in the awards’ history.

Two productions have scooped the top gong - a hip-hop production of Boy Blue’s Pied Piper and Cora Bissett’s immersive theare experience Roadkill, in association with the Barbican.

Of his MBE, Kerry added: “I feel honoured and proud and I think this award really is for everyone at Stratford East during my time there.

“It’s all about enabling people to be amazing.”

Among his pioneering work was the Open Stage project, where the theatre handed over complete programming power to its audience in a six-month season ahead of London 2012, and Home Theatre, where 30 performances took place simultaneously in 30 homes across the capital.

In March, he was named artistic director of the year at the Off West End awards and in April he was awarded the Freedom of the City of London.

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