Barry Purves is an Oscar and BAFtA nominated animator and director who has worked in television, movies and theatre.
Barry was involved in Mars Attacks and King Kong and he has worked, either as animator or director, on TV series including The Wind in the Willows, Rupert Bear and Postman Pat. His own films have won more than 60 awards around the world and he uses his experience and expertise to teach the next generation of animators and performers.
As a guest lecturer he has held master classes at Staffordshire University, acts as an advisor to staff on animation courses and has worked on a film with students, based around Benjamin Britten’s musical composition The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.
He said: “It is a very exciting project. We’ve got 20 students, each animating an orchestral section. But instead of musical instruments we’ve taken the human body and each student has an internal organ to represent, which we will project onto a naked body.
“I’m doing a film about tchaikovsky as well and I’ve got students to help with that also, so they’re getting work experience. them shaping the film and working together, in a team, shows them the big picture because often I see students working alone on projects.”
As a student himself, in 1973, Barry studied Drama at Manchester University before a spell in stage management and acting. Two years later, he started working for Cosgrove Hall Productions, where he stayed for nine years. He then moved to Aardman Animations and later produced a string of films for Channel 4, including Next, the complete works of Shakespeare in 5 minutes.
His theatre directorial and design work has included The Importance of Being Earnest, The Turn of the Screw and Jekyll and Hyde, among others. He has also published two books, Stop Motion:
Passion, Process and Performance and Stop Motion Animation.
Barry, aged 55, said: “I originally wanted to be an actor because it’s a performance. All my puppets perform and that’s what I encourage other people to do. I also encourage animators to be storytellers and have an awareness of all the other arts.”
Barry has continued directing and designing; in 2011 it was High Society, followed by Sherlock Holmes, Elthon John's Aida, and Glorious in 2012. As well as Hitchcock Blonde and Gypsy in 2014.
The Award of Honorary Doctor of Staffordshire University is bestowed upon Barry for his achievements as an animator and director and for his support of the University’s animation awards, helping to inspire a new generation of industry professionals.