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Deborah McAndrew

Deborah McAndrew is co-founder and Creative Director at Stoke-on-Trent based Claybody Theatre Company and a former guest lecturer at Staffordshire University. She is also Chancellor of Leeds Trinity University.

Deborah is an accomplished actor and playwright with original work and classic adaptions for various theatres and companies around the country. After studying Drama at Manchester University, she began her acting career on the cobbles of Coronation Street, where she played Weatherfield regular Angie Freeman in the early 1990s. In the years following Corrie, Deborah enjoyed a varied career in theatre and television, playing everything from Shakespeare to Music Hall, and has appeared in countless dramas for BBC Radio.

Alongside her undergraduate degree, Deborah achieved a PGCE in Drama and Special Education from Bretton Hall College and has enjoyed strong links with education since. She was a regular guest lecturer at Staffordshire University between 2010 and 2016. In 2017, she was National Literacy Trust Author in Residence at Ormiston Horizon Academy. She has also written and delivered education packs and workshops, working with children and young people in outreach and community projects in Stoke-on-Trent and in schools with Creative Partnerships.

Deborah’s moving WWI drama “An August Bank Holiday Lark” won both the UK Theatre Award and Manchester Theatre Award for Best New Play 2014. Her new adaption of “Hard Times” is currently touring with Northern Broadsides and her upcoming work in 2018 includes “The Chester Mystery Plays” at Chester Cathedral and adaptions of “A Christmas Carol” at West Yorkshire Playhouse and “Oliver Twist” at Hull Truck Theatre.

Claybody Theatre Company was founded by Deborah in Autumn 2013. Working with Artistic Director Conrad Nelson and Producer Helen Slevin, they aim to craft high quality live drama in non-theatre spaces in the Potteries. Claybody Theatre’s most recent production was “Dirty Laundry”, a domestic thriller by Deborah about a young woman caring for her dying father in 1950s Stoke-on-Trent, performed in Spode Works in October 2017.

The Award of Honorary Doctor of Staffordshire University is bestowed upon Deborah in recognition of her major contribution to the arts and her celebration of the culture and history of Stoke-on-Trent by producing plays of local relevance at iconic sites. It also recognises her achievements in promoting creativity and literacy to the young people of the City.

Photo of Deborah McAndrew

Deborah McAndrew was bestowed the award in 2018

The city of Stoke-on-Trent has been a rich source of inspiration for me in my work and, over the past 17 years, I have put down roots deep in the North Staffordshire clay. It’s a very special and unique place that continues to face many challenges, and I regard it as a privilege to serve the people of the Potteries through education and theatre. I’m very proud and honoured to receive this award from Staffordshire University.

Deborah McAndrew