The University of Essex has presented a honorary degree to David Yip, one of the UK’s leading and most successful Chinese heritage actors.
David has appeared in numerous Hollywood blockbusters and top TV shows while also writing and directing more personal theatre work.
He originally trained at East 15 Acting School, which is now part of the University of Essex and David received his honorary degree at a graduation ceremony including many East 15 graduates.
He said: “This award is truly one of the highlights of my life.”
David said he won a place at East 15 after hearing about the acting school while working at the Everyman Theatre in his home city of Liverpool in the early 1970s.
He added: “East 15 in the early 1970s was challenging and inspiring but the conditions were very basic to say the least. But it prepared us well for the profession we desired to enter.”
He has now been a professional actor for 49 years and said he was proud to have worked to get the British Chinese Community and British East Asian Community heard and to give them the platform to tell their own stories.
He said: “I am heartened by the increasing numbers of writers, directors, producers and actors that are emerging, year by year, from the British East Asian Communities. Our long lost and hidden family stories are starting to be told. Opening up these worlds with our own voices and talents.”
He told graduating students: “I look to the young for hope and inspiration. The future is yours and your children’s and their children onwards.
"So, looking at this sea of young, beautiful, eager, clever young people in front of me, I am touched by the potential that you all have.”
Orator Matthew Lloyd, from Éast 15, paid tribute to David: “At East 15 we love using performance to investigate different perspectives. David shares this passion. East 15 also has a truly international outlook on performance and David has loved travelling the world for work including America, Canada, Europe, the Far East and China.
“While we recognise David’s ground-breaking achievements in his professional career – rubbing shoulders with Daleks, Indiana Jones and James Bond no less – it is also David’s personal achievements and values that we recognise.
“His personal experience, understanding, and celebration of what it means to live in a global community – and his commitment to the idea that, as individuals, we can work together to create a better society, and a better world. Values that we hold dear as a university.”