• Honorary degrees presented to creators of hit ‘Jamie’ musical

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    November 27, 2018
    The talented creators of hit theatre show Everybody’s Talking about Jamie have been presented with honorary doctorates from Sheffield Hallam University.

    Jonathan Butterell, Dan Gillespie-Sells and Tom MacRae - the creative team behind the smash hit musical - received their honours from Sheffield Hallam University at the City Hall today.

    Speaking before the ceremony, the trio said they were 'surprised', 'excited' and 'amazed' to have been chosen to receive honorary degrees.

    Jonathan said: "What's lovely is that we are getting this in Sheffield and the success of Jamie comes from the people of Sheffield. They kind of grabbed it, took it and ran with it. It's a story set here and they own it so although this is a lovely thing that's happened to us, actually it's a complete celebration of Sheffield."

    Offering advice to graduating students, Tom said: "You can achieve your dreams but you have to work hard. Work hard, keep going, take the knock backs, keep going and then anything is possible."

    Dan added: "Be kind to people, you need people on the way up and on the way back down too."

    The musical was inspired by the 2011 BBC Three documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16, which tells the story of a 16-year-old schoolboy living on a Sheffield council estate who harbours dreams of becoming a drag queen.

    The show premiered at the Crucible Theatre in February 2017 before transferring to the Apollo Theatre in the West End a year ago.
    Since opening, it has received a host of five star reviews as well as being nominated for five Olivier Awards and winning Best New Musical at the WhatsOnStage Awards and the UK Theatre Awards.

    In 2019 Sheffield-based Warp Films are making a big screen version of the musical with Jonathan, Dan and Tom as the creative team.

    The trio said today some of the scenes would be filmed in Sheffield at locations including the Parson Cross estate.

    Jonathan said: "There is a line in it where 10,000 people are in the street celebrating Jamie so we are just going to asked Sheffield basically to rock up."

    Jonathan Butterell is a Sheffield born choreographer and stage director who began his career working with renowned choreographer Matthew Bourne. He has extensive stage and screen experience having choreographed revival shows such as Fiddler on the Roof and Nine.

    Dan Gillespie Sells is a singer-songwriter and guitarist, best known as being the lead vocalist and frontman for the band The Feeling.

    Tom MacRae is a BAFTA and Olivier-nominated screenwriter, author and playwright. He is the creator of Comedy Central's Threesome. 

    He has also written for Marple and Lewis for ITV, and Casualty, Doctor Who and Bonekickers for the BBC.

    The trio accepted their honours alongside students graduating from the university's allied health professions, biosciences and chemistry courses.

    They also took part in a performance event and Q&A at Sheffield Hallam's Performance Lab on Arundel Gate.
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