Creators of the award-winning musical Standing at the Sky’s Edge to be awarded honorary degree from Sheffield Hallam

7th September 2023

The creators of the multi award-winning musical Standing at the Sky’s Edge are to receive an honorary degree from Sheffield Hallam University along with seven other notable public figures.

Awards will be presented alongside graduating students during ceremonies in November  2023.

Writer Chris Bush, Director Robert Hastie, and Co-Producer Rupert Lord will accept the award on behalf of the whole team for their outstanding contribution to the creative industries.

Standing at the Sky’s Edge is a love letter to Sheffield and an ode to the iconic Park Hill Estate, featuring original songs from Sheffield singer-songwriter Richard Hawley (also an honorary degree recipient - 2008). It charts the hopes and dreams of three generations over the course of six decades.

The production was written by Sheffield-born Chris Bush and directed by Robert Hastie, Sheffield Theatres’ Artistic Director. It opened in March 2019 at The Crucible and won Best Musical Production at the UK Theatre Awards and the 2020 South Bank Sky Arts Awards.

In 2023, the production scooped two Olivier Awards for Best New Musical and Best Original Score and will transfer to the West End in February 2024.

The team said:

“On behalf of everyone behind Standing at the Sky’s Edge, we are thrilled to be honoured in this way. This show has been made with, for and by the people of Sheffield, proudly presented on our Crucible stage, and propelled to critical acclaim and a further life at the National Theatre and now the West End by Sheffield’s incredible audiences, whose support of theatre in this city is enormous and vital to UK culture.”

Sheffield Hallam University Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Chris Husbands said:

“We are incredibly proud to announce the names of this year’s honorary awards recipients. They all embody the values of Sheffield Hallam University and have made outstanding contributions to society in their respective fields.

“We know they will inspire our graduating students as they move to the next stage in their lives and very much looking forward to welcoming them to our community.”

Other notable figures who will receive honorary awards from the University include:

Sathnam Sanghera

Award-winning journalist and author, Sathnam Sanghera, began his career as a reporter with the Financial Times. His first book, the memoir The Boy With The Topknot: Love, Secrets and Lies in Wolverhampton was named Mind Book of the Year in 2009 and was adapted by BBC Drama in 2017. He has gone on to write Marriage Material and EmpireLand: How Modern Britain is Shaped by its Imperial Past

Vivienne Parry OBE

Vivienne Parry is a scientist by training and has spent her career as a writer and broadcaster specialising in health, ethics and public understanding of science. In 1994, she became a presenter of the?iconic BBC TV?science programme?Tomorrow's World. She also presented hundreds of science-based radio shows for BBC Radio 4, as well as being a newspaper columnist, principally for the Times.  ? 

Uriah Rennie

Proud Sheffielder Uriah Rennie is a former international FIFA and FA football referee who made history as the first black referee to oversee Premier League games, officiating more than 300 during his career.

Uriah studied for an MBA at Sheffield Hallam University during his refereeing career and he has been a magistrate in the city since 1996. He is an ambassador of The Children’s Hospital Charity and a Trustee of Voluntary Action Sheffield. Uri is patron of Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity and St Luke's Hospice. He is the president of Sheffield Federation for Schools Sports and he serves as president of Hallam FC and is chair of Sheffield and Hallamshire County FA.

Tim Campbell MBE

Tim appeared as a contestant in series one of The Apprentice in 2005 and was hired by Sir Alan Sugar. He is the founder of his own social enterprise, Bright Ideas Trust, and co-author of What’s Your Bright Idea?. He joined Zishi Cornerstone as Marketing Director in 2021 and has supported the company’s link with Sheffield Business School at Sheffield Hallam University. Tim has a firm belief in education as a facilitator of social mobility, he currently sits on the City of London Education board and is Chair of Governors at an outstanding London secondary school.? He was awarded the MBE for Enterprise Culture in the 2012 New Year’s Honours List. 

Dr Sara Hornby

Sara graduated from Sheffield Hallam with a PhD in industrial metallurgy and has since gone on to achieve enormous success in the steel industry. She set up her own company in 2003, Global Strategic Solutions Inc., holds five patents and has received numerous industry awards. Sara is a world leading expert in new technology development aimed at building a sustainable future, mitigating the impact of steelmaking on the environment through green technology.? 

Ian Stuart

Ian is Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of HSBC UK, one of the UK’s largest banks. Ian has worked in financial services for over four decades, having previously led corporate and business banking businesses at Barclays and worked at NatWest/RBS for over 20 years. He was awarded a Freedom of the City of London for his services to finance and received an Honorary Master’s Degree from The London Institute of Banking and Finance (LIBF).? He is the global Executive Sponsor of HSBC’s Ability Employee Network, a member of the UK Finance Board and a Business Ambassador for Meningitis Now.

Professor Phillipe Sands KC

Philippe is an author and renowned expert in international law. He was called to the Bar in 1985 and appointed King’s Counsel in 2003. He is Professor of Public Understanding of Law at UCL where he is also Director of the Centre of International Courts and Tribunals. He has been a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School since 2019.

Philippe has authored numerous acclaimed books, including East West Street and The Ratline. His latest book, The Last Colony, A Tale of Exile, Justice and Britain’s Colonial Legacy, was published in September 2022.

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