Philip Hedley is best known, in his long history as a theatre director, for his 25 years’ service as artistic director of the Theatre Royal Stratford East. While there he produced more Black and Asian theatre productions than were staged in any comparable British theatre, and he established courses for young Black and Asian directors, many of whom are now having great success in the entertainment industry. He was awarded a CBE for services to drama and an Honorary Doctorate by the University of East London, which acknowledged the many opportunities he gave to young artists and his devotion to closely involving the Theatre Royal with its’ local community in the East End. He was the first individual to receive an Eclipse Award for his pioneering work in combating institutional racism in British theatre.
I was thrilled to hear that Fraser Ayres and Jimmy Akingbola were determined to establish an organisation to give a platform to the work of young artists and to make contacts for them in a profession which still cannot boast, with hand on heart, that it gives equal opportunities to all. TriForce is a breath of fresh air and it is always an inspiration to attend their events. I marvel at the imaginative way their work has expanded and I am honoured to be chosen as a patron.