Award-winning actor, author and activist Alan Cumming returns to RCS to receive honorary doctorate

Award-winning actor, author and activist Alan Cumming returns to RCS to receive honorary doctorate

Published: 30/08/2021

He’s the global actor, author and activist with an eclectic and electrifying career.

Alan Cumming, the Scots-born superstar of stage and screen – and much more in between – returned to his drama school roots today (Monday, August 30) to receive an honorary doctorate from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Aberfeldy-born Alan, an alumnus of Scotland’s national conservatoire, was recognised for his multi-award-winning and genre-spanning career that has taken him everywhere from Hollywood to Broadway, and his passionate and lifelong dedication to equality and human rights.

Alan’s honorary doctorate of drama was presented in a small and intimate ceremony in Glasgow under strict Covid safety regulations. It was filmed for a special video segment that will be unveiled at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s winter graduation ceremony that will take on Thursday, October 21.

Accepting the honour and fresh from performing his new cabaret show, Alan Cumming is Not Acting His Age at the Edinburgh International Festival at the weekend, Alan Cumming said: “I feel very moved today on receiving this honorary doctorate. I came to study here 36 years ago and I felt like I belonged here from the word go. The spirit of this institution has made me the performer that I am today.

“Three years of training and developing technique is very special – the older I’ve got I realise how important this training has been and the confidence I gained here has stood me in such good stead. I really like that I went to college here in Glasgow – it allowed me to make mistakes, to learn and to have a laugh.”

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, Principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said: “We are delighted to welcome Alan Cumming back to the RCS. He is an inspiration to all of us and he epitomises the genre-fluid artist; one who flows seamlessly between art forms and who harnesses their creative power and platform to inspire and engage with diverse audiences around the world.

“Alan encapsulates the ethos at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where students are encouraged to collaborate across disciplines to create new work and narratives. Alan’s work consistently demonstrates that bold ideas, adaptability and clear artistic authenticity are a potent combination.

“His impressive body of work and his commitment to social activism are an inspiration to the next generation and we are very proud of his prolific contribution to the arts and society.”

Dr Lois Fitch, Deputy Principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and sponsor of the award of honorary doctorate, the conservatoire’s highest accolade, said: “It is our mission at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland to help young artists find their voice and also how to use their art powerfully and meaningfully as active citizens.

“Alan is the embodiment – possibly one of the greatest there is – of a label-free artist who finds the connecting energy and the art in all of life’s experiences. He can share it truthfully, in a language and a voice that is authentically his.”

Alan’s vast and varied career has seen him star in a string of smash-hit stage and screen roles, earning him prestigious Tony and Olivier awards and many Golden Globe, Emmy and SAG award nominations.

His stunning performance as EmCee (Master of Ceremonies) in Cabaret thrilled Broadway audiences and critics alike and he’s no stranger to London’s West End where his sensational Hamlet won the Martini Rossi TMA award for Best Actor and saw him nominated for the Richard Burton Award at the Shakespeare Globe Awards. His blistering one-man Macbeth, a National Theatre of Scotland production, opened at Tramway Glasgow and played at the Lincoln Festival in New York City before landing on Broadway to critical acclaim.

Television has taken him from Scottish soap Take the High Road and sitcom The High Life to some of the small screen’s most successful series such as Sex and the City, Frasier, The L Word and The Good Wife.

Alan starred in the CBS series Instinct, which premiered in March 2018, and made history by being the first-ever US network drama to have a gay leading character.

He has performed in concert halls around the world, from Sydney Opera House to Carnegie Hall, and authored five books, which include the number-one New York Times best-selling memoir Not My Father’s Son.  His second memoir Baggage, Tales from a Fully Packed Life, will hit bookshelves on October 28.

Alan’s many awards include a Scottish BAFTA award for outstanding contribution to film and television and an OBE for both his work and his commitment to the progression of LGBT rights in Britain and America. He is the recipient of more than 40 awards for his humanitarianism and social activism.

In 2019, Alan performed and played DJ in a dazzling festive fundraiser for the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland that paid homage to his celebrated New York City cabaret bar, Club Cumming.

The one-off event at Cottiers Theatre in Glasgow’s West End featured star turns from Royal Conservatoire students, graduates and special guests including Scottish singer-songwriter Eddi Reader.

 

Visit alancumming.com


 

Alan Cumming photography © Robert McFadzean

 

 

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