Fellowship recipients (Prema Mehta was unavailable to attend the graduation ceremony)
UK - Guildhall School’s Graduation Day ceremony took place virtually on 26 March for the Class of 2020. Every year, as part of Graduation Day, the Board of Guildhall School elects a small number of people to the Fellowship, the School’s highest accolade. Fellowships recognise outstanding achievement or service to the School by past and present members of staff, members of the Board and former students. This year’s fellows are Prema Mehta, Ben Sumner and Natasha Gordon.
Prema Mehta (Stage Management and Technical Theatre 2004) studied at Guildhall School and is a highly successful lighting designer who has lit over 200 productions in her 16-year career. Her recent productions include Hymn at the Almeida Theatre, The Comeback at the Noël Coward Theatre, and she is soon to open the RSC’s production of The Winter’s Tale. She is also the founder of Stage Sight, a sector support organisation which works to improve representation across all offstage roles, in terms of class, ethnicity and disability.
Ben Sumner (former vice-principal and director of Productions Arts) is currently Dean of Theatre & Entertainment Arts at The Hong Kong Academy for Performance Arts. He left Guildhall School in 2019, having held senior positions within Production Arts at the School for 12 years. During that time he oversaw a number of major strategic changes within the Production Arts faculty, including the launch of new programmes such as the BA (Hons) in Video Design for Live Performance, and the launch of Guildhall Live Events, which combines commercial work in interactive and immersive digital experiences with academic programmes.
Natasha Gordon (Acting 1999) is an award-winning writer and actor. Her debut play, Nine Night, enjoyed a sold-out run at the National in April 2018, before transferring to Trafalgar Studios, making her the first black British female playwright to be produced in the West End. In recognition of the play’s overwhelming success, Natasha won the Charles Wintour Award for most promising playwright at the 2018 Evening Standard Theatre Awards.
Peter Sellars was awarded an honorary fellowship. In a career spanning 40 years, Peter has worked at the peak of international opera and theatre - gaining renown for transformative interpretations of existing masterpieces and for collaborative projects with an extraordinary range of creative artists.
During the ceremony, Vivienne Littlechild, chairman of the Board of Governors of Guildhall School, said: “It is my great pleasure and my privilege to welcome you to this special online event to celebrate your Graduation. It is especially pleasing that we have so many successful graduates this year, given the extraordinary events of the last 12 months which have affected all of us.
“The dedication, tenacity, flexibility and hard work you have given to your courses is to be celebrated, especially considering the additional challenges you have faced as a result of the pandemic. Along with the Board of Governors and all the staff who have worked tremendously hard to get you to this point, we wish you every success in the future. I am sure you would wish to join me in thanking staff for their commitment.”

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