Actor David Suchet CBE told Liverpool Hope Graduands to let their imagination soar and to use the arts to nourish their spirit, as he picked up his honorary degree.
Mr Suchet received Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) on Tuesday 18th July at Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral during the University’s Graduation week.
He was presented with the award for both his service to acting and for his contribution to making the Bible more accessible to people around the world.
In 1989, Mr Suchet took the title role of Hercule Poirot in the long-running television adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Poirot. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Royal Television Society for his 25-year role as the fictional TV detective in 2014. His long and illustrious acting career also includes roles in theatre, film, and radio plays, as well as audiobooks and voice-over narrations. He won an International EMMY Award for Best Actor when he played Robert Maxwell. In 2013, Mr Suchet made a recording of the whole Bible (unabridged) that now has a worldwide outreach. This year he read the whole of St Mark’s Gospel to a capacity audience in St Paul’s Cathedral.
Mr Suchet said of his Honorary Doctorate: “It's extraordinary. I feel so proud and honoured. When you start acting as I did way back when in the early 1970s, and you end up here in this phenomenal, unique university in Liverpool, to receive an honorary doctorate, it is quite overwhelming. I feel very proud.”
He advised the new graduates to “let your imagination soar” and “let the arts nourish your soul”. He said he wanted them to embrace all the arts because “we are mind, body and spirit, and we exercise our bodies, we exercise our minds, but we do not so much exercising of our spiritual life, which includes our creativity. I want to foster an enjoyment and an involvement in the arts. Go out, enjoy the arts and get involved.”
Speaking about his reputation for championing new actors and writers, he said: “I would like to be remembered, as much as anything, for being an ‘encourager’. I think as you get older in life, it's everyone’s duty, whoever you are, whatever you do, whatever your society, wherever you belong, to encourage the young and to give them hope, and give them a good foundation for the future, and to encourage them in all areas… If I can be remembered for being an encourager, I will be very happy.”
Professor Gerald Pillay, Vice Chancellor of Liverpool Hope University said: “David Suchet’s long and distinguished career on stage, television, film and radio shows that he is always eager to push himself as an actor, and to try new things. When a well known literary character such as Poirot is brought to life, it is always a risk, but Mr Suchet's portrayal has been truly defining, and has shed new light on the work of Agatha Christie - a true testament of his skill as an artist. He has also used his vast talents to make the Bible even more accessible to people around the world. His championing of young actors and writers shows a profound respect for young people. He is a fine inspiration to our new graduates.”
Also receiving awards this week are Vice-Chancellor of Lille Catholic University Pierre Giorgini, and academic and educationalist Sister Dr Maura O’Carroll SND.