Chair Emeritus of Hampshire’s Blue Apple, theatre company honoured

Chair Emeritus of Hampshire’s Blue Apple, theatre company honoured

Georgiana Robertson, Chair Emeritus of Hampshire charity Blue Apple,  has been awarded an honorary fellowship by the University of Winchester in recognition of her enormous contribution to Blue Apple and the wider impact of her work in supporting people with learning disabilities.

Georgiana (pictured top) was chair of Winchester’s Blue Apple Theatre for almost seven years, and a trustee prior to that. In her time as Chair Georgiana led Blue Apple Theatre as it spread beyond Winchester and moved into film and dance. Countless additional adults with learning disabilities have had their quality of life, and their life chances, enhanced by Blue Apple thanks to Georgiana’s strategic vision and exemplary leadership and energy (for much of the period giving two days a week). Georgiana now supports Blue Apple in her new capacity as Chair Emeritus.

Georgiana grew up in a theatrical family with parents who were world famous puppeteers who toured with her throughout the UK, performing on both TV and stage.

Her own professional career was in social care, working with people who have disabilities and older people, seeking new ways of supporting them to achieve their full potential and to live fruitful, enjoyable and independent lives for as long as possible.

Georgiana was a founding Board member when Blue Apple Theatre launched as a charity in 2005. She has worked tirelessly to ensure performers have opportunities and recognition and has been delighted to observe positive audience response to Blue Apple performances. She is a passionate advocate for our performers.

Blue Apple’s Chair of Trustees Professor Ed Rochead said “Blue Apple Theatre is the university’s Artist in Residence, and it enables adults, and increasingly young people, with learning disabilities to take part in acting, dance, singing and filmmaking. Recently, you may have seen one of Blue Apple’s members, and honorary Doctor of this university, Tommy Jessop presenting Panorama.

“”During her tenure as Chair, Georgiana gave generously of her time visiting groups, attending every performance, and using her personal connections in fund-raising.

He continued: “Perhaps Georgiana’s biggest challenge was her leadership of the organisation during the Covid pandemic when she encouraged the staff team to develop an online offer for Blue Apple’s participants, many of them being medically extremely vulnerable, and for many of them Blue Apple was their main hobby or interest in life. A positive outcome of this is that Blue Apple now offers both in-person and deliberately virtual groups – reaching far more participants.”

Thanking the University of Winchester for her award, Georgiana said:  “I’m humbled to receive this award for Blue Apple Theatre, something I feel privileged to have been involved with and have thoroughly enjoyed. The performances have been wonderful and, like all of us when we enjoy success, the actors have carried their gained confidence into everyday life. It’s a two-way street. The performances are always uplifting for everyone; audiences feel the magic and take that wonder into their everyday lives too.  So, of course I recommend that everyone watches them!”

Blue Apple’s Artistic Director Richard Conlon added his congratulations: “Blue Apple were so lucky to have such an exceptional Chair through a time of enormous change – Georgiana helped steer the ship with care, diligence and skill. Covid threw us the biggest of curveballs, but as a team, the staff and trustees never stopped providing services to our vulnerable participants even as other small arts charities went, sadly, to the wall. Georgiana’s affection and respect for our performers always shone through, and she was tireless in her commitment. Her value to the organisation is recognised in her new designation as Chair Emeritus – we’re not letting her go too far.”


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