Northern Ireland news

Stephen Rea awarded honorary degree from The Open University

Stephen Rea with President Michael D Higgins and Sabina Coyne

BELFAST-born actor Stephen Rea has been honoured by the Open University for his "outstanding body of work for stage and screen".

Cast as Fergus in The Crying Game which won the 1992 Bafta for Best British Film and earned him a nomination for best actor, Rea has also had roles in critically acclaimed films including Michael Collins, The End of the Affair and Interview with the Vampire.

Most recently he appeared in Black 47, the first film about the Famine which has broken Irish box-office records.

He was yesterday awarded the degree of Doctor of the University at a ceremony at Croke Park in Dublin.

"The Open University is an inspired transformative intervention into higher education, offering access to all who desire it, without prejudice," he said.

"I am truly grateful to have been offered an honorary doctorate from this most democratic of institutions."

President Michael D. Higgins made a special address yesterday to graduates, many who fitted their study around work or family commitments and some who have a disability or live in a remote or rural community.

Others did not have traditional university entry qualifications, or come from low-income households.

John D'Arcy, director of The Open University in Ireland, said he was delighted to acknowledge Mr Rea's contribution to the arts and his major accomplishments in acting.

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