The actress who played hero Hostess in Doctor Who episode Midnight to receive University of Warwick honorary degree

You may remember her as the un-named Hostess who saves the day in 2008’s ‘Midnight’ during David Tennant’s era as The Doctor or maybe even Hermione Granger in the stage play ‘Harry Potter and The Cursed Child’ but to many others, she is known for so much more

Rakie Ayola – Hon DLitt (Honorary Doctor of Letters)

Rakie Ayola began her acting and performing life and career roles in the Orbit Youth Theatre, South Glamorgan Youth Theatre, South Glamorgan Youth Choir and the National Youth Theatre of Wales. She then attended the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, studying for a three-year acting diploma.

Her career in the theatre has seen her perform in a number of classical and modern plays including: Twelfth Night and Hamlet (Ophelia) for Birmingham Rep, Goneril in King Lear for the Royal Exchange Theatre/Tawala Theatre Company , Twelfth Night (Olivia) at Bristol Old Vic, the title role of Dido, Queen of Carthage at the Globe Theatre, Strange Fruit (Vivien) for The Bush Theatre, The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night-time (Siobhan/Narrator) for the National Theatre at Apollo Theatre.

In science fiction and fantasy she has played significant roles across theatre, film and TV thrilling at least three totally different huge fan audiences. In the Doctor Who episode Midnight it is she, rather than the Doctor, who saves the day, sacrificing herself to save a group of tourists on a shuttle from a monster, shaming everyone left on board the vehicle including the Doctor. In the Judge Dredd movie she played the Chief Judge, and of course, her portrayal of Hermione Granger-Weasley as the new Minister for Magic in the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child which in December 2017 won her the BroadwayWorld UK award for Best Long-running West End Show Performer (Female).

In 2001, Ayola founded a production company and directed a short film entitled Persephone’s Playground. She presented the film at the Cannes film festival, using it as part of her campaign for increased black representation in theatre, films and television.

Rakie has worked closely with Warwick’s Professor Tony Howard on a Multicultural Shakespeare Project and a British Black and Asian Shakespeare research programme and has also produced a multicultural/educational film of Twelfth Night working with Warwick’s Professor Carol Rutter.

Ayola’s first film appearance was in the 1993 film Great Moments in Aviation, written by Jeanette Winterson, in which she starred alongside Jonathan Pryce and John Hurt, and she has had roles in the movies The i Inside and Sahara.

Ayola’s first high-profile television role was in the ITV drama Soldier Soldier, in which she starred throughout its third series in 1993 as soldier’s wife Bernie Roberts. She also appeared regularly in Holby City (for which she was shortlisted for the ‘Female Performance in TV’ award in both the 2006 and 2008 Screen Nation Awards), and in 2009 starred in the CBBC musical comedy My Almost Famous Family. Her other TV appearances have included roles in: EastEnders, Sea of Souls, Canterbury Tales, Brexit: The Uncivil War, Shetland, Vera, Flowers, No Offence, Midsomer Murders, Waking the Dead, Silent Witness, Black Mirror, The Armando Iannucci Shows, Tiger Bay, and Being April. In 2001, she became a presenter of the BBC Wales arts programme Double Yellow, alongside poet Owen Sheers and performance artist Mark Rees.

The University’s summer graduations will take place throughout the period Tuesday 16th – Wednesday 24th July 2019 (excluding the weekend) and they will be held in the Butterworth Hall in Warwick Arts Centre.

See below her heroic sacrifice in Doctor Who fan-favourite ‘Midnight’. Congratulations from us all at Blogtor, Rakie!


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