Swansea University has awarded an honorary degree to actress and Swansea University graduate Annabelle Apsion.

Ms Apsion was presented with the award today (18 December 2019) at the degree ceremony for the College of Arts and Humanities.

Ms Apsion was born in London, educated in Guilford and Oakham, and sixth form college at Godalming in Surrey.  She sought to find a place northern and industrial in contrast to the conservative Surrey where she lived, but she ended up at Swansea University, which she grew to love, describing Swansea as ‘a place of real healing’. 

After dropping Russian, she left briefly to study choreography at Middlesex but soon returned to Swansea, graduating in English and Drama.  While here, she met a lifelong friend, Catherine Carnie, who directed Annabelle's early performances and accompanied her, after graduating, to direct her performances on stage at Edinburgh. 

She started her career with title roles in Shared Theatre Groups' productions, such as The Bacchae, Heartbreak House, and Anna Karenina.   She performed in Shakespeare’s Richard III at the RSC at Stratford upon Avon directed by Sam Mendes, and Chekhov's The Seagull at the Bristol Old Vic. 

In 1996, she starred in Hillsborough, the powerful drama about the Hillsborough disaster when 96 football supporters lost their lives. 

Upon receiving her award, Ms Apsion said: “I'm excited to visit and see how both Swansea the town and Swansea the University has developed since I last visited some 35 years ago or more! I always thought I would live in Swansea - I only moved to London to try to become an actress which I felt was a necessary move at the time.

Swansea connected me to the raw beauty of nature, as well as to higher education, and to a friendly society of people.  It was a place where I could find my feet and grow up a little. I am forever grateful for that opportunity and so glad to be back and see Swansea as it is today.”