Local Swansea actress and amateur dramatics champion Menna Trussler has been awarded an honorary degree by Swansea University in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the arts.

Born in Fforestfach in 1935, the Pride star’s story is one of resilience, passion, and the pursuit of dreams against all odds.

Her journey began in the heart of Wales, where the local Baptist Chapel provided her early opportunities to stand before an audience, igniting a passion that would shape her future. Raised in a mining family, Menna Trussler’s trajectory to stardom took an unexpected turn with the arrival of a young Women’s Auxiliary Airforce Officer named Diane during the war years.

Diane, a multitalented artist, became Menna's mentor, inspiring her with acting, dancing, and musical talents. Despite growing up in a time when pursuing an acting career seemed like an impossible dream, Menna Trussler’s determination prevailed. Faced with advice to attend Swansea Technical College and learn to type, she instead found herself immersed in amateur dramatics, where her love for acting flourished.

It was her husband Jim who delivered a reality check, urging her to fight for recognition instead of waiting to be discovered. She took the advice to heart and approached John Chilvers at the Swansea Grand, leading to her first professional role as an assistant stage manager at the age of 42, earning her coveted equity card.

Menna Trussler’s career soared from there, spanning the realms of repertory theatre, musicals, pantomimes, and eventually television and film. Notable appearances include roles in That Uncertain Feeling, The District Nurse, Torchwood, Stella, Casualty, and Little Britain.

In 2014, she starred in the smash hit film Pride, sharing the screen with acclaimed actors such as Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, and Dominic West. Fast forward to 2022, Menna Trussler earned an Academy Award nomination for her exceptional voice work in the animated comedy short Affairs of the Art.

Beyond her on-screen success, Menna Trussler remains deeply connected to her roots, tirelessly supporting and promoting Swansea’s amateur dramatics scene.

On receiving her honorary award, Menna Trussler said: “I am so thrilled to be receiving this honorary degree from Swansea University. When you retire from acting there is no party, no clock awarded, you just finish. I am therefore thrilled to get this prestigious award.

“Swansea University means such a lot to my family; my husband Jim studied here in the late 1940s and my grandson Oliver is due to graduate from here next summer!”