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Aston awards doctorate to award winning actress

13 July 2006 – for immediate release

Josie Lawrence, one of the UK’s most popular comediennes and actresses, will be in the spotlight at Aston University in Birmingham this week when she will receive an honorary degree for her services to the entertainment industry.

Josie will join graduating students of the University in a special ceremony at 11am on Saturday 15 July when she will receive an Honorary Doctorate.

‘It is a great honour to be receiving this award from Aston University. The West Midlands has got so many great memories for me and I love to visit it whenever I can,’ said Josie.

Born in Old Hill in the West Midlands, it was evident that from a young age Josie (born Wendy Lawrence) was destined for stardom. At the age of 16 she joined the Barlow Players in Oldbury, then went on to study theatre at Dartington College of Arts before appearing in numerous theatre productions.

Josie has performed with the Royal Shakespeare company in several productions including Taming of the Shrew, for which she won the Dame Peggy Ashcroft Award for Best Actress. She has also had a successful nine month run at the London Palladium where she played Mrs Anna in The King and I, as well as playing the lead in Much Ado About Nothing at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.

Josie has also undertaken many television roles includes ITV’s Fat Friends, three series of the award winning Outside Edge and her own series – Josie, just to name a few! The actress has also appeared in several films, including the Oscar nominated Enchanted April alongside Miranda Richardson.

However, funny girl Josie’s talents do not lie only within the realms of conventional acting, as she is best known for her comedy improvisation skills. She shared her comic genius with the nation for over 10 years, performing alongside the likes of Stephen Fry and Paul Merton on the BAFTA award winning show Whose Line Is It Anyway? She has also been a member of the Comedy Store Players for over 20 years and meets up weekly to perform improvised sketches. Josie also writes, directs and works on many radio productions.

Compassionate Josie has not forgotten her Midlands roots and is a firm supporter of local and national charities. She climbed Mount Kilimanjaro last year to raise money for Sunfield School in Clent (Josie is a patron of Sunfield, which helps children with learning difficulties). She has also shown her support and dedication for Breakthrough Breast Cancer by taking a year out of her schedule to help the team raise over �555,000 and recruit 170 women to walk ‘The Great Walk of China’ with her (across China, Peru and Tanzania).

She has recently finished filming a new TV series The Quick Guide to Parenting, where she stars alongside Peter Davidson, and which is expected to be on our screens in September.

ENDS

For further press information please contact Sally Hoban on (0121) 204 4552 or Hannah Brookes on (0121) 204 4549.

Josie will be available for photographs at 12pm prompt on 15th July. Please meet University Press Officers Sally Hoban and Hannah Brookes in main reception.

Further press information about the other honorary graduates is available on request.

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