Encore co-founder Ashley Herman has been awarded an honorary degree from the University of Surrey in recognition of his extensive contribution to the performing arts, and his involvement in the university’s arts education.
During a ceremony on 20th July at Guildford Cathedral, Professor Michael Kearney, Provost and Executive Vice-President of the university, presented Herman with the honour, declaring him one of the institution’s “most loyal supporters”.
Ashley began his career in the theatre industry with training in London at the age of 17 before becoming an assistant stage manager at the Wimbledon Theatre, Royal Ballet and Theatre Royal Drury Lane. He worked as an assistant producer on a number of shows, and has since produced or instigated funding for over 35 West End productions, including The Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon and Wicked.
In 1981, he founded Applause, the UK’s first ticket agency dedicated to the travel trade. He sold the company in 1997 and in 2000, with colleague John Wales, founded the Encore Tickets Group, which is now the leading independent ticket agent in the UK. The company supplies over 3 million tickets to West End theatres every year, specialising in delivering tickets to international and domestic audiences.
One year before founding Encore, Herman was appointed Chairman of the Guildford School of Acting (GSA) and served on the council of the university for six years. He also received the Queen’s Award for voluntary service in 2012.
In his speech during the ceremony, Professor Kearney said: “Ashley was instrumental in ensuring the Guildford School of Acting fulfilled its aim to become a full Higher Education Institute. He encouraged the School to build upon its relationship with the University of Surrey. Through two previous Vice-Chancellors, he explored the opportunity of GSA building a new school and performance space on campus, and he was instrumental in establishing and implementing the merger discussions which eventually led to the GSA becoming part of the university.”
Herman was in good company accepting his honorary degree from the university, with Jamie Shea, Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges at NATO, and Professor Brian Allison, Non-Executive Director of the Goodwood Estate Company, also honoured.