JOHN Laidlaw, executive director of Live & Local, has been awarded an MBE in The Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to the arts.
The Live & Local Rural & Community Touring Scheme, launched in 1992, supports voluntary organisations to bring professional live theatre, music, dance and more to village halls, churches and schools. The national scheme developed out of a Warwickshire scheme started five years earlier.
John, who live sin Warwick, said: “Initially I was flabbergasted and then honoured and then when I found out how it had happened, hugely grateful to all the people who had supported the process.
“It’s great to be recognised personally for something that you’ve put most of your working life into – but I also think it is a great accolade for the rural touring sector. Without the dedication of many other people over many years getting the sector to the scale and respect it now has, the MBE wouldn’t have been possible.”
John is also a board member of the National Rural Touring Forum – serving as chair for a decade until 2017 –
which represents the Live & Local schemes across the UK.
John’s love of student theatre led him to start work as a stage manager, before he joined Warwick Arts Centre ending up as acting chief electrician. From 1985 to 1991, he was the production manager for the Tic Toc Theatre Company in Coventry.
In 1992, he was contracted to run the Live & Local touring scheme in Warwickshire where he was to become executive director.