Theatre veteran awarded British Empire Medal

Enid Pennington (centre) collection her British Empire Medal
Enid Pennington (centre) collection her British Empire Medal

A long-serving veteran of St Helens Theatre Royal has been awarded a British Empire Medal for her services to Performing Arts in the North West.

Enid Pennington, from Eccleston Park, was named in the New Year’s Honours List and was awarded her medal at a special ceremony held at Liverpool’s prestigious Athenaeum Club, for her commitment to the Theatre Royal.

Enid with her medal

Enid with her medal

The 92-year-old was joined by friends and family, as well as the St Helens mayor and theatre manager Chantelle Nolan as she was presented the esteemed award by Dame Lorna Muirhead Merseyside Lieutenant.

An avid theatre enthusiast, she has acted in, produced and directed countless plays and musicals at the Theatre Royal spanning almost 70 years and is an active member of many of the theatre’s organisations.

Enid joined the Unnamed Players in the 1950s for which she was appointed director in 1986 and played her first principal role with St Helens Amateur Operatic society in 1948 in the production The Student Prince and went on to play The Merry Widow, South Pacific, Carousel and Maid of the Mountains to name a few.

When the Corporation Street venue closed its doors in 1984 Enid was a founding member of the Friends of the Theatre Royal, a group which worked tirelessly to raise funds to re-open the theatre – and she is currently the organisation’s chairwoman.

Continued fundraising events support the Theatre Royal including the ongoing roof appeal and building maintenance to the venue, as well as many other local charitable organisations including Age UK and Friends of Victoria Park.

She is also a member of the Theatre Royal Trust Board – the organisation who own the theatre building.

She continues to work with new generations of St Helens amateur actors from all walks and stages of life, tutoring budding actors and actresses in all educational aspects of theatre and stage craft.

Enid said: “What a delightful honour it is to be acknowledged like this. It was wonderful to share it with my friends and family who travelled from far and wide for the occasion.

“The Theatre Royal has a special place in my heart, and I have the pleasure of working with a wonderful group of people. The Friends of The Theatre Royal who dedicate their time organising countless fundraising and charity events for the venue and the theatre manager Chantelle Nolan and Regal Entertainments, who have been incredible advocates of the theatre. I can’t imagine St Helens without the Theatre Royal, and will always continue to do all I can to help keep the arts alive in St Helens.”