2013 Honorary Doctorate
George Derbyshire was the first Deputy Director of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts from August 1989 to February 1997, and worked with the then Director, Dr John Hosier, and his successor, Professor Lo King-man. Before taking up appointment as Deputy Director of the Academy, Mr Derbyshire had worked with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) from 1965 to 1978, and was the Director of Administration in Guildhall School of Music and Drama, a position which he held for 11 years from 1978 to 1989. Mr Derbyshire graduated with a Bachelor Degree of Laws (London) from the London School of Economics in 1961.
During his eight years of dedicated service with the Academy until his retirement in 1997, Mr Derbyshire provided all aspects of support and assistance to the then Director, Dr John Hosier, in laying a strong and solid foundation of the Academy in its early development. He assisted Dr Hosier in guiding the Academy and leading it to great success in different areas of development within such a short period of time, including the establishment of the Society of the Academy for Performing Arts (SAPA) in 1989, the staging of the Academy’s first musical production Grease in 1989, the introduction of new academic programme structure of 2-year Diploma programme and 2-year Advanced Diploma programme in 1990/1991, and the grant of degree-awarding status to the Academy by the then Hong Kong Council for Academic Accreditation in 1991/1992.
Following the retirement of Dr Hosier in 1993, Mr Derbyshire continued to stay and facilitated the new Director Mr Lo King-man settling in his role smoothly and quickly. Mr Derbyshire assisted Mr Lo in successfully guiding the Academy to its next phase of development, during which the Academy received the then Hong Kong Council for Accreditation Institutional Review Report which was complimentary about the progress of the Academy had made during its first ten years and commended it as being an excellent conservatoire type of institution, producing impressive and well-trained young people for professional careers in the performing and related technical arts. Shortly before his retirement from service with the Academy in 1997, Mr Derbyshire successfully assisted the Director to establish a new School of Film and Television on 1 September 1996, offering its own Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) Degree programme.
During his tenure at the Academy, Mr Derbyshire led the staff, inspired the students and promoted the Academy with great personal charm and positive attitude. He had been the motivating and acentric force for many of the Academy staff who worked with him. Staff enjoyed working with Mr Derbyshire who had created and promoted a working environment that was filled with strong team spirit and caring atmosphere. He had gained the respect of his colleagues and the admiration of the students.
On returning to the UK following his retirement in 1997, Mr Derbyshire undertook consultancy assignments from time to time in the fields of management and performing arts and has been actively committed in public service in his home town of Watford, 20 miles north-west of London. He was first elected in June 2004 as Councillor of Watford Borough Council and is now serving his third term of elected office. He is Chair of the Chief Officer Pay Panel, Vice Chair of the Development Control Committee and a member of the Budget Panel, Licensing Committee and Shared Services Committee of the Council. He is currently Vice Chairman of the Borough Council and will be Chairman next year.
Together with Dr Biddy Baxter (former editor of the famous BBC programme Blue Peter) and wife of former Academy Director Dr John Hosier, Mr Derbyshire is a trustee of the John Hosier Music Trust which makes an annual scholarship award to an outstanding and needy postgraduate student from one of the UK conservatoires or the Academy. The 2012/2013 scholar is an HKAPA postgraduate vocal (mezzo soprano) student.