Hamilton star Giles Terera says he has “a sense of pride” in his MBE because it also honours his family and the people who have helped him.
The actor and singer is best known for his award-winning turn as Aaron Burr in the West End production of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit musical.
Terera, 44, was made an MBE for services to theatre, with his twin sister Nikki close by, by the Princess Royal at a scaled down investiture ceremony at London’s St James’s Palace on Thursday.
After the ceremony, he said he was thinking of his late parents – his mother Valda, from Barbados, and Zimbabwean father who is also called Giles – and the “sense of pride” they would have.
They came to Britain in the 1950s and 1960s and Terera grew up in Stevenage, Hertfordshire.
He said: “I have worked very hard and theatre has always been my passion. It has always been important to me to try and contribute to theatre as much as possible.
“I have been working for 20 years and in the last 10 years it has been as important to me to encourage younger artists to try and give them a bit of the opportunity that I had.
“I did not come from a theatrical background and I had a lot of people that helped me. It has become important to me to pay that back a little bit.”
Terera has a lengthy list of theatre credits, but it was his performance as US vice-president Burr in Hamilton that won him the 2018 Olivier award for best actor in a musical.
His next project was meant to have been the National Theatre production of Death of England: Delroy, but he had to pull out after undergoing emergency surgery in October for an issue that was not Covid-related.
Terera said he has now recovered and has since starred in the same role in a film version of the play.
The one-person play about a black working-class man searching for truth and confronting his relationship with Britain kicked off a season of in-the-round performances in a remodelled and socially-distanced Olivier theatre.