Actress Helena Bonham Carter and Roundhouse director receive honours from Queen

The artistic director of the Roundhouse has received an OBE for services to drama – and warned that society risks demonising young people involved in the summer’s riots.

Marcus Davey was named in the New Year’s Honours list after overseeing the successful relaunch of the iconic Chalk Farm venue, where he has instigated a large outreach programme to involve disadvantaged youngsters in the arts.

But he has warned that many teenagers feel disenfranchised, and that handing down long prison sentences to those caught up in the August violence risks fuelling these divisions.

The 44-year-old, who saw youngsters armed with bricks smash shops in Chalk Farm from the Roundhouse’s window during the riots, said: “Locking young people up doesn’t solve anything, but makes things worse in the long run.

“Rioting is appalling and I do not condone violence. But you need a proportionate response. That is the mark of a civilised society.”


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The father-of-two, who lives in Alexandra Park, said that drama and performance provides young people with a creative outlet through which they can learn responsibility.

He said: “A lot of these young people who come here and are disadvantaged in society have had so much responsibility taken away from them they are institutionalised in a way.

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“When you make a creative decision you are taking responsibility for something and that feels great.”

Other north London figures from the world of the arts named in the New Year’s Honours list include poet Dannie Abse and Hampstead resident Helena Bonham Carter, who were both made CBEs.

Dr Abse, of Hertford Road, Golders Green, who received his CBE for services to poetry and literature, said: “I am pleased because poetry is being recognised.”

But talking for his brother Leo Abse, a Welsh politician and gay rights campaigner who died in 2008, he added: “I keep thinking of my brother Leo who deserved a great deal of recognition and got very little.

“He did a great deal for the community and people generally. I wish he had some of the compliments that have come my way.”

Oscar nominated actress Helena Bonham Carter, who lives in Steeles Village, accepted her CBE in honour of her late father, Raymond, who spent the last years of his life severely disabled when an operation to remove a tumour went wrong.

She said: “I am thrilled though not sure that I deserve it. I always thought my father deserved a medal for facing 25 years of chronic disability with quiet daily heroism, so I am delighted to accept such a wonderful honour in his memory.”

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