John Tiffany opened Harry Potter And The Cursed Child in London in July 2016, having worked alongside the book’s original author JK Rowling, and the production is due to open on Broadway next month.
After receiving his medal for services to drama at Buckingham Palace yesterday, Marsden-born Mr Tiffany, 47, said: “It’s just wonderful. Coming from a working class family in Huddersfield, this was never on the cards. For the community there, everyone who has supported me, this is for them.
“At the end of the day, we are all made of our teachers. Someone who encourages us. I kind of feel like I am taking this for them.”
He may have gone on to become a decorated theatre director, with awards including a Tony and an Olivier on his list of achievements to date, but his career journey began with an opportunistic leap.
Mr Tiffany was six months into a biology course at Glasgow University in 1990 when he switched to drama and classics after being inspired by the City of Culture festival being held there.
“I started to see all this work by directors like Peter Brook and I instantly thought I just want to do this. So I changed course,” he said.
“It was terrifying because I only thought you could do drama and music as a hobby where I came from. My dad played in a brass band and my mum was a chorus girl, but the idea of doing that as a job was just terrifying. I just never thought I could.”
Mr Tiffany said JK Rowling was delighted by his OBE.
“She’s a good pal and she was over the moon,” he said, adding: “I never ever thought I was in the running for something like this, whereas at least with an Olivier or a Tony there is the possibility.”
Mr Tiffany said he still does not know who nominated him for the title. “I’ve asked all the people I thought it could be and they have said it wasn’t them. So I have absolutely no idea.”