Vanessa Redgrave

Theatre stars celebrated in new years honours list; Vanessa Redgrave to become a Dame

Actress Vanessa Redgrave, Sadler’s Wells artistic directorAlistair Spalding, theatre designerLez Brotherston, and National Theatre CEO Lisa Burger, all receive awards.

A number of stage and theatre practitioners, including actors and creatives, have been awarded honours in the Queen’s annual new year honours list.

The actressVanessa Redgrave (pictured), who was nominated for best supporting actress at the 2019 Olivier Awards for her performance in Matthew Lopez’s The Inheritance, has been made a Dame for her service to drama, entertainment and charity. Redgrave has enjoyed Olivier, Tony, Academy and Emmy awards success, and was the first actress to win all four Broadway and West End stage acting awards. In 1999 she was originally offered the title of Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire, but she declined it.

Actress Joanna Lumley, star of Absolutely Fabulous, is also to be made a Dame. Daniel Craig, stage and screen actor who recently retired from playing James Bond in the latest instalment of the film franchise, No Time To Die, will receive the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (CMG) for outstanding contribution to film.

A number of awards were also granted to theatre administrators and artistic directors, with Alistair Spalding, who is artistic director of Sadler’s Wells, awarded a knighthood for services to dance; John Gilhooly, the artistic director of classical music venue Wigmore Hall, is honoured with a CBE for services to music; Lisa Burger, National Theatre Executive Director and Joint Chief Executive, awarded a CBE for Services to the Arts; Anthony Keith Holdom, Manager of Misfits Theatre Company, has been awarded a BEM for services to adults with learning disabilities; Adrian Vinken, CEO of the Theatre Royal Plymouth, has also received a CBE for services to theatre; Pravesh Kuma, artistic director of Rifco Arts is awarded an MBE; and Alpesh Chauhan, Music Director of Birmingham Opera Company, has received an OBE for services to the Arts.

In terms of awards for theatre creatives, the theatre designer Lez Brotherston, who won both an Olivier and Tony Award for designing Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, has been awarded an OBE for services to Dance and Theatre. 

Also in the dance world, Emma Redding, Professor of Performance Science and Head of Dance Science at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance has been awarded an MBE for services to Dance; and Britain’s oldest ballet dancer and teacher, Barbara Peters, 83, has received a BEM for teaching dance.

TV stars and soap veterans June Brown, who plays Dot Cotton in BBC’s Eastenders, and William Roache, who has played Ken Barlow in Coronation Street since its first episode in 1960, both receive OBEs. Also in Corrie, actress Cherylee Houston will get an MBE for services to drama and to people with disabilities.

In other awards, musician and actress Pauline Black,  who won the 1991 TimeOut award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Billie Holiday in the play All or Nothing at All, will receive an OBE; Songwriter Bernie Taupin, who has collaborated with Sir Elton John over many decades, has been awarded a CBE; TV and film actor Nitin Ganatra, who starred in Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, will receive an OBE; Ashley Banjo, street dancer, choreographer, actor and leader of dance troupe Diversity, has been given an MBE; and Melanie Brown of the Spice Girls is to receive an MBE for her work with the domestic violence charity Women’s Aid.

The film director John Boorman, who directed Hollywood films including Excalibur, Point Blank and Deliverance, is also to be knighted.

Also in TV, Sally Debonnaire, veteran of ITV and their Director of Production, has received an OBE for services to Television and voluntary service to Skills through ScreenSkills.

Read the full list of honours.


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