Theatrical impresario Sir Cameron Mackintosh has been awarded Freedom of the City of London.
The producer received the Freedom of the City of London at Guildhall today, 1 June 2023, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to musical theatre.
He was nominatedby Sir William Russell, who served as Lord Mayor of the City of London from 2019 to 2021, and former City of London Corporation Chief Commoner, John Bennett MBE.
Over the last 50 years, Mackintosh has produced many of the world’s most successful musicals, including the world’s longest-running musical – Les Misérables, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, Mary Poppins, Miss Saigon, and Cats.
Cameron Mackintosh also owns Delfont Mackintosh Theatres, the theatre group comprising of 8 West End venues including the Gielgud, Wyndham’s, Prince of Wales, Prince Edward, Victoria Palace, Noel Coward, Novello and Sondheim Theatre.
He was knighted in the 1996 New Year’s Honours for his services to British theatre and is the first British producer to be elected to Broadway’s Theater Hall of Fame.
As well as the most successful theatre producer, he is also one of the richest, ranking 143rd on this year’s Sunday Times Rich List (West End Theatre Rich List 2023).
Sir Cameron Mackintosh said in a statement: “I am delighted to receive the Freedom of the City, which I shall treasure, along with my much-used Freedom Pass! Grateful thanks to my nominators and to the millions of Londoners and visitors who have continued to come to see all my shows over the last 56 years. Appropriately, it was being taken on my eighth birthday to see the musical ‘Salad Days’, featuring a magic piano called Minnie that set everyone dancing in a London park, which set me on my career as a producer and, as the song says, “I’ve never looked back!” Not long ago, I was Stephen Sondheim’s guest when he was honoured with the Freedom of the City, so I’m delighted that my next show opening in London is a celebration of the great man’s song writing genius in one great big Broadway show, ‘Old Friends’.”
Sir William Russell said: “For those of us who enjoy live performance and have spent many happy evenings in the Stalls or Dress Circle, enchanted by stunning sets, engaging storylines, and beautiful music, Cameron’s name is synonymous with excellence. There are few people in musical theatre to touch him, and I am delighted that he has today joined his dear friend, the legendary and much missed Stephen Sondheim, in having his own immense talents recognised by the City.”
John Bennett said: “It was a particular privilege and joy to welcome Sir Cameron to Guildhall today and watch him being admitted into the Freedom. I remember seeing Les Misérables when it was first performed in London at the Barbican Theatre and again, on its 25th anniversary there. A vigorously enthusiastic supporter of the arts and a titan of musical theatre, having produced some of our most popular shows, he is entirely deserving of this City of London award.”
Awarding the Freedom of the City of London goes back to 1237.