New Theatre Dames: Penelope Keith, Angela Lansbury join New Year Honours 2014

The UK’s New Year Honours list has been announced and a number of high-profile West End, theatre and arts people have been honoured.

Highlights of this year’s list include West End producer Michael Codron, actresses Penelope Keith and Angela Lansbury, The Phantom of the Opera choreographer Gillian Lynne, former artistic director of the Royal Court Dominic Cooke and Cameron Mackintosh’s right-hand man Nick Allott.

Penelope Keith in Blithe Spirit at the Savoy Theatre
Penelope Keith in Blithe Spirit at the Savoy Theatre
Angela Lansbury in Blithe Spirit on Broadway
Angela Lansbury in Blithe Spirit on Broadway

Also honoured are ballet dancer Carlos Acosta, singer Katherine Jenkins, comedian, presenter and recent West End playwright Sandi Toksvig, ENO chief executive Loretta Tomasi and conductors Simon Rattle and  Peter Maxwell Davies.

The Madame Arcati Effect

It seems that the Madame Arcati effect continues to reap rewards for all who play her (Alison Steadman – your time will come!). New Dames Penelope Keith and Angela Lansbury have both tackled the Grande Dame of Noel Coward comedies, Keith in 2004 at the Savoy Theatre and Lansbury in 2009 on Broadway and next year in London (Dame Angela Lansbury will star in Michael Blakemore’s revival of Noel Coward’s comedy Blithe Spirit at the Gielgud Theatre, from 1 March 2014).

Gillian Lynne accepting her 2013 Olivier Award
Gillian Lynne accepting her 2013 Olivier Award
Michael Codron portrait by Rex Coleman, National Portrait Gallery
Michael Codron portrait by Rex Coleman, National Portrait Gallery

Gillian Lynne follows her Special Award win at this year’s Olivier Awards with a DBE Dame honour. The former dancer turned choreographer and director has had an enormous impact on dance in the West End, her most famous credits being Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats and The Phantom of the Opera.

Nicholas Allott, 59, is one of the most significant forces in WORLD theatre but is often eclipsed by his boss and business partner Cameron Mackintosh. Allott runs the Delfont Mackintosh theatres in the West End, including the Noel Coward, Prince Edward and Gielgud Theatres. More significantly he runs Mackintosh’s production division, responsible for hundreds of international productions over the last 30-odd years including current West End hits The Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables, and the forthcoming revival of Miss Saigon at the Prince Edward Theatre.

Nick Allott, managing director of Cameron Mackintosh's production and theatre business
Nick Allott, managing director of Cameron Mackintosh’s production and theatre business
Theatre director Dominic Cooke
Theatre director Dominic Cooke

The Garrick Club will breathe a sigh of relief this week as Michael Codron is finally honoured with the “big one”. His contribution to London Theatre is simply extraordinary with hundreds of successful productions under his belt, from risking his shirt on unknown playwright Harold Pinter and The Birthday Party in 1958 to Alan Ayckbourn’s The Norman Conquests on Broadway in 1973 and a long association with Michael Frayn including acclaimed productions of Noises Off and Democracy.

Dominic Cooke is also honoured this year. The former artistic director of the Royal Court Theatre from 2007 to 2013 had a great run at the theatre, responsible for hits including Jerusalem and Clybourne Park.


UK Government website – New Years Honours 2014

Desert Island Discs: Michael Codron

Mark Lawson interview with Michael Codron


Book tickets to Blithe Spirit starring Dame Angela Lansbury at the Gielgud Theatre



Michael Victor Codron, CBE. For services to the Theatre. (London)

Sir Simon Denis Rattle, CBE.

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, CBE. Composer and conductor. For services to Music. (London)


Mrs Penelope (Penelope Anne Constance Timson) Keith, CBE DL. For services to the Arts and to Charity. (Godalming, Surrey)
Miss Gillian Barbara Lynne, CBE. Choreographer. For services to Dance and Musical Theatre. (London)

Victoria Harriet Lucy Bridgeman. Viscountess. Founder, Bridgeman Arts Library and the Artists’ Collecting Society. For services to Art. (London)
Dominic Cooke. Theatre director. For services to Drama. (London)
John Michael Harold Copley. Opera director. For services to Opera. (London)
Stephen Hough. Pianist. For services to Music. (London)
Roger George Parry. For services to Media and the Arts particularly the Globe Theatre, London. (London)
Carlos Yunior Acosta Quesada. Ballet Dancer. For services to Ballet. (London)

Nicholas Allott. For services to Theatre and Charity. (London)
Michael John Bonehill. For charitable services, particularly to the National Youth Theatre. (Theydon Bois, Essex)
Dr Fiona Kennedy Clark, DL. For services to Music and for charitable services in Scotland. (Aberdeenshire)
Paul Anthony Griffiths. For services to Music Literature and Composition. (Manobier, Pembrokeshire)
Ms Erica Jane Hewison. Founding Partner, Bolton and Quinn. For services to the Arts. (London)
Lady Patricia Marina Hobson, MBE. For services to Ballet and Philanthropy. (London)
Anthony Horowitz. Author and Screenwriter. For services to Literature. (London)
Ms Gillian Leah Humphreys. Founder and Artistic director, The Concordia Foundation. For services to Music. (London)
Miss Katherine Jenkins. Singer. For services to Music and for charitable services. (London)
Jeremy King. Restaurateur. For services to the Hospitality Industry and voluntary service to the Arts. (London)
Ms Jane Elizabeth Quinn. Founding Partner, Bolton and Quinn. For services to the Arts. (London)
Syon Ivan Sadka. Chair, Derek Williams Trust. For services to the National Museum of Wales and to the Arts in Wales. (Sully, Vale of Glamorgan)
Ms Christina Anne Smith. For philanthropic services to Conservation and the Arts. (London)
David Charles Chester Sulkin. For services to the Arts, Education and Charity. (London)
Ms Sandra Birgitte Toksvig. Comedienne, Presenter and Author. For services to Broadcasting. (London)
Ms Loretta Tomasi. Chief executive, English National Opera. For services to Opera. (London)
Ms Vanessa Victoria Whitburn. Formerly Editor, The Archers. For services to Radio Drama. (Warwickshire)

Mrs Anne Olivier Bell. For services to Literature and the Arts. (Lewes, East Sussex)
Ms Marie de Assis Carreiro. Artistic director, Royal Ballet of Flanders. For services to Dance. (Belgium)
Anthony James Coffey. Teacher and director of Learning for Performing Arts and Multi-Media. Landau Forte College, Derbyshire. For services to Education. (Oakwood, Derbyshire)
Anthony John William Douglas. Music Teacher, Morley College, London. For services to Further Education. (London)
Miss Joyce Ellis. Founder and Musical director, Kinder Children’s Choirs of the High Peak. For services to Music and Young People in Derbyshire. (High Peak, Derbyshire)
Patric Alan Gilchrist. Executive director, Theatre by the Lake, Keswick. For services to the Arts. (Cockermouth, Cumbria)
Mrs Angela Margaret Kay. Artistic director, Music for Everyone. For services to Music in Nottinghamshire. (Stapleford Woods, Lincolnshire)
David John Kemp. Music Teacher and assistant Headteacher, Queen Elizabeth Humanities College, Herefordshire. For services to Education. (Bromyard, Herefordshire)
Mrs Jean Elizabeth Kershaw. Formerly Deputy director, Helmsley Arts Centre. For services to Art. (York, North Yorkshire)
Mrs Gladys Alanna Knight. Writer. For services to Literature. (Edinburgh)
William John Lonsdale. Teacher of the Performing Arts, Sandbach School, Cheshire. For services to Education. (Sandbach, Cheshire)
Ms Olivia Francoise Danielle (Liv) Lorent. Founder and Artistic director, balletLorent. For services to Dance. (Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear)
Ms Eleanor Anne (Annie) Mawson. Founder, Sunbeams Music Trust. For services to Music Therapy in Cumbria. (Penrith, Cumbria)
Miss Margaret Murray. Music Teacher. For services to Music. (London)
Dr Marios Papadopoulos. Founder and Music director, Oxford Philomusica. For services to Music in Oxford. (London)
Mrs Ruth Alexandra Elizabeth (Ruth Jones) Peet. Writer and Actress. For services to Entertainment. (Cardiff)
Ms Carol Pemberton. Music director and Singer, Black Voices. For services to Music. (Birmingham, West Midlands)
Mrs Kathleen Wendy Herald Peyton. Children’s Author. For services to Children’s Literature. (London)
Miss Jane Evelyn Pritchard. Curator of Dance, Theatre and Performance Collections, Victoria and Albert Museum. For services to the Arts. (London)
John George Ruddick. Musical director, Midland Youth Jazz Orchestra. For services to Jazz. (Solihull, West Midlands)
Mrs Bisakha Sarker. For services to South Asian Dance in Merseyside. (Liverpool, Merseyside)
Neil Shawcross. Artist. For services to Arts in Northern Ireland. (Hillsborough, Down)
Peter Norman Sparling. For services to the Arts, Education and to the community in West Yorkshire. (Collingham, West Yorkshire)
Peter Tong. For services to Broadcasting and Music. (London)
William Leslie Weller. For services to Chichester Cathedral and to the Arts in West Sussex. (Horsham, West Sussex)

Mrs Jean Mary Andrews. For charitable services to Music in Swansea. (Swansea)
Ronald William Barlow. For services to the Guide Bridge Drama Project. (Ashton-Under-Lyne, Greater Manchester)
Mrs Penelope Audrey Brookman. Volunteer Dance and Drama Teacher, Kintbury St. Mary’s Church of England Primary School, Berkshire. For services to Education. (Hungerford, Berkshire)
Alan Castle. Founder, Tenterden Folk Festival. For services to Music and Heritage. (Ashford, Kent)
Donald Keith Coleman. For services to Music and the community in Rivenhall and Silver End (Witham, Essex)
Mrs Irene Margaret Cumming. President, Ballymena Festival of Music, Speech and Dance. For services to the community in Ballymena, Northern Ireland. (Ballymena, Antrim)
Mrs June Davenhill. Musical director, Pelsall Ladies Choir. For services to Music and the community. (Walsall, West Midlands)
Mrs Jean Depledge. For services to Music and to charity in Dukinfield, Cheshire. (Dukinfield, Greater Manchester)
Colin Brian Edgar. Musical director, Suffolk Constabulary Male Choir. For services to Policing and the community. (Stowmarket, Suffolk)
John George Gibson. For services to Music through the Salvation Army in Norwich, Norfolk. (Norwich, Norfolk)
Alistair Cameron Hardie. For services to Music and to the community in Morayshire. (Rafford, Moray)
Mrs Edna Florence Howard. Chair, Newcastle Glee Musical Society. For services to Musical Theatre and the community in Newcastle, Co Down. (Newcastle, Down)
John David Desmond Humphreys. For services to Youth Music and to the community in Rhayader, Powys. (Rhayader, Powys)
Mrs Margaret Jaffe. Founder, Northern Dance Centre. For services to Dance. (Skipton, North Yorkshire)
Mrs Judith Elizabeth Land. Musical director, Alcester Male Voice Choir. For services to Music and to the community in Alcester, Warwickshire. (Redditch, Worcestershire)
Steven Miles Large. For services to Brass Band Music. (Andover, Hampshire)
Frederick William Peacock. For services to Church Music in Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne. (Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear)
Stuart Russell. For voluntary service to the Arts in Fife. (Glenrothes, Fife)
Gordon Speers. Musical director, Portadown Male Voice Choir. For services to Music in Northern Ireland. (Portadown, Armagh)
Arthur Henry Tipper. For services to Music in Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire. (Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire)
Mrs Marcia Watts. For charitable services to the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and for voluntary service to Danybryn Cheshire Home, Radyr, Cardiff. (Cardiff)
Ian Anthony Yeoman. Band director, Royal British Legion Band and Corps of Drums, Romford. For services to Music. (London)



Mrs Angela Brigid Lansbury Shaw, CBE. Actress. For services to drama and to charitable work and philanthropy.

Mrs Gillian (Leila) Maw Straus. Chairman, American Associates of the National Theatre. For services to philanthropy and the Arts.
Mrs Doreen Alicia Tabor. Trustee, the Tabor Foundation. For services to charity, cultural understanding and the Arts.


Robert Au Nama. For services to the Arts.



Sir Peter Maxwell Davies CBE
Sir Peter is one of the most influential contemporary British composers, whose works include operas, ballet scores, 10 symphonies, 15 concertos and much else besides. Master of the Queen’s Music for nearly a decade, he has sought to raise the profile of music in Great Britain as well as composing many works for Royal occasions. He has been an especial champion for music education and music in Scotland, founding Orkney’s annual arts festival and serving as Associate Composer and Conductor to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Composer/Conductor with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, and Composer Laureate of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

Penelope Keith CBE DL (Penelope Timson)
Penelope Timson, better known as Penelope Keith, is a much loved actor who has devoted considerable amounts of time to voluntary work for a range of charities. She played a significant role in helping to establish and then develop the National Memorial Arboretum. She has given her time generously as Pro-Chancellor of Surrey University. She is President of KeepOut, a crime diversion scheme which advocates alternatives to custody, and of the Actors’ Benevolent Fund. She has also been involved with many smaller charities on a sustained and long-term basis.

Gillian Lynne CBE
Gillian Lynne is the leading choreographer of her generation. A seminal influence on British dance, she choreographed Cats and Phantom of the Opera and directed a good fifty other shows on the West End and Broadway. She was elected Vice-President of the Royal Academy of Dance in 2012. She also supports a variety of good causes, including the Lisa Ullman Travelling Scholarship, the Actors Centre, the Royal Brompton Hospital, the British School of Osteopathy and many dance and theatre-related charities.

Michael Codron CBE
Michael Codron is the leading producer of post-war British drama who has influenced global theatre-going for over half a century. In particular, he has fostered first-rate new writing in Britain (including by the then virtually unknown Harold Pinter, whose play The Birthday Party he premiered in 1958) and his name is synonymous with productions of quality, wit and intelligence. A former Director of the Hampstead Theatre and the National Theatre, and is an honorary Fellow of Worcester College, Oxford. He is Honorary Vice President of the Society of London Theatre.

Actress. For services to drama and to charitable work and philanthropy. Angela Lansbury Shaw has worked tirelessly carrying out extensive and wide-ranging charitable, voluntary and philanthropic work over many years to support organisations helping to improve the lives of many people. With selfless determination and generosity of spirit she has willingly lent her prominence and popularity, raising large sums of money for numerous charities including scholarships for young students and support for medical research. An accomplished actress, Angela Lansbury is well-known for her long and successful acting career and many achievements in the entertainment industry where she has repeatedly given back and helped others, including working with younger people to inspire the next generation of actors.

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📷 Main photo: The UK's New Year Honours list has been announced and a number of high-profile West End, theatre and arts people have been honoured.

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