Actors Michael Sheen (pictured), Liz Smith and Earl Cameron are amongst the names on the 2009 new year\'s honours list, which was announced earlier this week. Director Katie Mitchell is also recognised, receiving an OBE for services to drama.

Sheen, whose credits include films The Queen and the forthcoming Frost/Nixon, adapted from the Donmar Warehouse production in which he also starred, is appointed an OBE. Prior to forging a successful television and film career, Sheen\'s stage credits included the National Theatre revival of Look Back in Anger, as well as The Homecoming, The Ends of the Earth, Henry V, Peer Gynt and, in the West End and on Broadway, playing Mozart in Peter Hall\'s production of Amadeus.

Katie Mitchell has enjoyed a prolific and often controversial directing career, often dividing critics with her radical interpretations of classic texts. She is an associate director at the National Theatre, where credits include Dream Play, The Seagull, Attempts on Her Life and The Waves.

Actress Liz Smith, best known for her role as Nana in BBC comedy The Royle Family, is awarded an MBE for services to drama. Smith, who only became a professional actress in her 50s, is primarily known for her television and film work, including TV comedies The Vicar of Dibley and 2point4 Children, however she also has various stage credits to her name, including When We Are Married at the National and Once a Catholic at the Wyndham\'s.

Elsewhere, 91-year-old Earl Cameron, one of the first black actors to become established on British television after major appearances in series including Doctor Who and The Andromeda Breakthrough, is appointed a CBE, while Maurice Marshall, chief electrician at Exeter\'s Northcott Theatre, receives an OBE.


The Stage newspaper has published its annual list of the 100 most influential people working in UK theatre. Leading the list for the fifth time since it was launched in 1997 and the second year in succession is producer Cameron Mackintosh, pushing his regular collaborator Andrew Lloyd Webber, who has topped the list six times previously, into second.

Actor David Tennant, who this year starred in the RSC\'s Hamlet, enters the top 20, becoming only the fifth actor ever to do so in the list\'s history, following Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Nigel Havers and Simon Russell Beale. Other new entries to the top 20 include Judy Craymer, producer of Abba musical Mamma Mia! on stage and screen, and Manchester International Festival director Alex Poots.

Other notable names making the top spots include Donmar artistic director Michael Grandage, who is the highest riser, up from 13 to equal third place with the National Theatre\'s Nicholas Hytner. Prolific director Rupert Goold, who helms Mackintosh\'s major West End revival of Oliver! which opens later this month, also makes the list.

The Stage’s top 20 list entrants are as follows:

1. Cameron Mackintosh - producer
2. Andrew Lloyd Webber - composer/producer
3. Joint = Michael Grandage (Donmar Warehouse) and Nicholas Hytner (NT)
5. Howard Panter/Rosemary Squire - Ambassador Theatre Group
6. Bill Kenwright - producer
7. Nica Burns/Max Weitzenhoffer - Nimax
8. Michael Boyd – Royal Shakespeare Company
9. Nick Thomas/Jon Conway - Qdos Entertainment
10. Judy Craymer - producer
11. Kevin Spacey/Sally Greene – Old Vic
12. Sonia Friedman - producer
13. Dominic Cooke - Royal Court
14. Rupert Goold - director
15. Bill Taylor - Stage Entertainment
16. Jonathan Church - Chichester Festival Theatre
17. David Ian - producer
18. David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers - producers
19. Alex Poots - Manchester International Festival
20. David Tennant - actor

- By Theo Bosanquet