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Stewart & Hytner Knighted in New Year's Honours

By • West End
Several high profile names from the world of theatre feature in this year's New Year's Honours, including actor Patrick Stewart and director Nicholas Hytner, who both receive knighthoods. Other names mentioned in the list, which was announced today (31 December 2009) include Mamma Mia! director Phyllida Lloyd and actress Margeret Tyzack (already an OBE), who are both appointed CBEs.

OBEs go to David Nixon, artistic director of Northern Ballet Theatre, Jeremy James Taylor, who founded the National Youth Music Theatre in 1976, Lowry chief executive Julia Fawcett and Manchester Royal Exchange artistic director Braham Murray.

Patrick Stewart, recently seen on stage alongside fellow knight Ian McKellen in Waiting for Godot, said today: "This is an honour that embraces those actors, directors and creative teams who have in these recent years helped fill my life with inspiration, companionship and sheer fun."

Though he’s best known internationally for his sci-fi screen roles in the likes of Star Trek and X Men, Stewart is a classically trained actor and an honorary associate artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company. His recent stage work includes his acclaimed and Olivier Award-winning turn in Rupert Goold's 2007 production of Macbeth, and playing Claudius opposite David Tennant's Hamlet for the RSC last year, for which he also picked up an Olivier Award (and is in the running for this year's Whatsonstage.com Awards).

Nicholas Hytner, who has been artistic director of the National Theatre since April 2003, said he was "delighted and flattered" to receive a knighthood. His many stage credits include the premiere productions of Alan Bennett's The History Boys and The Habit of Art, while on film he has helmed The Madness of King George and the screen adaptation of The History Boys.

Phyllida Lloyd, who is appointed a CBE, rose to prominence directing at venues including the Royal Court and National Theatre but found international success with her stage and screen versions of Abba musical Mamma Mia!. Reacting to the news, she said: "It's a complete surprise. I feel humbled and it's very sobering. One gets to be the captain of the ship but ultimately you would not get anywhere without the cast and crew. I hope the Queen is a fan of Mamma Mia!"


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