Sheila Hancock whose recent stage credits include most Mother Superior in the stage-to-screen musical Sister Act at the London Palladium and David Suchet who was most recently seen in the West End revival of All My Sons have both been recognised with CBEs in the New Years Honours.

Suchet is best known to TV fans for his portrayal of Agatha Christie's Poirot. He starred opposite Richard Dreyfuss in the world premiere of Joe Sutton's Complicit at the Old Vic in 2009, and was seen in the West End in 2007 in The Last Confession, which transferred to the Theatre Royal Haymarket from Chichester Festival. His other major West End credits include Amadeus (which also transferred to Broadway), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Oleanna and Man and Boy.

Sheila Hancock, who joined the judging panel of Andrew Lloyd Webber's search for a Dorothy Over the Rainbow has stage credits for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National and in the West End with, most notably, Sweeney Todd and Annie. On screen, her credits have included Three Men and a Little Lady, Love and Death on Long Island, Bedtime, The Russian Bride, Carry On Cleo, The Wildcats of St Trinian's and EastEnders. As well as her appearance in Sister Act, she has recently been seen on the London stage in The Arab-Israeli Cookbook and Peter Pan opposite her actor-husband, the late John Thaw.

Also in the new year's honours list, which was announced today (31 December 2010), Harriet Walter has been made a Dame. Walter's extensive career includes numerous credits with the Royal Shakespeare Company where she was made an associate artist in 1987. Her performance as Queen Elizabeth in Mary Stuart at the Donmar Warehouse, which played London in 2005 and transferred to Broadway last year, earned her the Evening Standard Award for Best Actress and a Tony nomination.

Walter's other recent stage appearances include Antony and Cleopatra opposite Patrick Stewart for the RSC and Women Beware Women at the National Theatre. Her screen credits include the 2002 film Villa des Roses and Stephen Fry's 2003 directorial debut, Bright Young Things.

As well as the actors, two high profile creatives have been recognised for their contributions to the arts with National Theatre associate director Howard Davies and choreographer and artistic director of Random Dance Wayne McGregor both receiving CBEs.

Davies' recent stage credits include the National Theatre's productions of The White Guard and Blood and Gifts which both played the NT Lyttelton last year and All My Sons starring David Suchet and Zoe Wanamaker at the Apollo for which he won the Olivier Award for Best Director. Davies' was also awarded the Olivier two years previous for his direction of The Iceman Cometh starring Kevin Spacey at the Old Vic.

Wayne McGregor is the artistic director of Random Dance, the resident company at Sadler's Wells. He was also appointed resident choreographer of the Royal Ballet in 2006 and was made the government's first Youth Dance Champion in 2008. He has created new work for Paris Opera Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, New York City Ballet, Australian Ballet and English National Ballet and will create a new work for the Bolshoi Ballet which will premiere in summer 2011.

In the world of musical theatre, composer Howard Goodall who wrote the score for Chichester transfer Love Story which is currently playing at the Duchess Theatre is recognised with a CBE, whilst Herbert Kretzmer who wrote the English lyrics for Les Miserables, receives an OBE.

Elsewhere in the performing arts, Vernon Ellis who has been chairman of English National Opera since 2005 and is chair of the British Council, the UK's international cultural relations body, is made a Knight for services to music.


Voting for the 2011 Whatsonstage.com Awards is currently open with David Suchet nominated for Best Actor in All My Sons at the Apollo. The play itself is also nomniated for Best Revival with Howard Davies nominated for his direction of the show and The White Guard and Blood and Gifts at the National. To cast your vote for the 2011 Awards click on the link below.

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