Theatre News

Women reign as Lansbury, Keith and Lynne are granted New Year's honours

In the first ever honours list to feature more women than men, several theatre names feature prominently

Angela Lansbury in Blithe Spirit on Broadway
Angela Lansbury in Blithe Spirit on Broadway

Several theatre luminaries are among the 2014 New Year's Honours list, which was announced today (30 December 2013).

Angela Lansbury, who returns to the London stage next year in Blithe Spirit, is made a Dame, alongside fellow acting veteran Penelope Keith.

Lansbury, who was born in east London and subsequently made her career in the States, was accorded the honour for "services to drama and to charitable work and philanthropy".

Veteran dancer and choreographer Gillian Lynne is also made a Dame for services to dance and musical theatre.

Her long-time collaborator Andrew Lloyd Webber said: "I am thrilled that the grand lady of British musical theatre has got the recognition she deserves. Gillie was already a legend when I was at school! Without Gillie my Cats would never have seen the stage."

Producer Michael Codron, who staged early works by Harold Pinter and Tom Stoppard among others, is given a knighthood, while former Royal Court artistic director Dominic Cooke is made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE).

Actor Michael Crawford is elevated from OBE to CBE for charitable and philanthropic services, and veteran entertainer Nicholas Parsons is also made an OBE for services to charity.

Acclaimed Cuban dancer Carlos Acosta, a regular on the London stage, is made a CBE for services to ballet.

Among the 611 women on this year's list, in which women outnumber men for the first time, is actress Lynda Bellingham, made an OBE for her charity work just months after being diagnosed with cancer.

Popular comedian, writer and presenter Sandi Toksvig is accorded the same honour for services to broadcasting, and singer Katherine Jenkins receives an OBE for services to music and charity.

Meanwhile producer Nick Allott, a long-time collaborator of Cameron Mackintosh's, is made an OBE, and Theatre By the Lake's executive director Patric Gilchrist receives an MBE.

And theatrical restaurateurs Chris Corbin and Jeremy King, whose portfolio includes Brasserie Zedel, home of Crazy Coqs cabaret club, are made OBEs; as are arts PRs Erica Bolton and Jane Quinn.