Sonia Friedman, David Harewood, Stephen Graham and more recognised in New Year's Honours List
A variety of stage talents were recognised
The New Year Honours List recipients have been revealed.
Whittling the extensive list down to those relevant to the theatre world, a knighthood was given to astrophysicist and musician Brian May, member of the band Queen. May is one of the producers of jukebox musical We Will Rock You, opening next summer at the London Coliseum. Also knighted are Luke Rittner, chief executive of the Royal Academy of Dance, as well as artist, writer and broadcaster Grayson Perry.
CBEs were awarded to internationally successful theatre producer Sonia Friedman (Leopoldstadt, Jerusalem, Oklahoma!, Dreamgirls, The Book of Mormon, Funny Girl), Peter Kyle, formerly chair of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, as well as composer George Fenton – who has worked in theatre across his career and, in his first role, served as composer and musical director for Peter Gill's theatre production of Twelfth Night. Commissioner for Culture the Lord Mendoza was also made CBE, as was Claire Whitaker, who sits on the Culture Recovery Board.
Julian Bird, former chief executive of the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre was made OBE, as was philanthropist Sarah Dorfman, Tim Eyles, Chair of the Royal Society of Arts and Sky Arts director Philip Edgar-Jones.
Two actors recognised for their work were David Harewood (currently on stage in Best of Enemies in the West End) and Stephen Graham (whose credits include Roald Dahl's Matilda the Musical, Help and This Is England). Both are made OBEs.
MBEs were awarded to comedian and writer Frank Skinner (under his real name Christopher Collins), actor and vocalist Janet Kay and playwright and screenwriter Rachel De-Lahay (Circles, My White Best Friend and Other Letters Left Unsaid, The Westbridge). Cleo Sylvestre, the first Black woman ever to play a leading role at the National Theatre in London, was awarded an MBE, as was opera singer Christine Rice, Horrid Henry writer Francesca Simon and Mind the Gap executive director Kilia Skelton.
They were also awarded to Keranjeet Virdee, chief executive and artistic director of South Asian Arts UK, and also went to Jonathan Wakeman and Karen Watson, founders and artistic directors of East Street Arts. Clown Alan Digweed, known better as Tweedy, has been awarded the British Empire Medal.