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Branagh & Boyd knighted in Queen's Birthday Honours

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Actor Kenneth Branagh and Royal Shakespeare Company artistic director Michael Boyd have received knighthoods in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Branagh, whose career began at the RSC and Boyd, who hands over the reins of the organisation to Gregory Doran at the end of the year, were just two of several prominent theatre figures honoured in this year’s list.

Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet and playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah were recognised for their services to drama with a CBE and OBE respectively, while outgoing RSC executive director Vikki Heywood received a CBE.

Branagh, whose career has spanned stage and screen as both actor and director, said he was “elated” by news of the honour, adding: "When I was a kid I dreamed of pulling on a shirt for the Northern Ireland football team. I could only imagine how proud you might feel. Today it feels like they just gave me the shirt, and my heart's fit to burst."

Others honoured today include Clare Menzies-Kitchin, who founded the James Menzies-Kitchin trust in honour of her son, and Felix Cross, artistic director of black music theatre company Nitro, who both receive MBEs.

Actress Jenny Agutter, who rose to fame in The Railway Children, is made an OBE for her charity work, and Amanda Redman, recently seen on screen in New Tricks, becomes an MBE for services to drama. Actress and screenwriter Jean Marsh, whose credits include Upstairs, Downstairs and The House of Eliott, is also appointed an OBE.

Songwriter and lyricist Richard Stilgoe, who contributed lyrics for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express and The Phantom of the Opera, was made a knight for his charity work.

In the opera world, director David McVicar receives a knighthood while the ENO’s director of musical Edward Gardner is made an OBE for services to music. Former Royal Opera House director Elaine Padmore was also recognised with an OBE.

Several prominent figures from the world of dance were also honoured, including Michael Nunn and William Trevitt, co-founders of dance company Ballet Boyz, both of who receive OBEs for services to dance. And Alistair Spalding, chief executive of Sadler’s Wells, becomes a CBE.

Elsewhere, conductor Gareth Malone, who formed the chart-topping Military Wives choir, and Take That star Gary Barlow, who orchestrated the recent Diamond Jubilee concert, are both appointed OBEs.

To view the full list of honours, click here


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