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Ejiofor, McTeer, Williams, Gupta in Queen’s Honours

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Actors Chiwetel Ejiofor (pictured), Janet McTeer and Don Warrington and playwrights Roy Williams and Tanika Gupta are amongst the stage names singled out for their services to the arts as part of the annual Queen's Birthday Honours list, announced this past weekend.

Chiwetel Ejiofor adds an OBE to his haul of other prizes this year, including a Critics’ Circle Award (for Best Shakespearean Performance) and Laurence Olivier Award (Best Actor) for his title performance in the sell-out Donmar Warehouse production of Othello with Ewan McGregor and Kelly Reilly. While the actor has become well known in recent years for his screen credits including Children of Men, Kinky Boots, Love Actually and Dirty Pretty Things, he started his career on stage, where his other credits include Blue/Orange, Romeo and Juliet, The Vortex and, as part of the Royal Court’s 50th anniversary season last year, The Seagull, which is due to transfer to Broadway later this year.

Fellow Olivier award winner Janet McTeer (Best Actress in 1997 for A Doll’s House also receives an OBE. She just finished this past weekend her West End run in the English-language premiere of God of Carnage alongside Ralph Fiennes, Tamsin Greig and Ken Stott. McTeer’s other recent stage credits include Mary Stuart, The Duchess of Malfi and The Taming of the Shrew.

Don Warrington, who is awarded an MBE, is best known to TV fans from the 1970s sitcom Rising Damp. More recently, he appeared in the West End transfer of Kwame Kwei-Armah’s Elmina’s Kitchen, and last year at the National, the world premiere of Statement of Regret, the final instalment of Kwei-Armah’s trilogy about the modern Black British experience.

Playwright Roy Williams, who has also chronicled life today for Black Britons, receives an OBE. His plays include Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads, Clubland, Little Sweet Thing, Joe Guy (nominated for Best New Play in last year’s Evening Standard and Whatsonstage.com Awards), Baby Girl (staged this past February at the National), Days of Significance (commissioned by the RSC and transferred to the Tricycle in March) and Fallout (recently filmed for television).

British-Asian playwright Tanika Gupta is awarded an MBE. Her plays include Gladiator Games, White Boy, Meet the Mukherjees, The Waiting Room, Sugar Mummies, Sanctuary, Fragile Land and versions of William Wycherley’s The Country Wife and Harold Brighouse’s Hobson’s Choice, which relocated the classics amongst first and second generation Indian immigrant communities in the UK today.

Elsewhere, comedienne Victoria Wood, whose musical version of Acorn Antiques premiered at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in 2005, received a CBE; entertainer and Lily Savage creator Paul O'Grady was awarded an MBE; there were CBEs for Southbank Centre chief executive Michael Lynch and embattled former Arts Council chief executive Peter Hewitt; and Royal Ballet director Monica Mason was made a Dame of the British Empire.

- by Terri Paddock


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