Actresses Kristin Scott Thomas and Joan Collins have become theatre’s latest Dames in the Queen’s 2015 New Year’s Honours. The pair is joined at the top of the list by fellow new Dame, poet and playwright Carol Ann Duffy, and actor John Hurt.
Scott Thomas, who will play Her Majesty The Queen on the London stage next year when The Audience is revived, receives her honour for services to drama which, in recent years, have included lauded West End performances in Electra, Old Times and Betrayal.
Hurt who, like Scott Thomas, may be better known for screen work than for stage, collects his Knighthood for services to drama, while Duffy’s is in recognition of her contribution to poetry and Collins’ is for charity work.
In a strong year for the arts community, actress and writer Meera Syal, who is currently starring in the National Theatre production of Behind The Beautiful Forevers, receives the MBE.
Former One Man, Two Guvnors and The History Boys star James Corden, double Olivier Award winner Sheridan Smith, actor, director and Northern Broadsides founder Barrie Rutter and Emily Watson, last seen on the London stage in Sam Mendes’ acclaimed Uncle Vanya and Twelfth Night, are all honoured with the OBE.
There were also awards for those working hard behind the scenes. Alan Davey, Chief Executive of Arts Council England, Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre, and theatre and opera director Richard Jones all receive the CBE.
Theatre designer Es Devlin, who designed the closing ceremony for the 2012 Olympic Games, won the 2013 Olivier Award for Set Design and will design the opening ceremony for the 2016 Rio Olypmics, receives the OBE. Fellow stage designer Tom Piper is given the MBE in recognition of his work on the Tower of London’s poppy-based art installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas Of Red.
Also among the theatrical names on this year’s list were Jeanetta Laurence, whose work in the field of dance includes her role as Associate Director of the Royal Ballet (OBE), screenwriter William Nicholson, who includes the big screen version of Les Misérables among his credits (OBE), Co-founder of the London International Mime Festival Joseph Seelig (OBE) and Musical Director John Woolf (MBE).