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Jim Carter on the red carpet for the Olivier Awards 2016 with MasterCard (Photo: David Levene)

Jim Carter on the red carpet for the Olivier Awards 2016 with MasterCard (Photo: David Levene)

Theatre recognition in the New Year honours list

Eleni Cashell

By Eleni Cashell Published 31 December 2018

If it wasn’t obvious enough how much top talent there is in Theatreland, the Queen has recognised and awarded some shining theatrical stars in her New Year honours list.

There are 1,148 people in the 2019 honours list, which is quite a lot to read in one go, so here’s a run-down of those from Theatreland who were recognised this year.

Actors in the New Year honours list

Several incredible performers got recognition in the list this year, including Sophie Okonedo, who was previously an OBE, has now received a CBE for her services to drama. Sophie is currently playing the title role of Cleopatra opposite Ralph Fiennes in Anthony and Cleopatra at the National to critical acclaim. As well as her TV and film work, Sophie has previously trodden the boards in the Haunted Child at the Royal Court, and The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.

Another famous face you might recognise on the list is Jim Carter, who receives an OBE for his services to drama. Well-loved for his role in Downton Abbey, Jim has performed in the theatre since the late 1970s, including productions with the RSC at The Barbican, as well as roles in renowned shows like The Tempest, Richard III, The Wizard of Oz and The President of an Empty Room at the National Theatre.


Dancers/choreographers in the New Year honours list

Dancers and choreographers were also highly recognised this year.

Richard Alston has been awarded a knighthood for his services to dance. With a well-respected history in Theatreland, Richard is a dancer and choreographer who was previously the artistic director of The Place.

CBEs were awarded to choreographer Anthony Van Laast for his services to dance and choreography. Previously an MBE, Anthony has choreographed several successful West End shows including Sister Act, Mamma Mia! Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Annie Get Your Gun.

Professor Veronica Lewis, the joint principal at The Conservatoire for Dance and Drama has also been awarded a CBE for services to Higher Education in dance, drama and circus arts in the UK and abroad. Former director of London’s Riverside Studios David Gothard also received a CBE.

OBEs were also given to dance producer Farooq Chaudhry for services to dance and dance production, as well as to founder and artistic director of Ballet Cymru, Darius James for services to ballet and community dance.

MBEs have been awarded to dancer and choreographer Pratap Pawar for services to dance, culture and community cohesion. Other MBEs went to the founder of Sujata Banerjee Dance Company, Sujata Banerjee, ballet dancer Anita Young and Babette Langford, (yes, Bonnie Langford’s mum) for services to Children in Stage Dance and Theatre in London, as she runs a musical theatre school.


Theatre Designers in the New Year honours list

Joshua Jenkins in The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time (Photo: Brinkhoff/Mogenburg)

Set and costume designer Bunny Christie has received OBE for her services to theatre. Already an award-winning production designer, Bunny has designed for productions across the UK, Europe and US. Her work can currently be seen at the National Theatre’s spaces, as well as on smash-hits shows such as Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (which won her third Olivier Award for design), Company, Ink, Julius Caesar, as well as People Places and Things, to name just a few.

Other Theatreland members who will be picking up an MBE include:

  • Vivien Wallace, development director at The Old Vic
  • Timothy Yealland, the head of education at English Touring Opera
  • David Johnson, founder of the Oldham Theatre Workshop
  • Irene Hayes of Superarts Academy in Southwark
  • The executive director of Talawa Theatre Company, Natasha Bucknor
  • Wilfred Pyper for his services to musical theatre and drama in Northern Ireland
  • Playwright Carol Leeming



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choreography dance design jim carter New Year honours list sophie okonedo

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