Leading figures from London theatre have featured prominently in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List, with the likes of actors Hugh Laurie and Matt Henry, director John Tiffany and producer Rosemary Squire all being recognised for their contributions to the industry.
Co-founder of the Ambassador Theatre Group in 1992 to great financial risk, and former Society of London Theatre President, Squire was awarded the highest honour in the form of a Damehood for her services to theatre and philanthropy. ATG now owns almost 50 venues across Britain, the US and Australia, and is a prolific producer of theatre worldwide.
Squire, who now runs the Trafalgar Entertainment Group with her husband Sir Howard Panter, said of the announcement: “I am absolutely delighted to receive this great honour which I take as tribute to the creativity and resourcefulness of theatre in this country.”
Elsewhere, former Sadlers Wells Royal Ballet and Royal Ballet dancer Darcey Bussell, now a judge on popular BBC reality show Strictly Come Dancing, received the same honour of a Damehood for her services to dance.
Following a spectacularly successful year, Harry Potter And The Cursed Child director John Tiffany, who won the Olivier Award for Best Director at the 2017 ceremony, was awarded an OBE for services to drama, while musical theatre performer Matt Henry, himself an Olivier winner in 2016, was awarded an MBE.
Playwright and screenwriter Peter Nichols, a great contributor to the works of the Royal Shakespeare Company, National Theatre and Shakespeare’s Globe over the past four decades, was made a CBE, along with popular stage and screen actor Laurie, and six-time Olivier Award nominee (and two-time winner) Julia McKenzie, who starred in the original London productions of the Sondheim musicals Follies (1987) and Into The Woods (1990).
Other honorees whose works have been seen on the London stage include author Michael Morpurgo (who penned War Horse), English Touring Theatre producer Jane Claire, casting director Pippa Ailion, multi-Emmy Award winner and actor Susan Hampshire, and playwright and dramatist John Godber (who wrote numerous hits including Bouncers).