Actors Harriet Walter, David Suchet and Sheila Hancock are among the most prominent theatrical names to be recognised in the 2011 New Year’s Honours List.
Walter, now Dame Harriet Walter for her services to drama, was last seen on the London stage at the National Theatre, where she appeared in Women Beware Women earlier this year. The Laurence Olivier Award-winning actress, who picked up the coveted statuette for her performances in Twelfth Night and Three Sisters in 1989, has a wealth of stage credits to her name, including Mary Stuart, Dinner and Arcadia in London and Nicholas Nickelby and All’s Well That End’s Well for the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Fellow performers Suchet and Hancock have both had OBEs upgraded to CBEs for 2011, reflecting the ongoing impact of their careers. Suchet, best known for his screen outings as detective Hercule Poirot, returned to the stage in 2010 to star opposite Zoe Wanamaker in All My Sons, while Hancock, who took on a judging role in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s latest talent search Over The Rainbow, was last seen treading the boards as Mother Superior in the musical version of Sister Act.
Choreographer Wayne McGregor, the Artistic Director of Random Dance also receives a CBE for his services to dance, while composer and National Singing Ambassador Howard Goodall, whose adaptation of Love Story is currently playing in the West End, receives the CBE for services to music education.
Goodall’s fellow songwriter, Herbert Kretzmer, who provided the lyrics for London’s longest running musical Les Misérables, rounds off the hit show’s 25th anniversary year by receiving an OBE for his services to music.
Among the other recipients of 2011 New Years Honours are current Chairman of English National Opera, Vernon Ellis (Knighthood), the former Chief Executive of Shakespeare’s Globe, Peter Kyle (OBE), and the director of the Clore Leadership Programme, Susan Hoyle (OBE). The former ENO and Royal Opera mezzo soprano Felicity Palmer and Lady Antonia Fraser, widow of playwright Harold Pinter, are also made Dames.