Sheila Hancock has been made a Dame in the New Year Honours list 2021 with actors Toby Jones (OBE), Nina Wadia (OBE), Lesley Manville (CBE) and Sally Dynevor (MBE) also recognised.
Also receiving OBEs are award-winning theatre and opera designer William Dudley who has designed more than 60 National Theatre productions, champion of dance Bob Lockyer, British TV writer, producer and director Jed Mercurio (Line of Duty, Bodyguard) and choreographer Stuart Hopps.
Along with Hancock, conductor Jane Glover and make-up artist Patricia McGrath are made Dames, while leader of Birmingham Opera Company Graham Vick receives a Knighthood, as does artist and former Royal Academy president Christopher le Brun. A CBE goes to founder and CEO of Pimlico Opera and Grange Park Opera, Wasfi Kani.
Other MBEs include chair of OSO Arts Centre Simon Danciger, Phoenix Dance Theatre founder David Hamilton and former artistic director Sharon Watson (also chief executive and principal of Northern School of Contemporary Dance); chief executive of One Dance UK Andrew Hurst; deputy principal of Royal Central School of Speech and Drama Debbie Scully; Pietra Mello-Pittman and Ella Spira (founders of theatre and dance company Sisters Grimm); outgoing director of BBC Arts Jonathan Claypole; and the Government’s first Disability Champion for Arts & Culture Andrew Miller.
Ella Spira said:
“As female founders from mixed heritage backgrounds, this honour feels like a celebration of the challenges we have overcome to not only create a business model around the arts, but to be recognised as internationalists. The impact that the arts can have on society should never be undervalued – they allow people to make sense of their emotions in a space they often don’t give themselves. In these dark and difficult times for live entertainment we mustn’t lose sight of how the arts have the ability to join people together.”
British Empire Medals go to Slung Low artistic director Alan Lane; founders of Aakash Odedra Company Anand Bhatt and Aakash Odedra; and Trish Wheatley, director of Disability Arts Online.