NEWS: Sophie Okonedo, Richard Alston, Bunny Christie & Anthony Van Laast feature in New Year’s Honours list

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Among the theatre and arts performers and practitioners named in the New Year’s Honours list are actors Sophie Okonedo, Jim Carter and Thandie Newton, along with set and costume designer Bunny Christie and choreographers Anthony Van Laast and Richard Alston.

Okonedo, who recently won acclaim performing opposite Ralph Fiennes in the National Theatre production of Antony & Cleopatra, receives the CBE for her services to drama. Also awarded a CBE is Van Laast (Mamma Mia!, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical).

Carter, well-known as Mr Carson in Downton Abbey, is made an OBE, as is Christie (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time), in recognition of her services to theatre, and actor Newton.

Choreographer Alston, former artistic director of Ballet Rambert who now runs the Richard Alston Dance Company, is awarded a knighthood for services to dance. Actor and writer Michael Palin also receives a knighthood, as does best-selling author of His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman. Model, singer and actor Twiggy (real name Lesley Lawson) is made a dame.

Novelist and author of The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood joins the Companions of Honour for services to literature and creator of The Gruffalo, Julia Donaldson, receives a CBE for services to literature.

Babette Langford, who runs Teddington musical theatre school The Young Set (and is also the mother of Bonnie Langford), is made Medallist of the Order of the British Empire. Receiving the same honour is the founder of Oldham Theatre Workshop, David Johnson, and Irene Hayes, who oversees Superarts Academy in Southwark.

CBEs also include:

  • Diana Murray, chair of Arts and Business Scotland
  • Veronica Lewis, former principal of London Contemporary Dance
  • Christopher Nolan, director
  • David Gothard, former director of Riverside Studios

OBEs also include:

  • Alby James, film and theatre director
  • Lady Lucy French, director of development at the St James Theatre, now The Other Palace
  • Farooq Chaudhry, co-founder and producer of the Akram Khan Company
  • Shirley Thompson, composer
  • Tommy Smith, head of Jazz, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, artistic director of Scottish National Jazz Orchestra

MBEs also include:

  • Natasha Bucknor, executive director of Talawa Theatre
  • Teresa Early, founder of Theatre Peckham
  • Wilfred Pyper, for services to musical theatre and drama in Northern Ireland
  • Carol Leeming, poet and playwright
  • Vivien Wallace, development director at The Old Vic
  • Timothy Yealland, head of education at English Touring Opera
  • Sujata Banerjee, founder of Sujata Banerjee Dance Company
  • John Bennett, former chairman of the board of governors at Guildhall School of Music and Drama
  • David Grant, singer and voice coach
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Press Releases on Twitter
Press Releases
MyTheatreMates publishes a selection of daily press releases sent to us by publicists of the relevant show or theatre. We are not responsible for any inaccuracies contained within these materials.

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