Actor Patrick Stewart and National Theatre Director Nicholas Hytner have both received knighthoods in the Queen’s New Years Honours List, which sees a host of arts professionals recognised for their work.
Stewart now shares the same accolade as his most recent stage colleague, Sir Ian McKellen, who he appeared with in Waiting For Godot earlier in 2009. The actor, who was also seen on television over the Christmas period reprising his role as Claudius opposite David Tennant in the Royal Shakespeare Company production of Hamlet, began his career as a classical actor, before finding fame as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Recent years have seen him return to the stage in a number of high profile Shakespearean productions including The Tempest and Macbeth.
Hytner succeeded Sir Trevor Nunn as Director of the National Theatre in 2003 and has since introduced schemes including the Travelex £10 season and NT Live cinema screenings that have made the theatre’s work accessible to the widest possible audience. In his reign, the institution has produced work including Alan Bennett’s The History Boys and The Habit Of Art, David Hare’s The Permanent Way and groundbreaking family shows His Dark Materials, Coram Boy, War Horse and Nation.
Hytner was not the only director to be recognised in the list; opera and theatre director Phyllida Lloyd, who counts Mamma Mia! among her many credits, and the Barbican’s Artistic Director Graham Sheffield both receive CBEs, while Northern Ballet Theatre Artistic Director David Nixon and Royal Exchange, Manchester Artistic Director Braham Murray are both honoured with OBEs.
Actress Margaret Tyzack, who previously received and OBE in 1970, is upgraded to a CBE for her services to drama. Tyzack won the 2009 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress after impressing with her performance in the Donmar Warehouse production of The Chalk Garden and has since appeared in the National Theatre production of Phedre opposite Helen Mirren. Other performers to receive honours include opera singer Sarah Connolly (CBE) and poet and performer Lemn Sissay (MBE).
Among other notable names on the list are Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum Mark Jones (Knighthood), Pineapple Dance Studios founder Debbie Moore (OBE), National Youth Music Theatre founder Jeremy James Taylor (OBE) and children’s author Lauren Child whose characters Charlie and Lola inspired Hampstead theatre’s current production Charlie And Lola’s Best Bestest Play.