New Year Honours for British actresses

Dame Angela Lansbury: the actress is recognised in 2014's New Year Honours (Credit: Featureflash)

Dame Angela Lansbury: the actress is recognised in 2014’s New Year Honours (Credit: Featureflash)

The Queen’s 2014 New Year Honours list has recognised and celebrated some of the country’s leading acting and theatre talent: theatre, film and television actress Angela Lansbury is to become a Dame of the British Empire for her services to drama, charitable work and philanthropy. Bafta and Olivier Award winner Penelope Keith will receive the same honour for her services to the arts and charity, as will choreographer Gillian Lynne, director of more than 50 shows in the West End, on Broadway and on tour, for her services to dance and musical theatre.

Andrew Lloyd Webber, a collaborator of Gillian Lynne’s on productions such as Cats and Phantom of the Opera, said that he was ‘thrilled that the grand lady of British musical theatre has got the recognition she deserves.’

Accolades for women in the arts continues: Canadian-born stage and television actress Lynda Bellingham is to be awarded an OBE for voluntary service to charitable giving in the UK. Actress and writer of Gavin and Stacey, Ruth Jones, will receive an MBE.

There were also a few notable male honours in this year’s selection, including CBEs for television actor Michael Crawford and former Royal Court artistic director Dominic Cooke, as well as a knighthood for Michael Codron, the owner of London’s Aldwych Theatre, for his services to theatre.

Lloyd Webber classics set to hit school stages across the UK

It has been announced that schools in the UK and Ireland will be allowed to perform Andrew Lloyd Webber’s West End favourites, Cats and The Phantom of the Opera, for the first time.

The Really Useful Group has marked the event as, ‘significant’. Licenses have previously been granted to perform Lloyd Webber’s work in the US, and following that success they are now planning to roll out the plays to the worldwide market. Chairman Mark Wordsworth said: ‘They are complicated shows, but the experience that we’ve had in America is that the schools are absolutely up for the challenge.’

There are plans to release more of Lloyd Webber’s titles for amateur use. Whistle Down the Wind and Starlight Express are among the titles listed.

In relation to the announcement, Lloyd Webber said: ‘Such is the extraordinary growth of interest in musicals at grass root level all over the world, plus the astonishing capabilities of our younger performers, that now schools, colleges and amateur societies put on productions that give professionals a huge run for their money.’

For further information, contact The Really Useful Group licensing department www.reallyuseful.com/putonashow