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.

Artistic director Dominic Cooke reveals penultimate season for Royal Court

Artistic director Dominic Cooke has unveiled the line-up for the coming season at The Royal Court – the penultimate season before his planned departure in 2013. Playwrights Jez Butterworth, Martin Crimp and Caryl Churchill will all feature this autumn at the London theatre. Cooke said: ‘Each writer has a long history with the Royal Court and I’m honoured to be welcoming them back this season.’

Caryl Churchill will return to the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs with her 17th play for the Royal Court, Love and Information. Churchill began her distinguished career at the theatre with her own first play, Owners in 1972, and went on to become the Royal Court’s resident dramatist in 1974. Cooke said of her contribution to the season: ‘A new play by Caryl Churchill is a major cultural event.’

Jez Butterworth’s new play, The River, will mark the playwright’s first return to the Royal Court since his success with Jerusalem. Tickets for Butterworth’s follow-up are expected to be in such high demand that it has been decided they will not be sold in advance. The River will run in the Royal Court’s Upstairs Theatre, which only seats 90 people. Audiences will only be able to purchase tickets on the day of performance – with tickets going on sale at 9am online, then being made available to buy at the Royal Court’s box office at 10am.

Dominic Cooke said: ‘It’s a privilege to welcome back some of the UK’s most influential playwrights to the Royal Court in my penultimate season as Artistic Director. To have the latest work from Martin Crimp and Jez Butterworth in the same season is a rare and thrilling prospect. These are writers who have reshaped the theatrical landscape and challenged us to imagine ourselves in new ways. Their new plays are as startlingly original as anything they’ve written.’

For more information, or to book tickets: www.royalcourttheatre.com; box office 020 7565 5000.