Broadway Producer Bob Boyett, a Champion of British Theatre, Receives Honorary CBE From Queen Elizabeth II
By Kenneth Jones
Broadway producer Robert Boyett was made an Honorary Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on July 13. The honor is in recognition of "his invaluable service to British drama as both a philanthropist and a producer."
British Ambassador Sir Peter Westmacott presented Boyett with the badge of the Order at an investiture ceremony at The British Embassy, Washington, DC.
American philanthropist Boyett has built long-term relationships with a number of British theatre companies and producers, including the National Theatre of Great Britain. His support, including generous contributions over the last eight years to the National, has helped create new productions and new work.
Boyett "has brought the great glories of British stage to American audiences" by producing plays by Alan Bennett, Tom Stoppard, Martin McDonagh, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Michael Frayn on Broadway.
He is an eight-time Tony Award winner for producing. His productions — War Horse, History Boys, The Coast of Utopia and The 39 Steps, among others — have collected 24 Tony Awards.
Presenting the award, Ambassador Westmacott said, "For the past decade, Bob Boyett has worked tirelessly to help British theatre productions find a foothold in the United States, both on and off Broadway. His production company, RB Theatricals, has brought 17 plays from England to the US since 2001."
Receiving the award, Boyett said, "It is indeed a great honor to be acknowledged for a role, however small, in the field of drama by the British Empire and Her Majesty for whom I have such respect and admiration."
A native of Atlanta, Boyett began his career in entertainment with ABC-TV and later became an independent producer of television and movies. Boyett developed, created or produced some 1,800 episodes of series television before moving on to produce live theatre. He received his bachelor's from Duke University and master's from Columbia.
Dr. William Kelso, one of America's foremost historical archaeologists, was also made an Honorary Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II during the investiture ceremony. His ground-breaking rediscovery of the original "lost" 1607 James Fort at Jamestown Island, Virginia, the site of the first, permanent, English-speaking settlement in America, "has redefined the source of the U.K.'s and U.S.'s shared history."
The U.K. honors system "recognizes exceptional achievement and service to the nation, and includes non-British nationals who receive 'Honorary' awards for their important contribution to British interests."
All British honors are awarded on merit, and honorary awards are conferred by HM The Queen on the advice of the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary. The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire was founded in 1917.
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