Queen's New Year Honors List Includes Gypsy Star and American in Paris Director

News   Queen's New Year Honors List Includes Gypsy Star and American in Paris Director
The Queen's New Year Honors list, published on New Year's Eve to "recognise the achievements and services of extraordinary people across the United Kingdom," sees veteran stage and film actors Barbara Windsor and Siân Phillips both made Dames, choreographer Matthew Bourne made a Knight, director/choreographer Christopher Wheeldon made an OBE and Imelda Staunton, who already held an OBE, being 'upgraded' to a CBE.

These honors are all in the class of Order of the British Empire, and are awarded for public service and other distinctions, as follows: Knight/Dame Grand Cross (GBE), Knight/Dame Commander (KBE/DBE), Commander (CBE), Officer (OBE) and Member (MBE).

Imelda Staunton in <i>Gypsy</i>
Imelda Staunton in Gypsy

Staunton receives her CBE for "services to drama", as does the playwright and screenwriter Peter Morgan, whose play The Audience transferred from the West End to Broadway this year and revolved around the private meetings that the Queen has with her Prime Ministers; now Morgan will himself have a public appointment with Her Majesty to receive his award. In an interview in The Guardian, he said he thought the letter informing him of his CBE was "a speeding ticket" but was "surprised and delighted" to discover it was not.


Wheeldon, the choreographer who is currently represented on Broadway by An American In Paris, is to receive an OBE.

Windsor, who is 78 and is best known for her work as a film and television star thanks to the "Carry On" film series and TV's "EastEnders," began her career on the London stage at Stratford East's Theatre Royal. In a public statement, she has said that she is "very honoured, proud and extremely humbled" to have received the award, which is cited for being "for servides to charity and entertainment." Phillips, who is 82 and already held a CBE, receives her Damehood "for services to drama." Now 82 and still working regularly onstage, she has commented that it is "something I could never have imagined when I decided to be an actress at the age of six." Amongst her Broadway credits are Marlene (for which she was Tony nominated for Best Actress in a Musical in 1999) and the Roundabout's 2008 revival of Les Liaisons Dangereuses.

Bourne, founder of the contemporary dance company Adventures in Motion Pictures and now in charge of New Adventures, is made a Knight Bachelor, after having previously received an OBE. A double Tony Award winner for Best Director and Best Choreographer for his production of the ballet Swan Lake that famously featuring an all-male corps-de-ballet of swans, Bourne has also been represented on Broadway by Mary Poppins that he both co-directed (with Richard Eyre) and co-choreographer (with Stephen Mear).

Amongst those awarded OBEs are pop star and composer Damon Albarn (for services to music, currently represented at the National Theatre by wonder.land, for which has written music and lyrics), and actors Idris Elba (TV's "Luther"), David Oyelowo (HBO's "Nightingale") and James Nesbit.

Bradley Hemmings, artistic director of the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival — an annual festival of outdoors work in in south-East London — is awarded an MBE for services to culture.

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