Dame Gillian Lynne
Above: Gillian dancing in the film ‘Half a Sixpence’ which she staged and choreographed.


Congratulations to our patron, Gillian Lynne (CBE), who had the title of Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (DBE) conferred upon her in the 2014 New Years Honours List for her services to Dance & Musical Theatre. Long time collabrators Sir Cameron Mackintosh, Arlene Phillips (CBE), Dame Monica Mason and Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber all spoke out to congratulate Dame Gillian Lynne. Commenting on her award, Gillian said; ‘Passion for my art has been the motivating factor throughout my career, but for Her Majesty the Queen and the Cabinet Office to deem what I have done to be worthy of their accolade is an honour. I am deeply humbled to be recognised for  my work in an industry I adore.’

Gillian has done the lot! Leading soloist in the original Sadler’s Wells Ballet, star dancer at the London Palladium, acted opposite Errol Flynn in the movies and danced with all the greats on early TV. She was instrumental in the development of jazz dance in Britain and her distinctive style – a fusion of classical and jazz – led to her groundbreaking work on the world famous Cats (Olivier Award- London, Moliere Award- Paris) and also on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s worldwide hit Phantom of the Opera for which she provided the musical staging and choreography. She received the Mr Abbott Award in 1999. Fifty-plus Broadway and West End shows include – Tonight at 8.30, Love on the Dole, The Match Girls, Tomfoolery, Jeeves Takes Charge, Cabaret, The Roar of the Greasepaint, Pickwick, The Card, Phil The Fluter, Hans Christian Andersen, My Fair Lady, Songbook and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. For the Royal Shakespeare Company- A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Comedy of Errors, The Way of the World, As You Like It, Once in a Lifetime, The Boyfriend and The Secret Garden.

Gillian’s opera productions include Bluebeard (ENO); The Trojans, The Midsummer Marriage, The Flying Dutchman, and Parsifal (ROH). Her ballets are Breakaway, Lippizaner, The Bröntes, On Such A Night(Northern Ballet) and Journey (Bolshoi).

Her direction for television includes: Morte d’Arthur (Samuel G Engel Award); Australian Ballet’s The Fool on the Hill (ABC-TV’s Best Musical and Best Production) while her A Simple Man (BBC) won a BAFTA for her direction and choreography. Feature films include A Wonderful Life, Half a Sixpence, Man of La Mancha and Yentl. She staged many of the famousMuppet Shows.

Recent projects include Phantom – the Las Vegas Spectacular, The Imaginary Invalid for the Washington Shakespeare Theatre, Triple Sensation for CBC, Now or Never – starring Peter Land at the King’s Head Theatre, the 25th Anniversary Celebration at the Royal Albert Hall of Phantom of the Opera and the completion of the first volume of her autobiography A Dancer in Wartime  published by Chatto & Windus.

She was awarded the Austrian Silver Order of Merit for her production of Cats in Vienna, and in 2001 she was honoured by the Royal Academy of Dance with the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award. Gillian was awarded the CBE in 1997. Gillian married Peter Land in 1980.

For more information see: Gillian Lynne