Lloyd Webber still the top of British theatre's movers and shakers

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The Independent Culture

Lord Lloyd Webber retained his position as doyen of the British theatre yesterday after a year in which his Tell Me on a Sunday and Bombay Dreams continued to attract huge crowds.

The impresario topped the list of the 20 most important people in the theatre, compiled by The Stage newspaper, for the fourth successive year.

Equal second in the list of movers and shakers were Howard Panter from Ambassador Theatre Group, which was described as the UK's fastest growing theatrical company, and David Ian, the British face of US Clear Channel Entertainment.

One of the biggest movers in the list was Nicholas Hytner from the National Theatre, who climbed from number 19 to number five.

Debuting at six was Michael Boyd, the artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company. His high placing was partly earned by wooing back Dame Judi Dench to perform on stage.

Another new entry was Bill Kenwright at number eight, whose Joseph and Blood Brothers continue to do well.

Cameron Mackintosh moved from number five to number four, having pledged £35million to do up his West End venues.

The top 20 were: Lloyd Webber, Howard Panter, David Ian, Cameron Mackintosh, Nicholas Hytner, Michael Boyd, Jon Conway/Nick Thomas, Bill Kenwright, Sonia Friedman, Sir Peter Hall, Trevor Nunn, Michael Grandage, Raymond Gubbay, Monica Mason/Antonio Pappano, Michael Attenborough, Simon Russell Beale, Stephen Waley-Cohen, Colin Ingram, Nick Salmon, Richard Eyre.

In the list "The Rest, by Category", actors praised by The Stage included Kenneth Branagh, Simon Callow, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen and Denise Van Outen. Ben Elton won praise for his Tonight's the Night. Richard Thomas and Stewart Lee were also praised for Jerry Springer - The Opera, which was a big success this year.

Playwrights given honourable mentions included David Hare, Charlotte Jones and Alan Ayckbourn.