Page last updated at 00:58 GMT, Friday, 6 March 2009

'Powerful' women in theatre named

Dame Judi Dench, Gillian Anderson and Dame Helen Mirren
Dame Judi Dench, Gillian Anderson and Dame Helen are among eight on the list

Dames Judi Dench and Helen Mirren have been named on a list of the UK's 20 most powerful women in theatre.

Hollywood stars Gillian Anderson and Rachel Weisz also appear in the list complied by magazine Harper's Bazaar.

It celebrates the playwrights, leading impresarios and rising stars of the British stage.

Harper's Bazaar editor Lucy Yeomans said: "The 20 women on our list represent the diversity and brilliance found in this creative industry."

'Phenomenal hit'

She added that it was an especially strong year for women in theatre.

"As well as including actresses, our list also takes account of the incredible powerhouses who make the productions happen," she said.

"Sonia Friedman's staggering drive has helped make Boeing Boeing a success on Broadway and in London and Sally Greene's Billy Elliot is a phenomenal worldwide hit."

Also on list is playwright Bola Agbaje, 27, whose debut play Gone Too Far! won an Olivier Award, set and costume designer Miriam Buether, 39, and casting agent Lisa Makin, 43.

X Files and Bleak House actress Anderson, who is to appear in a production of Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House at the Donmar Warehouse in London, was billed as the "honorary Brit" on the list.

She said: "I have wanted to work on the British stage for most of my life.

"The opportunity to turn that lingering dream into a reality is the greatest reward.

"The challenge is to chase that opportunity, despite an equally passionate fear."

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