In an investiture ceremony at the British ambassador’s residence in Washington on 24 April, Michael Kahn, Artistic Director of Washington’s Shakespeare Theatre Company, received one of Britain’s highest honours. He became an honorary Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE), awarded by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
British Ambassador Sir Peter Westmacott presented Mr Kahn with the honour in recognition to his more than 25 years of service to the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, and the significant contribution he has made to the cultural ties that the UK and US share. The Shakespeare Theatre Company has introduced the iconic playwright to thousands of American schoolchildren, as well as created numerous opportunities for British directors and actors in the US.
Presenting the award Ambassador Westmacott said:
Michael Kahn has made Shakespeare come alive for more than 25 years in Washington, and has strengthened UK-US cultural ties through his extraordinary work at the renowned Shakespeare Theatre Company. Kahn’s commitment to Shakespeare’s work has enriched the lives of thousands of Americans, and through his career at the Theatre he has brought abundant British talent to the US to participate in Shakespearean productions. I am proud to present him with this honour.
Receiving the award, Mr Kahn said, “I am grateful and humbled by this honor from the British government and most particularly since it is being given to an American for their work on Shakespeare.”
The UK honours system recognises exceptional achievement and service to the nation, and includes non-British nationals who receive “Honorary” awards. All British honours are awarded on merit, and honorary awards are conferred by Her Majesty The Queen on the advice of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Other US nationals who have received honorary CBEs include Kevin Spacey, Dr Gail Kern Paster, Prof Arthur R. Miller and Sandford Lieberson.