Pragnell Award Winner 2024: Dame Vanessa Redgrave

Introduced in 1990, The Pragnell Shakespeare Birthday Award celebrates individuals who have significantly furthered society’s understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of the Bard’s work. Previous winners including Sir Kenneth Branagh and Sir Patrick Stewart.

Pragnell is delighted to reveal that this year’s winner of The Pragnell Shakespeare Birthday Award is globally renowned actor Dame Vanessa Redgrave DBE.

Each year, the recipient is chosen by a committee of representatives from The Shakespeare Institute, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the Royal Shakespeare Company.


Dame Vanessa Redgrave’s remarkable career includes winning an Oscar as well as Emmy, Tony, Olivier, BAFTA, Cannes, Golden Globe, and the Screen Actors Guild Awards. Her recent theatre credits include The Inheritance (Noël Coward Theatre/Young Vic) in 2018 and Vienna 1934 – Munich 1938: A Family Album, the first play Vanessa wrote, directed, and acted in. It was workshopped at The Rose Theatre, Kingston on Thames, in 2018 and produced for two weeks during the Summer Season of 2019 at the Theatre Royal, Bath. Among many notable film performances, she played Guinevere in the film of Lerner and Loewe’s Camelot in 1967. Dame Vanessa made her feature directorial debut in 2017 with the film Sea Sorrow which was selected for the Cannes Film Festival in 2018.

Hailing from an acting dynasty, Dame Vanessa Redgrave’s birth was announced by Laurence Olivier during a performance of Hamlet at the Old Vic who announced with great insight, "A great actress has been born this night."

Making her stage debut in 1958, Dame Vanessa Redgrave played Helena in A Midsummer’s Night Dream at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, the first of her many Shakespearean roles.

Pragnell Shakespeare Award

The Pragnell Shakespeare Birthday Award is an international award funded by Pragnell the Jeweller of Stratford-upon-Avon.

It is presented annually on the occasion of the Shakespeare Birthday Celebrations luncheon in Stratford-upon-Avon. The award recognises 'outstanding achievement in extending the appreciation and enjoyment of the works of William Shakespeare and in the general advancement of Shakespearian knowledge and understanding'.

Pragnell Shakespeare Award Roll of Honour

1990 Dame Peggy Ashcroft

1991 Terry Hands

1992 Professor Muriel Bradbrook

1993 Peter Brook

1994 Barbara Jefford

1995 Tanya Moiseiwitsch

1996 Sir Ian McKellen

In 1997 the Award took the form of a tribute to the Flower family

1998 Sir Peter Hall

1999 Paul Scofield

2000 Dame Judi Dench

2001 John Barton

2002 The Folger Shakespeare Library

2003 Professor Stanley Wells

2004 Cicely Berry

2005 Corin Redgrave

2006 Sir Donald Sinden

2007 Harriet Walter

2008 Michael Boyd

2009 Michael Billington

2010 Barrie Rutter

2011 Patrick Stewart

2012 Dame Janet Suzman

2013 Simon Russell Beale

2014 Nicholas Hytner

2015 Sir Kenneth Branagh

2016 Sir Trevor Nunn

2017 Sir Antony Sher

2018 Jane Lapotaire

2019 Professor Jerzy Limon

2020 Juliet Stevenson CBE

2021 Dr John Kani

2022 Adrian Lester CBE

2023 Gregory Doran

2024 Dame Vanessa Redgrave DBE

Contact Us