Pragnell Award Winner 2022: Adrian Lester CBE

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.

We are pleased to announce that actor and director Adrian Lester CBE is the winner of the 2022 Pragnell Shakespeare Birthday Award.

Introduced in 1990, the Pragnell Shakespeare Birthday Award celebrates individuals who have significantly furthered our understanding, knowledge and love for the Bard’s work.

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

“I am extremely honoured to be the recipient of this year’s prize. I look at the names of the people who have received it before me and feel very lucky that it should have gone to me. My thanks to all those who took part in making the decision.”

Born in Birmingham, Adrian Lester is a multi-award-winning performer who has appeared on West End stages for nearly three decades. Known for seven seasons of the hit TV show Hustle (2004), The Day After Tomorrow (2004) and Primary Colors (1998) and his extensive classical work in the theatre playing Othello, Henry V, Rosalind and Hamlet to name but a few.

British actor, director and writer, Adrian Lester trained at RADA, graduating in 1989. He has achieved a Laurence Olivier Award, an Evening Standard Theatre Award and a Critics' Circle Theatre Award for his work on the London stage.

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

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