THE SwanTheatre has announced that Oscar nominee and BAFTA winner Imelda Staunton OBE is its new patron.

The 59-year-old began her career at the theatre in the 1970s as a member of Worcester Repertory Company.

She has since gone on to star in movies including Shakespeare in Love, Nanny McPhee, Pride and as Dolores Jane Umbridge in two of the Harry Potter films.

Staunton drew critical acclaim for her portrayal of the title role in the 2004 film Vera Drake, for which she won the BAFTA for Best Actress and the Volpi Cup for Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival as well as a host of other awards.

It also earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.

She said: "It is a great honour to be the patron of the theatre where I started my career."

Chris Jaeger, chief executive of Worcester Live said he was delighted.

“The Swan has been home to many talented and successful actors and directors over the years and it is fantastic when those who have gone on to achieve great fame still appreciate where they started.

"I am honoured that Imelda has become our new patron”

Staunton trained at RADA and, since joining the National Theatre in 1982, has performed in many plays and musicals in the UK.

Staunton has been nominated for eight Laurence Olivier Awards, winning two for Best Actress in a Musical for her performances in Into the Woods (1991) and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2011) and one for Best Supporting Performance for her work in both A Chorus of Disapproval (1985) and The Corn is Green (1985). Other London stage roles include Adelaide in Guys and Dolls (1982), Sonia in Uncle Vanya (1988), Claire in A Delicate Balance (2011) and Rose in Gypsy (2014).

Most recently she was nominated Best Actress for her deeply moving turn as a sharp-tongued single mother in David Lindsay-Abaire’s drama Good People at Hampstead Theatre & Noël Coward Theatre.

Her other film roles include Nurse in Shakespeare in Love (1998), Mrs Blatherwick in Nanny McPhee (2005), and Hefina Headon in Pride (2014). On television, she starred in the sitcoms Up the Garden Path (1990–93) and Is it Legal? (1995–98).

At the start of her career back in the 1970s she was a member of the Worcester Repertory Company.she said.

The Swan Theatre celebrates its Golden Anniversary this year, commemorating the occasion with a series of special events and celebratory shows.