Ian Charleson Awards

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The Ian Charleson Awards is a British theatrical award to reward the best classical stage performances in Britain by actors aged under 30. It is named in memory of late actor Ian Charleson and is run by the Sunday Times newspaper and the National Theatre. It was established in 1991 after Charleson's death from AIDS the previous year and has been awarded annually since then.

The award's current definition of a classical play, is one written before 1918. The award for the previous year's theatre is presented each May; the 2010 Ian Charleson Award ceremony was held on 10 June 2011. The prize money was as follows: 1st prize (£5,000), 2nd prize (£2,000) and 3rd prize (£500). The 2011 ceremony was held on 18 May 2012.



  • First prize

-Joe Dixon for As You Like It (Cheek by Jowl)

  • Prize unknown

-Ian Hughes for Torquato Tasso (ATC Theatre)[1]

-Jennifer Ehle, for Tartuffe (Peter Hall Company)

  • Nominated

-Tom Hollander[2]

-Adrian Lester for As You Like It (Cheek By Jowl)


  • First prize

-Tom Hollander, for The Way of the World (Lyric Hammersmith[3]

  • Special commendation

-Iain Glen, for Hamlet (Bristol Old Vic)[4]


  • First prize

-Emma Fielding for The School for Wives (Almeida Theatre)

  • Nominations

-Adrian Scarborough for The Comedy of Errors (Royal Exchange Theatre)

-Helen Baxendale for The Soldiers (Citizens Theatre)

-Mark Lockyer for a season at the RSC

-Helen McCrory for Trelawny of the 'Wells' (National Theatre)

-Michael Sheen for Don't Fool With Love (Cheek by Jowl)


  • First prize -

-Toby Stephens for Coriolanus (RSC)

  • Special commendation

-Henry Ian Cusick for Torquato Tasso (Royal Lyceum Theatre) and Oedipus (Citizens Theatre)

  • Nominated

-Mark Bazeley, Anastasia Hille and Marianne Jean-Baptiste for Measure For Measure (Cheek by Jowl)

-Guy Lankester for Twelfth Night (Bristol Old Vic)

-Jude Law for Ion (RSC)

  • Outstanding newcomer

-Jude Law for Les Parents terribles (National Theatre)


  • First prize

-Lucy Whybrow for Romeo and Juliet (RSC)

  • Nominations

-Benedict Bates [5] for Don Carlos (Citizens Theatre)

-Rakie Ayola for The Way of the World (Birmingham Rep)

-Paul Bettany for Julius Caesar (RSC)

-Alexandra Gilbreath for King Lear( West Yorkshire Playhouse)

-Victoria Hamilton for The Master Builder (Peter Hall Company)

-John Light for The Tower (Almeida Theatre)

-Julian Rhind-Tutt for Richard II (National Theatre)

-Catherine Russell for Three Sisters (Out of Joint)

-Zubin Varla for Romeo and Juliet (RSC)


  • First prize

-Alexandra Gilbreath for Hedda Gabler (English Touring Theatre)

  • Prize unknown

-Emma Fielding for The Broken Heart (RSC)


  • First prize

-Mark Bazeley, for The Seagull (English Touring Theatre)

  • Nominations

-Kate Ashfield for Woyzeck (Gate Theatre)

-Toby Cockerell for Henry V at (Shakespeare's Globe)

-Dominic Curtis for As You Like It (Perth Theatre)

-James Dreyfus for Julius Caesar (Birmingham Rep)

-Anne-Marie Duff for King Lear (National Theatre)

-Ray Fearon and Zoe Waites for Romeo and Juliet (RSC)

-Victoria Hamilton for The Provok'd Wife (Peter Hall Company)

-Tom Hollander for The Government Inspector[6] (Almeida Theatre)

-Andrew Howard for Electra (Chichester Festival Theatre)

-Jason Hughes and Julia Sawalha for The Illusion (Royal Exchange Theatre)

-Paul McEneany for A Midsummer Night's Dream (Lyric Players' Theatre)

-Michael Sheen for Henry V (RSC)

-Lise Stevenson for Measure for Measure (Nottingham Playhouse)

-Dominic West for The Seagull (Peter Hall Company)


  • First prize

-Claudie Blakley for The Seagull (West Yorkshire Playhouse)

  • Nominations

-Kathy Kiera Clarke for Medea (Citizens Theatre)

-Hermione Gulliford for Twelfth Night (Crucible Theatre)

-Paul Hilton for As You Like It (Shakespeare's Globe)

-Thusitha Jayasundera for Twelfth Night (Young Vic)

-Susan Lynch for The Storm(Almieda Theatre)

-Stephen Mangan and Matthew Macfadyen for Much Ado About Nothing (Cheek by Jowl) and The School for Scandal (RSC)

-Jo McInnes for Uncle Vanya (RSC)

-Kevin McKidd for Britannicus (Almeida Theatre)

-David Oyelowo for The Suppliants (Gate Theatre)

-Kelly Reilly for The London Cuckolds (National Theatre)


  • First prize

-Rupert Penry-Jones for Don Carlos (RSC)

  • Nominations

-Ariyon Bakare for A Servant to Two Masters (RSC)

-Emma Cunniffe for The Master Builder (English Touring Theatre)

-Megan Dodds for Hamlet (Young Vic)

-Gabrielle Jourdan for The Merchant of Venice (National Theatre)

-Jude Law for 'Tis Pity She's a Whore (Young Vic)

-Aidan McArdle for a season at the RSC

-Patrick Moy for Macbeth (Royal Lyceum Theatre)

-Kirsten Parker for Twelfth Night (Theatr Clwyd)

-Claire Price for Don Carlos (RSC)

-Iain Robertson for The Mysteries (National Theatre)


  • First prize

-David Oyelowo for Henry VI (RSC)

  • Nominations

-Nancy Carroll, James O'Donnell and Joe Renton for Henry IV (RSC)

-Chiwetel Ejiofor for Romeo and Juliet (National Theatre)

-Martin Hutson for As You Like It (Crucible Theatre)

-Molly Innes for Electra (Theatre Babel)

-John Light and Justine Waddell for The Seagull (RSC)

-David Tennant for The Comedy of Errors (RSC)

-Sam Troughton for Henry VI (RSC)

-Zoe Waites for The White Devil (Lyric Hammersmith)


  • First prize

-Claire Price for The Relapse (National Theatre)

  • Second prize

-Zoe Waites for Twelfth Night (RSC)

  • Third prize

-James D'Arcy for Edward II (Crucible Theatre)

  • Nominations

-Claire Cox and John Hopkins for Julius Caesar (RSC)

-Benedict Cumberbatch for Love's Labour's Lost (Regent's Park Open Air Theatre)

-August Diehl and Johanna Wokalek for The Seagull (Edinburgh Festival)

-Martin Hutson for Ghosts (Comedy Theatre)

-Gerald Kyd and Kirsten Parker for Love's Labour's Lost (English Touring Theatre)

-Kevin Lennon for 'Tis Pity She's a Whore (Theatre Babel)

-Sam Troughton for Richard III (RSC)

-Zubin Varla for a season at the RSC

-Kaye Wragg for Uncle Vanya (Royal Exchange Theatre)


  • First prize

-Rebecca Hall for Mrs Warren's Profession[7] (Strand Theatre)

  • Second prize

-Daniel Evans for The Tempest (Crucible Theatre) and Ghosts[8] (English Touring Theatre)

  • Third prize

-Iain Robertson for The Tempest (Crucible Theatre)

  • Commendations

-Claire Price for The Tempest (Crucible Theatre)

-Nonso Anozie and Ryan Kiggell for King Lear (RSC)

-Nancy Carroll for King Lear (Almeida Theatre)

-Justin Avoth for A Midsummer Night's Dream (Royal Exchange Theatre)

-Lucy Black for Twelfth Night (Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory)

-Naomi Frederick for Three Sisters (Nuffield Theatre, Southampton)

-Dan Fredenburgh for The Prince of Homburg (RSC)

-Kananu Kirimi for Pericles(RSC)

-Sam Troughton for Tartuffe (National Theatre)


  • First prize

-Lisa Dillon for The Master Builder[9] (Almeida Theatre)

  • Second prize

-Louisa Clein for The Lady from the Sea (Almeida Theatre)

  • Third prize

-Eve Myles for Titus Andronicus and The Taming of the Shrew (RSC) [10]

  • Special Commendations

-Rebecca Hall for As You Like It (Peter Hall Company)

-Felicite du Jeu for Henry V (National Theatre)

  • Nominations

-Jamie Beamish for Two Gentlemen of Verona (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre)

-Kellie Bright, Emma Lowndes and Steven Robertson for The Seagull (Royal Exchange Theatre)

-Nancy Carroll for A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Crucible Theatre)

-Rory Kinnear for The Taming of the Shrew (RSC)

-Tobias Menzies for Three Sisters (Playhouse Theatre)

-Joseph Millson for As You Like It (Peter Hall Company)

-Paul Ready for The Comedy of Errors (Bristol Old Vic)


  • First prize

-Nonso Anozie for Othello (Cheek By Jowl)

  • Second prize

-Naomi Frederick for Measure For Measure (Complicite)

  • Third prize

-Ben Whishaw for Hamlet (Old Vic)

  • Special commendation

-David Nicolle for Ion (Mercury Theatre)

  • Commendations

-Jake Harders for Candida (Oxford Stage Company)

-Dan Stevens for As You Like It (Peter Hall Company)


  • First prize

-Mariah Gale for Twelfth Night (Regent's Park Open Air Theatre), Tis Pity She’s a Whore (Southwark Playhouse) and The Last Waltz (Arcola Theatre)

  • Second prize

-Sinead Matthews for The Wild Duck (Donmar Warehouse) and You Never Can Tell (Peter Hall Company)

  • Third prize

-Benedict Cumberbatch for Hedda Gabler (Almeida Theatre)

  • Commendations

-Peter Bramhill for Thomas More (RSC), -Michelle Dockery for Pillars of the Community (National Theatre)

-Edward Hogg for Woyczek (Gate Theatre)

-Rory Kinnear for Mary Stuart (Donmar Warehouse)

-James Loye for a season at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

-Lyndsey Marshal for The Hypochondriac (Almeida Theatre)

-Caitlin Mottram for A Midsummer Night's Dream (RSC)

-Nicholas Shaw for Easter (Oxford Stage Company)


  • First prize

-Andrea Riseborough for Measure For Measure and Miss Julie (Peter Hall Company)

  • Second prize

-Catherine Hamilton for The Madras House (Orange Tree Theatre)

  • Third prize

-Hattie Morahan for The Seagull (National Theatre) [11]

  • Nominations

-Bryan Dick and Amit Shah for The Alchemist (National Theatre)

-Trystan Gravelle for A Winter’s Tale (RSC)

-Tom Hiddleston for The Changeling (Cheek by Jowl)

-Sally Leonard for A Family Affair (Arcola Theatre), Laura Rees for Titus Andronicus (Shakespeare's Globe)

-Lex Shrapnel for Henry VI (RSC), Ony Uhiara for Pericles (RSC)

-Jodie Whittaker for Enemies (Almeida Theatre)


  • First prize

-Rory Kinnear for Philistines and The Man of Mode (National Theatre)[12]

  • Second prize

-Michelle Dockery, for Pygmalion (Peter Hall Company)

  • Third prize

-Tom Hiddleston, for Othello (Donmar Warehouse)

  • Special Commendations

-Edward Bennett for Diana of Dobson's (Orange Tree Theatre), Pygmalion (Peter Hall Company) and Othello (Donmar Warehouse)

  • Commendations

-Sam Crane for Othello (Shakespeare's Globe), and Ghosts (Bristol Old Vic)

-Gabriel Fleary for The Changling (English Touring Theatre)

Harry Hadden-Paton for Romeo and Juliet (Battersea Arts Centre)/ The Importance of Being Earnest (Peter Hall Company)

-Daniel Hawksford for Much Ado About Nothing (National Theatre)

-John Heffernan for King Lear (RSC)

-Richard Madden for Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare's Globe)

-Carey Mulligan for The Seagull (Royal Court Theatre)

-Pippa Nixon for The Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare's Globe)

-Amy Noble for Chains (Orange Tree Theatre)

-Claudia Renton for An Ideal Husband (Royal Exchange Theatre)

-Dominic Tighe for The Taming of the Shrew (Propeller)

-Tom Vaughan-Lawlor for Henry V (Royal Exchange Theatre)[13]


  • First prize

-Tom Burke for Creditors (Donmar Warehouse)

  • Second prize

-Edward Bennett for Love's Labour's Lost and Hamlet (RSC)

  • Third prize

-John Heffernan for Major Barbara (National Theatre)

  • Special commendations

-Mariah Gale for Hamlet (RSC)

-Tom Hiddleston & Andrea Riseborough for Ivanov (Wyndhams Theatre)

  • Commendations

-Charles Aitken for Othello (Frantic Assembly)

-David Ajala for a season at the RSC

-Hayley Atwell for Major Barbara (National Theatre)

-Beth Cooke for Three Sisters (Royal Exchange Theatre)

-Tom Davey for Hamlet (RSC)

-Natalie Dew for Twelfth Night (Regent's Park Open Air Theatre)

-Ryan Gage for A Midsummer Night’s Dream (RSC)

-Oliver Le Sueur for The Taming of the Shrew and Hamlet (Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory)

-Gwilym Lee for Oedipus (National Theatre)

-Ella Smith for Love’s Labour’s Lost (Rose Theatre)

-Alex Waldmann for Twelfth Night (Wyndhams Theatre)


  • First prize

-Ruth Negga for Phèdre (National Theatre)

  • Second prize

-Max Bennett for Measure for Measure (Theatre Royal, Plymouth/ Thelma Holt) and Mrs Warren's Profession (Theatre Royal, Bath)

  • Third prize

-Natalie Dew for As You Like It (Curve Theatre)

  • Special commendations as previous winners

-Mariah Gale for As You Like It (RSC)

-Rebecca Hall for The Winter’s Tale (Bridge Project at the Old Vic)

  • Nominations

-Hedydd Dylan for Pygmalion (Clwyd Theatr Cymru)

-Tracy Ifeachor for As You Like It (Curve Theatre)

-Max Irons for Wallenstein (Chichester Festival Theatre)

-Tunji Kasim for Julius Caesar (RSC)

-Vanessa Kirby for Ghosts (Octagon Theatre, Bolton)

-Keira Knightley for The Misanthrope (Comedy Theatre)

-Jack Laskey for As You Like It (Shakespeare’s Globe)

-Harry Lloyd for Ghosts (Arcola Theatre)

-John MacMillan for Macbeth (Royal Exchange Theatre)/ Rosencrantz in Hamlet (Wyndhams Theatre)

-David Ononokpono for As You Like It (Curve Theatre)

-Henry Pettigrew for Hamlet (Wyndhams Theatre)

-Prasanna Puwanarajah for Thyestes (Arcola Theatre)

-George Rainsford for All’s Well That Ends Well (National Theatre)

-Sam Swainsbury for A Midsummer Night’s Dream/ Salerio in The Merchant of Venice (Propeller)

-Ellie Turner for The School for Wives (Upstairs at the Gatehouse)


  • First prize

-Gwilym Lee as Edgar in King Lear (Donmar Warehouse)

  • Second prize

-Zawe Ashton for Salome (Headlong Theatre)

  • Third prize

-Vanessa Kirby for Women Beware Women (National Theatre), As You Like It(West Yorkshire Playhouse), and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Octagon Theatre)

  • Commendations

-Pippa Bennett-Warner for King Lear (Donmar Warehouse)

-Natalie Dormer for Sweet Nothings (Young Vic)

-Susannah Fielding for An Enemy of the People (Crucible Theatre)

-Melody Grove for The Important of Being Earnest (Royal Lyceum Theatre)

-Cush Jumbo for Pygmalion (Royal Exchange Theatre)

-Ferdinand Kingsley for Hamlet (National Theatre)

-James McArdle for Macbeth (Shakespeare’s Globe), and A Month in the Country (Chichester Festival Theatre)

-Jessica Raine for Ghosts (West End)

-Catrin Stewart for The Lady from the Sea (Royal Exchange Theatre)

-Joseph Timms for Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 (Shakespeare’s Globe)

-Charity Wakefield for The Rivals (Southwark Playhouse)

-Ashley Zhangazha for King Lear (Donmar Warehouse)[14]


  • First prize

-Cush Jumbo for "As You Like It" (Manchester Royal Exchange)

  • Second prize

-Damien Molony for "'Tis Pity She's A Whore" (West Yorkshire Playhouse)

  • Third prize

-Jodie McNee for "The Seagull" (Arcola)

  • Nominations

-Hiran Abeysekera for "Tartuffe" (English Touring Theatre)

-Jade Anouka for "Hamlet" (Shakespeare's Globe)

-Mark Arends for "Macbeth" (Liverpool Everyman)

-Sebastian Armesto for "A Woman Killed with Kindness" (National Theatre)

-John Heffernan for "Richard ll" (Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory)

-Ffion Jolly for "The Comedy Of Errors" (Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory)

-Ben Mansfield for "Twelfth Night" (National Theatre)

-Sam Marks for "Measure for Measure" (RSC)

-Matthew Needham for "Britannicus" (Wilton's Music Hall)

-Eddie Redmayne for "Richard ll" (Donmar Warehouse)

-Lara Rossi for "Emperor and Galilean" (National Theatre)

-Sara Vickers for "'Tis Pity She's A Whore" (West Yorkshire Playhouse)




  • Serena Hill - NT casting director
  • Peter Gill - former NT associate director
  • John Peter - Sunday Times drama critic




  • Francesca Annis - actress
  • Lindsay Posner - director
  • Toby Whale - NT casting director
  • John Peter - Sunday Times drama critic



External links[edit]