Samuel Barnett (actor)

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Samuel Barnett
Born (1980-04-25) 25 April 1980 (age 34)
Whitby, North Yorkshire, England[1]
Occupation Actor
Years active 2001–present

Samuel Barnett (born 25 April 1980) is an English actor. He has performed on stage, film, television and radio, and achieved recognition for his work on the stage and film versions of The History Boys by Alan Bennett. His most recent television performance was in the BBC comedy Twenty Twelve.

Early life[edit]

Barnett is from London,[2] but was brought up in Whitby in North Yorkshire, England. He started performing at an early age, and studied acting at LAMDA.[3] Barnett's father is Jewish, and his paternal grandparents emigrated from Poland; his mother is a Quaker.[2][4][5] He has described himself as "non-denominational".[6] Barnett is one of five children.


Barnett appeared in the original London stage production of Alan Bennett's play The History Boys, as well as in the New York, Sydney, Wellington and Hong Kong productions and radio and film versions of the play.[7][8][9][10] He had been involved in The History Boys from its very first reading.[11]

In 2009 he played John Everett Millais in the BBC series Desperate Romantics, and Joseph Severn in the film Bright Star.

He appeared at the National Theatre in Women Beware Women by Thomas Middleton which ran from 20 April – 4 July 2010. From July 2012, he appeared in an all-male-cast as Queen Elizabeth in Shakespeare's Richard III at the Globe Theatre in London alongside Mark Rylance in the title role, also playing the role of Sebastian in Twelfth Night. The production transferred to the Apollo Theatre in the West End, opening 2 November 2012 and running for a limited engagement.[12] Both Twelfth Night and Richard III transferred to Broadway in 2013 and played at the Belasco Theatre until February 2014. In the Broadway productions, Barnett is reprising his role as Elizabeth Woodville in Richard III and taking on the role of Viola (previously played by Johnny Flynn in London) in Twelfth Night.[13]

Recognition and awards[edit]

Barnett was nominated for Evening Standard Award as Most Promising Newcomer for his role in The Marriage of Figaro in 2002. He won Best Newcomer & Best Supporting Actor in a play at the Theatregoers Choice Awards for his work on the original West End production of The History Boys.[7] He was nominated for the 29th annual Olivier Award for Performance in a Supporting Role.[14] He won a 2006 Drama Desk Award and was nominated for a 2006 Tony Award for his work on the Broadway production.[15][16]

Barnett was nominated for the 2006 British Independent Film Award for Most Promising Newcomer (On Screen) for his work on the film version of The History Boys.[17]

In 2014, Barnett received a nomination for a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for his work in Twelfth Night.

Selected credits[edit]


Year Title Role Theatre Notes
2001 The Desires of Frankenstein[1] Open Air Theatre, London
2002 The Accrington Pals[1] Reggie Minerva Theatre, Chichester
The Marriage of Figaro[1] Cherubino Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
2003 Wotcha Will Stratford Circus, London
2003-4 His Dark Materials Pantalaimon Olivier Theatre, Royal National Theatre, South Bank
2004 Songs of Innocence and Experience Royal National Theatre, South Bank poetry reading
Notes From New York Arts Theatre, Westminster gala
2004-6 The History Boys Posner Lyttelton Theatre, Royal National Theatre, South Bank (2004–5)

Lyric Theatre, The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (2006)

St. James Theatre, Wellington (2006)

Sydney Theatre, Sydney (2006)

Broadhurst Theatre, Broadway (2006)

2005 Yellowing Jermyn Street Theatre, West End showcase
After The Fire Olivier Theatre, Royal National Theatre, South Bank rehearsed reading
When You Cure Me[1] Peter Bush Theatre, London
2007 Dealer's Choice Carl Menier Chocolate Factory, London

Trafalgar Studios, West End

2008 Mathilde – The Musical Vaudeville Theatre, London showcase
2010 The Whisky Taster[18] Bush Theatre, London
Women Beware Women[19] Leantio Olivier Theatre, Royal National Theatre, South Bank
2011 Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead Rosencrantz Chichester Festival Theatre and Theatre Royal Haymarket With Jamie Parker, fellow 'History Boy'
The Way of the World Witwoud Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
2012 Richard III Elizabeth Woodville Shakespeare's Globe and Apollo Theatre
Twelfth Night Sebastian Shakespeare's Globe and Apollo Theatre
2013 Richard III Elizabeth Woodville Belasco Theatre
Twelfth Night Viola Belasco Theatre


Year Title Role Station Notes
2005 Fighting for Words[20][21] Thomas Moynihan BBC Radio 4
2006 The History Boys[22] Posner BBC Radio 3 Drama on 3
When You Cure Me[23] Peter BBC Radio 3 Drama on 3
2007 Down and Out in Paris and London[24] George Orwell BBC Radio 4
You're Dead[25] narrator BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Reading
2008 The Babington Plot[26] Thomas Salisbury BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Play
2009 Dear Mr Spectator[27] coffee-boy BBC Radio 4 mini-series
Joan of Arc, and How She Became a Saint[28] Dauphin of France BBC Radio 4 The Saturday Play
Turing's Test[29] Alan Turing
2010 Translations[30] Yolland BBC Radio 4 The Saturday Play
I, Claudius[31] Caligula BBC Radio 4 mini-series
2011 My Week With Marilyn Colin Clark (narrator) BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week
2013 Sometimes into the Arms of God[32] Cecil Beaton BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Drama

Audio drama[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2009 The Beast of Orlok (Doctor Who: The 8th Doctor Adventures) Hans Big Finish


Year Title Role Network Notes
2001 Coupling sex shop assistant BBC Series 2 Episode 2 "My Dinner in Hell"
2002 The Inspector Lynley Mysteries Brian Byrne BBC Series 1 Episode 1 "Well-Schooled in Murder"
2002-3 Strange Doddington BBC pilot + series
2003 Doctors Charlie Ambrose BBC Series 5 Episode 153 "All an Illusion"
The Royal Joe Steeples ITV Series 3 Episode 5 "Poison"
2007 American Experience Philip Hamilton's schoolmate PBS Series 19, Episode 15 "Alexander Hamilton"
Wilfred Owen: A Remembrance Tale Wilfred Owen BBC
2008 John Adams Thomas Boylston Adams HBO
Beautiful People Adult Simon Doonan / narrator BBC
Crooked House Billy BBC
2009 Desperate Romantics John Millais BBC
Beautiful People: Series 2 Adult Simon Doonan / narrator BBC
2011 Marple[33] Sergeant Tiddler ITV The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side
Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps Leonard BBC
2012 Twenty Twelve Danny BBC
Shakespeare in Italy Romeo Montague BBC


Year Title Role
2005 Mrs Henderson Presents Paul
2006 The History Boys Posner
2009 Bright Star Joseph Severn


Year Title Notes
2006 The History Boys performer: L'Accordéoniste, Bewitched, Bye Bye Blackbird


  1. ^ a b c d e "20 Questions With...Samuel Barnett". Retrieved 14 August 2009. 
  2. ^ a b Tugend, Tom. "Working-class lads vie for Oxford in 'History Boys'". Retrieved 9 November 2006. 
  3. ^ "Samuel Barnett, Fresh Face: Buzz". Retrieved 18 October 2006. 
  4. ^ "'History' on His Side". Retrieved 13 October 2006. 
  5. ^ "Loose Lips". Retrieved 13 October 2006. 
  6. ^ "Samuel Barnett: first the Olympics, now for a run in the West End". 
  7. ^ a b "National Theatre : Productions : The History Boys 2004". Retrieved 13 October 2006. 
  8. ^ "The History Boys – Arts Reviews – Arts – Entertainment". The Sydney Morning Herald. 9 March 2006. Retrieved 13 October 2006. 
  9. ^ "John Smythe: theatre reviews: NZIAF-THE HISTORY BOYS: More is more". Retrieved 14 October 2006. [dead link]
  10. ^ "Genesis Foundation – Samuel Barnett (Class of 2001)". Retrieved 14 October 2006. 
  11. ^ Bennett, Alan; Hytner, Nicholas (2006). The History Boys The Film. London: Forelake Ltd. p. viii. ISBN 0-571-23173-X. 
  12. ^ "Twelfth Night Overview". 
  13. ^ Shakespeare on Broadway Shakespeare on Broadway.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  14. ^ Wolf, Matt (23 January 2005). "Big musicals score lion's share of Olivier noms". Variety. Retrieved 13 October 2006. 
  15. ^ "2006 – Drama Desk Awards – Press Releases". Archived from the original on 12 October 2006. Retrieved 13 October 2006. 
  16. ^ "The American Theatre Wing's Tony Awards – Official Website by IBM". Retrieved 13 October 2006. 
  17. ^ "British Independent Film Awards Announce Nominations". 26 October 2006. Archived from the original on 28 April 2007. Retrieved 11 November 2006. 
  18. ^ "The Whisky Taster Reviews at the Bush Theatre". Retrieved 22 March 2010. 
  19. ^ "Productions: Women Beware Women". Retrieved 22 March 2010. 
  20. ^ "Fighting for Words radio listing". Retrieved 14 August 2009. 
  21. ^ Daoust, Phil (28 January 2005). "Pick of the day". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 14 August 2009. 
  22. ^ "BBC Radio 3 – Drama on 3 – The History Boys". Retrieved 14 August 2009. 
  23. ^ "BBC Radio 3 – Drama on 3 – When You Cure Me". Retrieved 14 August 2009. 
  24. ^ "BBC – Radio 4 – the Classic Serial". Retrieved 20 April 2007. 
  25. ^ "BBC Radio 4 – Afternoon Reading – You're Dead". Retrieved 14 August 2009. 
  26. ^ "LocateTV – The Babington Plot". Retrieved 14 August 2009. 
  27. ^ "BBC Radio 4 – Dear Mr Spectator". Retrieved 14 August 2009. 
  28. ^ "BBC Radio 4 – The Saturday Play – Joan of Arc, and How She Became a Saint". Retrieved 14 August 2009. 
  29. ^ "The Independent Online". Retrieved October 2009. 
  30. ^ "BBC Radio 4 – The Saturday Play – Translations". Retrieved 4 September 2010. 
  31. ^ "BBC Radio 4 – I, Claudius". Retrieved 12 December 2010. 
  32. ^ "BBC Radio 4 – Afternoon Drama – James Lees-Milne". Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  33. ^ "Stellar casting for new Marple film (ITV press release, 05.08.2009)". Retrieved 16 August 2009. 

External links[edit]