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James McArdle

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James McArdle
McArdle at the Mary Queen of Scots premiere in 2019
James John McArdle

(1989-04-03) 3 April 1989 (age 35)
Alma materRoyal Academy of Dramatic Art
Years active2010–present

James John McArdle[1] (born 3 April 1989) is a Scottish actor. He won the Ian Charleson Award for his role as Mikhail Platonov in Platonov and was nominated for an Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for portraying Louis Ironson in Angels in America.

Early life[edit]

McArdle was born in Glasgow, growing up in the city's Darnley neighbourhood[2] and attending St Ninian's High School, Giffnock.[3] As a child he attended PACE Theatre Company in nearby Paisley.[4][5] Having worked as a child actor in films, at 17 he made the decision to travel by bus to London to train as a professional without informing his parents;[2] he was accepted to RADA after initially fluffing his audition lines but managing to return and impress the selectors.[6][3] He left the course towards its end in 2010, and in the same year he appeared in Macbeth at The Globe and starred in the summer smash hit Spur of the Moment by Anya Reiss at the Royal Court Theatre in London. He was also well received in his role in A Month in the Country by Ivan Turgenev at the Chichester Festival Theatre.[citation needed]


McArdle as his Chariots of Fire character at the 2012 Summer Olympics torch relay

In 2011, McArdle played the role of Agathon in Emperor and Galilean by Henrik Ibsen at the National Theatre. He was also Robin Hood in the 2011 RSC production of The Legend, adapted by Ella Hickson.

In 2012, he starred as Harold Abrahams in Chariots of Fire, Mike Bartlett's stage adaptation of the film of the same title, which opened at London's Hampstead Theatre on 9 May and transferred to the West End on 23 June, running through to 5 January 2013.

He portrayed King James I of Scotland in Rona Munro's King James I, which was performed at the National Theatre and the Edinburgh International Festival in 2014.

In 2016, McArdle won the Ian Charleson Award for his 2015 performance as Platonov in Platonov at the Chichester Festival Theatre[7]

In 2017, McArdle's performance as Louis Ironson in Angels in America at the National Theatre Lyttleton in London earned him a nomination for the Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.[8][9] In March 2018 he stayed with the production when it transferred to Broadway for an 18-week engagement at the Neil Simon Theatre and was nominated for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Play.[10][11]



Year Title Role Location Ref(s)
2010 Macbeth Malcolm The Globe [12]
Spur of the Moment Daniel Mast Royal Court Theatre [13]
A Month in the Country Aleksei Belyaev Chichester Festival Theatre [14]
2011 Emperor and Galilean Agathon National Theatre [15]
The Heart of Robin Hood Robin Hood Royal Shakespeare Company [16]
2012 Chariots of Fire Harold Abrahams Hampstead Theatre [17]
Gielgud Theatre
2014 James I: The Key Will Keep The Lock James I of Scotland National Theatre [18]
Edinburgh International Festival
National Theatre of Scotland
2015 Platonov Mikhail Platonov Chichester Festival Theatre [19]
Ivanov Yevgeni Lvov
2016 Platonov Mikhail Platonov National Theatre
Ivanov Yevgeni Lvov
2017 Angels in America Louis Ironson National Theatre [20]
2018 Neil Simon Theatre
2019 Peer Gynt Peer Gynt National Theatre [21]
2021 The Tragedy of Macbeth Macbeth Almeida Theatre [22]


Year Title Role Notes
2011 Appropriate Adult Stephen West 2 episodes
Page Eight Ted Finch Television film
2013 Love and Marriage Charlie McCallister 6 episodes
2014 New Worlds Will Blood Miniseries
Salting the Battlefield Ted Finch Television film
Turks & Caicos Television film
37 Days Alec Miniseries
2017 Man in an Orange Shirt Thomas March Television film
2021 Mare of Easttown Deacon Mark Burton Miniseries
2022 Life After Life Hugh Todd 4 episodes
2022 Andor Timm Karlo 3 episodes
2024 Sexy Beast Gal Dove Main cast
TBA Playing Nice Miles In production[23]


Year Title Role Notes
2012 Private Peaceful Lieutenant Buckland
2014 '71 Sergeant Mark McGowen
2015 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Niv Lek
2016 On The Road Joe
The Chamber Parks
2018 Mary Queen of Scots James Stewart, Earl of Moray
2020 Ammonite Roderick Murchison
TBA Four Mothers In post-production[24]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Work Result
2010 Ian Charleson Awards Special Commendation Macbeth Nominated
A Month in the Country Nominated
Evening Standard Awards Outstanding Newcomer Spur of the Moment Nominated
2015 Ian Charleson Awards 1st Place Platonov Won
2016 Evening Standard Awards Best Actor Nominated
2018 Laurence Olivier Awards Best Actor in a Supporting Role Angels in America Nominated
Theatre World Award Won
Drama League Awards Distinguished Performance Nominated
Drama Desk Awards Best Actor in a Play Nominated
2019 h100 Awards Theatre & Performance Peter Gynt Nominated


  1. ^ "Statutory registers". Scotland's People. National Records of Scotland and the Court of the Lord Lyon.
  2. ^ a b Scots actor James McArdle tells how roughing it in London slum helped him with role as King James I in new stage show, Daily Record, 18 May 2014
  3. ^ a b 'I won’t let a bunch of posh boys stop me': Angels In America co-star James McArdle on theatrical class war, the trouble with 'gay plays' and why he owes it all to his Glasgow granny The Herald, 16 July 2017
  4. ^ Star of stage and screen, and new pace patron, James McArdle reveals Paisley location of Scotland’s first dedicated young people's theatre, Renfrewshire News, 24 January 2020
  5. ^ Paisley's PACE is leading the way by opening Scotland's first dedicated children and young people's theatre, Daily Record, 24 January 2020
  6. ^ James McArdle - from drama school drop-out to sitcom star, Evening Times, 4 June 2013
  7. ^ Snow, Georgia (24 June 2016). "James McArdle wins 2015 Ian Charleson award". The Stage. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  8. ^ Billington, Michael (4 May 2017). "Angels in America review – Garfield and Lane excel in Kushner's surreal epic". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  9. ^ Stage, Guardian (6 March 2018). "Olivier awards 2018: complete list of nominations". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  10. ^ Hetrick, Adam (28 May 2018). "Angels in America, Starring Nathan Lane and Andrew Garfield, Opens on Broadway March 25". Playbill. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  11. ^ Cox, Gordon (26 April 2018). "'Carousel,' 'SpongeBob SquarePants' Lead 2018 Drama Desk Nominations (Full List)". Variety. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  12. ^ "Macbeth". The Globe. 21 August 2010. Archived from the original on 31 December 2010.
  13. ^ "Spur of the Moment". The Royal Court Theatre. 21 August 2010.
  14. ^ "A Month in the Country". Chichester Festival Theatre. Archived from the original on 23 November 2011.
  15. ^ "Emperor and Galilean". Royal National Theatre. Archived from the original on 10 July 2012.
  16. ^ "The Heart of Robin Hood". RSC. Archived from the original on 15 February 2012.
  17. ^ "Chariots of Fire". Hampstead Theatre. 2012.
  18. ^ "The James Plays". National Theatre of Scotland. 2014.
  19. ^ "Young Chekhov: Three-play day". Royal National Theatre. 2016.
  20. ^ "London's Angels in America Will Transfer to Broadway". Playbill. 7 September 2017.
  21. ^ "Autumn Press Conference: 2019 and Beyond". Royal National Theatre. 2018.
  22. ^ "The Tragedy of Macbeth". Almeida Theatre. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
  23. ^ Kanter, Jake (21 November 2023). "'Happy Valley' Star James Norton To Headline ITV, StudioCanal Baby Swap Series 'Playing Nice'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 21 November 2023.
  24. ^ "Screen Ireland announces film and TV projects for 2024". RTE. 24 January 2024. Retrieved 24 January 2024.

External links[edit]