Paapa Essiedu (middle) at the 2016 Hay Festival
|Born||1990 (age 28–29)|
Paapa Essiedu (born 1990) is a British actor. He is known for his work in theatre, though he has also worked in film and television. He won the 2016 Ian Charleson Award for his title role in Hamlet and Edmund in King Lear, both at the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Born in 1990, Essiedu grew up in East London with his mother, who was a fashion and design teacher. His family comes from Ghana, where he has a half-brother and half-sister. He won a scholarship to Forest School, Walthamstow and despite being active in sports teams and theatrical productions his ambition as he grew older was to become a doctor. Essiedu became more involved with Shakespeare when he was accepted into the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He takes inspiration from his favourite actors: Mark Rylance, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Simon Russell Beale, David Thewlis, and Gary Oldman.
Essiedu joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2012 to play Fenton in Phillip Breen's production of The Merry Wives of Windsor. Afterwards, he went to the National Theatre, playing Burgundy and understudying Edmund in Sam Mendes’ production of King Lear. When Sam Troughton lost his voice during a performance, Essiedu stepped in and played the role to critical acclaim. He has acted in Outside on the Street (Pleasance Theatre), Black Jesus (Finborough Theatre), Romeo and Juliet (Tobacco Factory), You For Me For You (Royal Court), and most recently the title role in Hamlet and Edmund in King Lear, both at the (Royal Shakespeare Company). The judges described his Hamlet as one the audience listened to "completely still", and they noted that as an actor he could turn on a sixpence – sweet, playful and flirtatious one minute, and fiercely intelligent the next. "Like all great actors", a judge noted, he "made all the lines his own". His Edmund in King Lear was noted for his chilling contempt and cynicism.
Essiedu has set up a theatre company, Invertigo, with Steffan Donnelly, Tim Bowie and Sion Alun Davies.
|2015||Romeo and Juliet||Romeo|
|2015||You For Me For You||Wade|
|2018||Hamlet – RSC Tour||Hamlet|
|2013||Utopia||Roy||- Episode #1.4 (2013)
- Episode #1.1 (2013)
|2015||Not Safe For Work||Paul||- Episode #1.5 (2015)|
|2016||A Midsummer Night's Dream||Demetrius|
|2017||Murder on the Orient Express||Young Policeman|
|2018||Black Earth Rising||Jaalen||- Episode #1.1|
Paapa appeared as Tunde in the BBC Radio 3 drama As Innocent As You Can Get (2016) by Rex Obano.
- Hawkins, Helen. "Paapa Essiedu wins the Ian Charleson award 2016". Sunday Times. 11 June 2017.
- Snow, Georgia. "Paapa Essiedu wins 2016 Ian Charleson award". The Stage. 6 June 2017.
- "Ian Charleson Awards 2016". WestEndTheatre.com. 6 June 2017.
- Kellaway, Interview by Kate (13 March 2016). "Paapa Essiedu: You can't live with your heart on your sleeve". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
- Beaumont-Thomas, Ben (23 January 2014). "Actor loses voice on stage during Sam Mendes's King Lear". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
- "As Innocent As You Can Get, Drama on 3 - BBC Radio 3". BBC.