Zawe Ashton

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Zawe Ashton
Zawe Ashton 2013.jpg
Ashton in December 2013
Born Zawedde Ashton
(1984-07-21) 21 July 1984 (age 30)
Hackney, London, England
Occupation Actress, playwright
Years active 1995–present

Zawedde "Zawe" Ashton[1] (/ˈzæw/;[2] born 21 July 1984) is an English actress and playwright, best known for portraying Imani in Gone Too Far!, Bianca in St. Trinian's 2: The Legend of Fritton's Gold, and Vod in the Channel 4 comedy series Fresh Meat.

Early life[edit]

Ashton was born in Hackney, London, the eldest of three children born to an Ugandan mother, Victoria,[3] and an English father, Paul Ashton, both teachers (her father later worked for Channel 4 in educational programming). Her maternal grandfather was Ugandan President and Prime Minister Paulo Muwanga.[4] She attended the Anna Scher Theatre School and was a member of the National Youth Theatre. She studied at the City and Islington College, then at the Manchester Metropolitan University School of Theatre, where she gained a degree in acting.[5][6]



Ashton attended the Anna Scher Theatre after school junior classes and later became a member of the Anna Scher YPs (Young Professionals). She started improvised acting at the age of six due to her confidence, social skills and creativity.[5]

Her television work includes Holby City, The Bill, NCS: Manhunt, Casualty, The Crust, and Misfits. In 2011, Ashton starred in the Channel 4 comedy Fresh Meat playing the part of Vod. She also was in a BBC 2 science show as one of the three curious children.

Her theatre credits include Rhinoceros, The Arsonists, Gone Too Far! (Royal Court), Othello (Globe Theatre), Frontline (Globe Theatre), All The Little Things We Crushed (Almeida ), This Wide Night (Soho Theatre), The Cage (Nuffield Theatre Company, Southampton) and Michael Frayn's comedy Here at the Rose Theatre, Kingston. In June 2010 Ashton was awarded 2nd prize at the Ian Charleson Awards for her classical performance in Salome (Headlog Theatre).

In 2009, she appeared in St. Trinian's II: The Legend of Fritton's Gold. Two years later she appeared alongside Jason Statham in the film Blitz[7] and Jason Isaacs in the television adaptation of Kate Atkinson's Case Histories. In 2011, Ashton starred in the BBC Christmas show Lapland.[8][9] She also starred as Joyce Carol Vincent in the film Dreams of a Life in the same year, for which she was nominated in the Most Promising Newcomer category at the 2012 British Independent Film Awards.

Ashton was named in May 2010 as one of the "55 faces of the future" by Nylon magazine's Young Hollywood Issue. In October 2012, she was awarded the "Ultimate Newcomer" trophy by Cosmopolitan magazine at their Women of the Year awards.[10] In November 2012 Ashton picked up the Creative Diversity Network Award for Best Breakthrough On-Screen Talent for her role as Vod in the BAFTA-nominated Channel 4 hit Fresh Meat. In 2013 Ashton added yet another award to her name as winner of the Screen Nation Awards for Female Performance in a Film 2012/2013, a recognition for her lead role performance in Dreams of a Life.


Ashton began entering poetry slams at the age of seventeen,[5] and won the London Poetry Slam Championship in 2000.[11] In 2006 she was Young Writer in Residence at the Contact Theatre in Manchester.[11] Her first play, Harm's Way, was shortlisted for the Verity Bargate Award in 2007,[5] and premiered at the Lowry, Salford in 2008 as part of National Youth Theatre’s new writing season. Her other plays have included Skunk, performed by the National Youth Theatre, Soho Theatre and "She from the Sea" performed at The Lift. Ashton was co-writer of, Bush Futures Programme. One of her plays, For all Those Women who Thought they were Mad was selected to be part of the Royal Court Playwriting Festival in 2009.[6][11] Ashton contributed to the writing of The Children's Monologues adapted from over 300 original stories by Tswana, Zulu and Sesotho children in South Africa and presented by Dramatic Need in 2010. She is currently under commission to the Bush Theatre and the Clean Break theatre company.[12]

Ashton was named as one of Screen International's Stars of Tomorrow 2009.[12]


Year Title Role
2009 St. Trinian's II: The Legend of Fritton's Gold Bianca
2011 Blitz WPC Elizabeth Falls
2011 Weekender Sarah
2011 Dreams of a Life Joyce Vincent
Year Title Role Notes
1995 Game On Little Girl
1 episode
2003 Holby City Abigail Meredith 1 episode
2007 Mobile Eyewitness 1 episode
2008 The Bill Becka Adams 1 episode
2009 Casualty Gina 1 episode
2010 Sherlock Sally Donavan 1 episode (unaired pilot)
2010 Misfits Jessica 1 episode
2011–present Case Histories Deborah Arnold 8 episodes
2011–present Fresh Meat Violet "Vod" Nordstrom Main cast
24 episodes
2011 Lapland Jingle Jill 1 episode
2014 Doctor Who Journey Blue 1 episode (Series 8 Episode 2: Into the Dalek).
2015 Not Safe For Work Katherine 6 episodes


  1. ^ Gilbert, Gerard (29 September 2012). "Zawe Ashton: 'The views expressed here are not my own'". The Independent. Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  2. ^ "The cast of Fresh Meat at the Cosmopolitan Ultimare Women Awards 2011". YouTube. 4 November 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  3. ^ Adewummi, Bim (4 November 2013). "Fresh Meat's Zawe Ashton, AKA Vod, is the coolest thing on TV right now". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  4. ^ "Zawe, actress of Ugandan descent, scales Hollywood". Ugandan Observer. 1 March 2012. Retrieved 5 April 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c d Williams, Karla (June 2009). "ATN Interview with Zawe Ashton, The Frontline". Afridiziak Theatre News. Retrieved 17 August 2009. 
  6. ^ a b Bourke, Kevin (28 March 2008). "Into Harm's Way". City Life. Retrieved 17 August 2009. 
  7. ^ "Full Casting for Recently Completed 'Blitz'". 13 October 2009. 
  8. ^ "BBC One commissions new six part comedy series, Lapland". BBC. BBC Online. 4 October 2012. Retrieved 21 December 2012. 
  9. ^ Catherine Morshead (director), Rosemary McGowan (producer) (24 December 2011). "Lapland (24 December 2011)". Lapland. BBC. BBC One. 
  10. ^ Dadds, Kimberley (31 October 2012). "Cosmopolitan Awards: Zawe Ashton shows off her winning assets in daring plunging gown". Daily Mail. Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  11. ^ a b c Agency Listing - Zawe Ashton The Rod Hall Agency Limited. Retrieved on 17 August 2009.
  12. ^ a b Zawe Ashton | Features | Screen Retrieved on 17 August 2009.

External links[edit]