Paapa Essiedu has won the 2016 Ian Charleson award for his performances in Hamlet and King Lear at the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Essiedu won first prize for the title role in Hamlet, the first black actor to play the role at the RSC. He was also commended for his role as Edmund in King Lear. Essiedu was previously nominated RSC production of The Merry Wives of Windsor in 2012.

Jessica Brown Findlay, nominated for a second consecutive year won second prize for her Sonya in Uncle Vanya at the Almeida.

Third prize went to Fisayo Akinade – previously nominated for Transport Theatre’s 2013 production of As You Like It – for his performance of The Dauphin in Saint Joan at the Donmar Warehouse.

The Ian Charleson Awards were created in 1991, in memory of the much-loved actor, who died in 1990 at the age of 40; they reward actors under 30 in a classical role. The first prize is £5000; second prize £2000; and Third prize £500.

The shortlist also included James Corrigan, Emma Curtis, Marcus Griffiths, Felicity Huxley-Miners, Francesca Mills, Marc Rhys, Natalie Simpson, Ewan Somers, Marli Siu, Joanna Vanderham and Paksie Vernon.

The awards were presented at a ceremony at the National Theatre.

Previous winners include James McArdle (2015) – now playing in Angels In America at the National Theatre, Cush Jumbo (2011), Andrea Riseborough (2006), Rebecca Hall (2002), David Oyelowo (2000), Claudie Blakley (1999), Toby Stephens (1994) and Tom Hollander (1992).