Ian Charleson Awards 2023 – Rilwan Abiola Owokoniran wins first prize

The winners of the annual Ian Charleson Awards have been announced.

This year’s 2023 award, which is formerly titled the Ian Charleson Award 2022, has been awarded to Rilwan Abiola Owokoniran for his performance as Algernon in English Touring Theatre’s The Importance of Being Earnest.

The Second Prize went to William Robinson for playing Nero in Britannicus at the Lyric Hammersmith; and the Third Prize went to Rosy McEwen for playing Desdemona in Othello at the National Theatre.

A prize-giving ceremony for the awards was held at the National Theatre, with guest of honour Joseph Fiennes handing out the awards.

The annual awards celebrate actors under 30 who have performed in a classical role, which is defined as a play written before 1918, and are in memory of the great actor Ian Charleson who died of AIDS in 1990, aged only 40.

This year’s other nominees included EastEnders actor and Strictly Come Dancing winner Rose Ayling-Ellis, for her performance in As You Like It at @sohoplace; Conor Glean for playing Dick in Henry VI Rebellion, Young Clifford in Henry VI War of the Roses, and Murderer in Richard III at the RSC; and Rosie Sheehy, for her roles in Richard III and All’s Well That Ends Well at the RSC.

The judges of this year’s awards included Robert Hastie, artistic director of Sheffield Theatres, Alastair Coomer, head of casting at the National Theatre, and actors Emma Fielding and Ashley Zhangazha.

Last year’s winner was Gloria Obianyo for her performance in Paradise at the National Theatre.

Previous winners are a roll call of successful stage and screen talent, including Andrea Riseborough, David Oyelowo, Cush Jumbo, Rory Kinnear, Rebecca Hall, and Tom Hollander. Past nominees include Michael Sheen, Jodie Whittaker, Benedict Cumberbatch, Adrian Lester, Helen McCrory, Jude Law, Damian Lewis, Hugh Bonneville, David Tennant, and Ben Whishaw.

The Ian Charleson Awards are supported by The Sunday Times and the National Theatre.

Ian Charleson Awards 2023 (for performances in 2022) – Full list of Winners and Nominees

Rose Ayling-Ellis, 28
As You Like It, @SohoPlace

Ralph Davis, 27
Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare’s Globe

Eben Figueiredo, 27
Much Ado About Nothing, National Theatre

Conor Glean, 27
Henry VI Rebellion, Henry VI War of the Roses, Richard III, RSC

Phoebe Horn, 22
Much Ado About Nothing, National Theatre

Mirren Mack, 24
Hamlet, Bristol Old Vic

Othello, National Theatre

Rilwan Abiola Owokoniran, 22 – FIRST PRIZE WINNER
The Importance of Being Earnest, English Touring Theatre

William Robinson, 27 – SECOND PRIZE WINNER
Britannicus, Lyric Hammersmith

Daniel Rock, 23
Richard II, Omnibus Theatre

Rosie Sheehy, 28
Richard III, All’s Well That Ends Well, RSC

Chanel Waddock, 26
Othello, Frantic Assembly

Claire Wetherall, 27
Much Ado About Nothing, Sheffield Theatres/Ramps on the Moon

Benjamin Wilson, 29
Much Ado About Nothing, Sheffield Theatres/Ramps on the Moon

Sunday Times - Ian Charleson Awards

📷 Main photo: Ian Charleson Awards 2023 - nominees including (left to right) Rose Ayling-Ellis, Eben Figueiredo, Abiola Owokoniran, and Rosie Sheehy

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