The National Theatre and The Sunday Times have announced the finalists for the 2019 Ian Charleson Awards.
Celebrating exceptional classical stage performances (defined as written pre-1918) by an actor under 30 years of age, nominees include Hammed Animashaun, Isis Hainsworth and Kit Young for their performances in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Bridge Theatre, and Ronke Adekoluejo and Rachel Ofori for performances in the National’s production of Three Sisters.
Heledd Gwynn is nominated for the second year in a row for Hedda in Hedda Gabler and Ratcliffe in Richard III for Headlong.
The annual awards were established in 1991 to commemorate the late Scottish actor Ian Charleson, who performed numerous Shakespearian roles, and is well remembered for his performance of Hamlet shortly before his death at age 40.
Winners and nominees for the little known awards have often gone on to hugely successful careers in stage, tv and film, with past winners including Damian Lewis (Billions), Dominic West (The Wire), Ruth Negga (Preacher), Tom Hollander (Rev), David Oyelowo (A United Kingdom) , Andrea Riseborough (The Death of Stalin), Cush Jumbo (The Good Fight) and Cynthia Erivo (The Color Purple).
The awards are normally announced at a reception at the National Theatre in London, however due to covid-19 this year’s reception has been cancelled.
The shortlist in full:
Ronke Adekoluejo for Abosede in Three Sisters at the National Theatre
Hammed Animashaun for Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Bridge Theatre
Kitty Archer for Mariane in Tartuffe at the National Theatre
Eben Figueiredo for Christian in Cyrano de Bergerac at Jamie Lloyd Company at the Playhouse
Heledd Gwynn for Hedda in Hedda Gabler at the Sherman Theatre, Cardiff and Hastings and Ratcliffe in Richard III for Headlong
Isis Hainsworth for Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Bridge Theatre
Ebony Jonelle for Rosalind in As You Like It for the National Theatre Public Acts/Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch
Ioanna Kimbook for Cariola in The Duchess of Malfi at the Almeida
Racheal Ofori for Udo in Three Sisters at the National Theatre
Billy Postlethwaite for Macbeth in Macbeth at the Watermill Theatre
Ekow Quartey for Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Shakespeare’s Globe
Kit Young for Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Bridge Theatre