THE IAN CHARLESON AWARDS

Ambassadors of the imagination

This page was originally created by, and is the property of, dramaddict@aol.com.
When it disappeared from the Internet, I had it saved, and so I am posting it here, but I take no credit for the work involved in creating it. Likewise, many of the links and photographs don't work. Nor, to my knowledge, does dramaddict's e-mail, whom I did try to contact before using the page.-Ailis, RTWM, 4 February 00.
Tom Hollander from Almeida programme

1992


TOM HOLLANDER


Lyric, Hammersmith
WAY OF THE WORLD
Emma Fielding from Almeida programme

1993


EMMA FIELDING


Almeida
SCHOOL FOR WIVES
Toby Stephens as Royal Shakespeare Company's CORIOLANUS

1994


TOBY STEPHENS


Royal Shakespeare Company
CORIOLANUS
Lucy Whybrow photo from  National Theatre programme of ARCADIA

1995


LUCY WHYBROW


Royal Shakespeare Company
ROMEO AND JULIET
Alexandra Gilbreath photo from English Touring Theatre programme of HEDDA GABLER

1996


ALEXANDRA GILBREATH


English Touring Theatre
HEDDA GABLER
Mark Bazeley photo from English Touring Theatre programme of THE SEAGULL

1997


MARK BAZELEY



English Touring Theatre
THE SEAGULL
Dominic West from Peter Hall Company's THE SEAGULL

1997


DOMINIC WEST



Peter Hall Company
THE SEAGULL
Claudie Blakley from Oxford Stage Company's THREE SISTERS

1998


CLAUDIE BLAKLEY



West Yorkshire Playhouse
THE SEAGULL
Finalists - 1997
WINNERS 1991-1999Finalists - 1993Finalists - 1994Finalists - 1995 Finalists - 1998

JOHN PETER announces the fourth
Sunday Times-Royal National Theatre
Ian Charleson Awards for young actors


THE SUNDAY TIMES, January 30, 1994



The fourth annual Sunday Times-Royal National Theatre Awards will be presented at a lunch at the Royal National Theatre on Tuesday, March 8. The award is for the best performances in classical roles for actors and actresses under 30 in Britain. Classical roles here mean roles in plays written up until 1904, the year Chekhov died. The first prize is #5,000; the second prize #1,500; the third prize #500. The guest of honour presenting the prizes will be Sir Peter Hall, founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company and former director of the National Theatre. My fellow judges this year are Jane Lapotaire, currently appearing in the great RSC production of Ghosts; Serena Hill, casting director of the Royal National Theatre; and Nicholas Wright, playwright and director, and one of the National's associate directors.
The award commemorates Ian Charleson, who died of Aids, aged 40, just four years ago while playing Hamlet in Richard Eyre's production at the Olivier. No one who saw Charleson's performance is likely to forget it. He was a bright, shining Prince facing an inevitable darkness. The dynamic, elegant, precise delivery, a frisky but melancholy humour laced with sardonic venom, the poised, virile, athletic command of the vast stage, were hiding a body holding on to its last ounces of strength with a precarious, but determined, ferocity. Actors who worked with him say he was so weak that the slightest push might have toppled him over; but to the unknowing spectator none of that was apparent. I knew that Charleson had been ill but had no inkling of the nature of his illness; yet I sensed, as I believe did most people in that packed house, that when he spoke of special providence in the fall of a sparrow, of the inevitable approach of that fell sargeant death, he spoke as someone who saw and understood the imminent end.
The point about Charleson was that he reached greatness too late. Ian McKellen said about him that he played Hamlet like someone who had rehearsed the role all his life; and in his last weeks Charleson realised that his future, if he should have one, ought to lie with the great Shakespearian roles. Looking back, Charleson's short life seems to have been an unselfconscious preparation for such greatness; and yet, after his huge success in Chariots of Fire, he waited, with strong but decreasing hope, for the call of Hollywood and the Big Break. It never came. That was Hollywood's loss.
The Ian Charleson Award honours the actor whose name it bears. But it also warns young actors to be firm with themselves and guard their priorities.
Classical acting is the bedrock of the theatre. The classical actor lives in two worlds simultaniously: the world of the past in which his play is set, and the world of the present for which he is playing. He is an ambassador of the mind and the imaginatiion, charged with representing the ideas of the past to the country called the present, and he has to take care that we in the present understand his mission. He has to be able to speak a language of both.
This year's shortlist for the Ian Charleson Award, like the three previous shorlists, has been drawn up with an eye to promise, achievement and technique. In our view, clarity and precision of speech are the indespensable foundation of all acting. An actor who does not speak well is like an electric light which blinks: you know that there is something to see, but you cannot make it out. The other main factor, the psychological understanding of the role, is inextricably bound up with clarity of speech: they are both tributaries of an art fed by the same source. Our shortlisted actors have been chosen because they show that they understand this: we all wish them a strenuous, but successful, future.

Winners of Sunday Times-Royal National Theatre Ian Charleson Award


YEARACTOR DRAMA SCHOOL THEATRE/PLAY
1991 Ian Hughes National Youth Theatre of Wales Lyric Hammersmith/
Torquato Tasso
1992 Tom Hollander .Lyric, Hammersmith/
Way of the World
1993 Emma Fielding Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama Almeida Theatre/
School For Wives
1994 Toby Stephens London Academy of Music and Drama Royal Shakespeare Company/
Coriolanus
1995 Lucy Whybrow Central School of Speech and Drama Royal Shakespeare Company /
Romeo and Juliet
1996 Alexandra Gilbreath London Academy of Music and Drama English Touring Theatre/
Hedda Gabler
1997 Mark Bazeley .English Touring Theatre/
The Seagull
1997 Dominic West Guildhall School of Music and DramaPeter Hall Company/
The Seagull
1998 Claudie Blakely Central School of Speech and Drama West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds/
The Seagull (Nina)


Finalists for the 1993 Sunday Times-Royal National Theatre Ian Charleson Award
ACTOR DRAMA SCHOOLTHEATRE/PLAY
Helen Baxendale Bristol Old Vic Theatre School Glasgow Citizens Theatre/
The Soldiers
Emma Fielding Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama Almeida Theatre/
School For Wives
Mark Lockyer Royal Academy of Dramatic Art Royal Shakespeare Company/
King Lear
The Tempest
Merchant of Venice
Helen McCrory Drama Centre Royal National Theatre/
Trelawny of the Wells
Adrian Scarborough Bristol Old Vic Theatre School Manchester Royal Exchange /
Comedy of Errors
Michael Sheen Royal Academy of Dramatic Art Cheek By Jowl/
Don't Fool With Love


Finalists for the 1994 Sunday Times-Royal National Theatre Ian Charleson Award
ACTOR DRAMA SCHOOLTHEATRE/PLAY
Mark Bazeley . Cheek By Jowl/
Measure for Measure
Henry Ian Cusick Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama Glasgow Citizens Theatre/
Oedipus Rex
Torquato Tasso
Anastasia Hille Drama Centre Cheek By Jowl/
Measure for Measure
Marianne Jean-Baptiste . Cheek By Jowl/
Measure for Measure
Guy Lankester Bristol Old Vic Theatre School Bristol Old Vic/
Twelfth Night
Jude Law . Royal Shakespeare Company/
Ion
Toby Stephens London Academy of Music and Drama Royal Shakespeare Company/
Coriolanus


Finalists for the 1995 Sunday Times-Royal National Theatre Ian Charleson Award
ACTOR DRAMA SCHOOLTHEATRE/PLAY(ROLE)
Rakie Ayola Welsh College of Music and DramaBirmingham Repertory Theatre
Way of the World (Millamant)
Benedick Bates London Academy of Music and Drama Glasgow Citizens Theatre/
Don Carlos (title role)
Paul Bettany . Royal Shakespeare Company/
Julius Caesar (Strato)
Alexandra Gilbreath London Academy of Music and Drama West Yorkshire Playhouse/
King Lear
Victoria Hamilton London Academy of Music and DramaPeter Hall Company/
The Master Builder (Hilde Wangel)
John Light London Academy of Music and Drama Almeida/
The Tower
Julian Rhind-Tutt Central School of Speech and Drama National Theatre/
Richard II
Catherine Russell . Out of Joint/
Three Sisters (Masha)
Zubin Varla Guildhall Royal Shakespeare Company/
Romeo and Juliet (Romeo)
Lucy Whybrow Central School of Speech and Drama Royal Shakespeare Company/
Easter
Romeo and Juliet (Juliet)


For full article on 1997 nominees see Sunday Times Online CULTURE for April 26, 1998
Trevor Nunn, director of the National Theatre . . .opened the winners' lunch by warning that traditional verse-speaking was facing a crisis. "As schools drop Shakespeare from the classroom and can no longer afford to take children to the theatre, we may enter the next millennium with classical theatre regarded as an endangered species," he warned.
Nunn revealed he will be doing his bit to stem this decline. "Now seems to be a good moment to declare that Sir Peter Hall, Adrian Noble, director John Barton and myself, prompted by David Suchet, are pledged to organise an annual verse and text workshop open to all-comers. If we don't do something, then the classical tradition that inspired us all will dwindle and die."
This plan was welcomed loudly by guests such as Janet Suzman, Michael Gambon, Felicity Kendal, Zoe Wanamaker, Ian McKellen and special guest Paul Scofield, who may now find themselves being asked to coach budding Oliviers on the South Bank.


Finalists for the 1997 Sunday Times-Royal National Theatre Ian Charleson Award
ACTOR DRAMA SCHOOLTHEATRE/PLAY
Kate Ashfield . Gate Theatre, Dublin/
Woyzeck
Mark Bazeley . English Touring Theatre/
The Seagull
Toby Cockerell Anna Scher TheatreGlobe Theatre/
Henry V
Dominic Curtis .Perth Theatre/
As You Like It
James Dreyfus .Birmingham Repertory Theatre/
Julius Caesar
Anne Marie Duff Drama CentreRoyal National Theatre/
King Lear
Ray Fearon Rose Bruford College of Speech and DramaRoyal Shakespeare Company/
Romeo and Juliet
Victoria Hamilton London Academy of Music and DramaPeter Hall Company/
The Provok'd Wife
Tom Hollander .The Almeida/
The Government Inspector
Andrew Howard .The Donmar/
Electra
Jason Hughes .Manchester Royal Exchange/
The Illusion
Paul McEneaney .Belfast Lyric's/
Midsummer Night's Dream
Julie Sawalha .Manchester Royal Exchange/
The Illusion
Michael Sheen Royal Academy of Dramatic Art Royal Shakespeare Company/
Henry V
Lise Stevenson Mountview Theatre SchoolNottingham Playhouse/
Measure for Measure
Zoe Waites Royal Academy of Dramatic Art Royal Shakespeare Company/
Romeo and Juliet
Dominic West Guildhall School of Music and DramaPeter Hall Company/
The Seagull


Finalists for the 1998 Sunday Times-Royal National Theatre Ian Charleson Award
ACTOR DRAMA SCHOOLTHEATRE/PLAY (ROLE)
Claudie Blakely . West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds/
The Seagull (Nina)
Kathy Kiera Clarke . Glasgow Citizens Theatre/
Seneca's Medea (title role)
Hermione Gulliford . Crucible Theatre, Sheffield/
Twelfth Night (Olivia)
Paul Hilton Welsh College of Music and Drama Globe Theatre, Bankside/
As You Like It (Orlando)
Thusita Jayasundera Royal Academy of Dramatic Art Young Vic/
Twelfth Night (Viola)
Susan Lynch . Almeida/
The Storm (Katerina)
Stephen Mangan Royal Academy of Dramatic Art Cheek by Jowl/
Much Ado About Nothing (Don Pedro)
and
Royal Shakespeare Company/
The School for Scandal (Sir Benjamin Backbite)
Matthew McFadyen Royal Academy of Dramatic Art Cheek by Jowl/
Much Ado About Nothing (Benedick)
and
Royal Shakespeare Company/
The School for Scandal (Charles Surface)
Jo McInnes Mountview Theatre School Royal Shakespeare Company/
Uncle Vanya (Sonya)
Kevin McKidd . Almeida/
Britannicus (title role)
David Oyelowo . Gate/
The Suppliants (The King)
Kelly Riley . Royal National Theatre/
The London Cuckolds (Peggy)