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Samuel West

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Samuel West

Actor and director


Years active

Laura Wade (2007–)


Samuel West httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsee

Full Name
Samuel Alexander Joseph West

19 June 1966 (age 58) (
London, England

Prunella Scales, Timothy West

Lockwood West, John Richardson Illingworth, Catherine Scales, Olive West

Hyde Park on Hudson, Howards End, Van Helsing, Notting Hill, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

Similar People

Joseph West, Juliet West

Samuel west why shakespeare is awesome

Samuel Alexander Joseph West, also known as Sam West (born 19 June 1966), is an English actor and director. He is best known for his role in the film Howards End and his work on stage (including the award-winning play Enron).


Samuel West People In Film Samuel West Hyde Park on Hudson Focus

Hyde park on hudson samuel west interview

Early life and education

Samuel West Samuel West Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

West was born in London, the elder son of actors Prunella Scales and Timothy West and the grandson of the late actor Lockwood West. He was educated at Alleyn's School and Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, where he studied English Literature and was president of the Experimental Theatre Club.


Samuel West Samuel West Quotes QuotesGram

West works as an actor in a variety of dramatic media including theatre, film, television and radio. He has made a career as a director on stage and radio. He has narrated many television documentaries, including the acclaimed series The Nazis: A Warning from History. He often appears as reciter with orchestras (see below) and performed at the Last Night of the Proms in 2002.


Samuel West Samuel West Robin Ellis

West made his London stage debut in February 1989 at the Orange Tree Theatre, playing Michael in Cocteau's Les Parents Terribles, of which critic John Thaxter wrote: "He invests the role with a warmth and validity that silences sniggers that could so easily greet a lesser performance of this difficult role, and he lets us share the tumbling emotions of a juvenile torn between romantic first love and filial duty." Since then, West has appeared frequently on stage; he played Valentine in the first ever production of Tom Stoppard's Arcadia at the National Theatre in 1993 and later spent two seasons with the Royal Shakespeare Company playing the title roles in Richard II and Hamlet, both directed by Steven Pimlott.

Samuel West Samuel West Photos Bill Murray attending the 39Hyde Park

In 2002, West made his stage directorial debut with The Lady's Not for Burning at the Minerva Theatre, Chichester. He succeeded Michael Grandage as artistic director of Sheffield Theatres from 2005-2007. During his time as artistic director West revived the controversial The Romans in Britain and also directed As You Like It as part of the RSC's Complete Works Festival. West left Sheffield when the theatre closed for refurbishment in 2007 and made his West End directorial debut with the first major revival of Dealer's Choice following its transferral to the Trafalgar Studios. He also continued his acting career: in 2007 he appeared alongside Toby Stephens and Dervla Kirwan in Betrayal at the Donmar Warehouse, in November 2008 he played Harry in the Donmar revival of T. S. Eliot's Family Reunion and in 2009 he starred as Jeffrey Skilling in Enron by Lucy Prebble. His 2008 production of Waste at the Almeida Theatre was chosen by The Times as one of its "Productions of the Decade". From November 2012 to January 2013 he appeared as Astrov in a production of Uncle Vanya at the Vaudeville Theatre. He played Ivanov and Trigorin in the Chichester Festival Theatre's Young Chekhov Season from September 2015, alongside Nina Sosanya, Anna Chancellor, and James McArdle.


Samuel West Samuel West explains why he39s joining the My Theatre

In 1991, West played the lower-middle-class clerk Leonard Bast in the Merchant Ivory film adaptation of E. M. Forster's novel Howards End (released 1992) opposite Emma Thompson, Helena Bonham Carter and Anthony Hopkins. For this role, he was nominated for best supporting actor at the 1993 BAFTA Film Awards. Two years later he again appeared with Thompson in the film Carrington. His film career has continued with roles in a number of well known films, such as Franco Zeffirelli's Jane Eyre, Notting Hill, Iris and Van Helsing. In 2004, he appeared in the year's highest rated mini-series on German television, Die Nibelungen, which was released in the United States in 2006 as Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King. In 2012, he played King George VI in Hyde Park on Hudson.


He is a familiar face on television appearing in many long-running series: Midsomer Murders, Waking the Dead and Poirot as well as one-off dramas. He played Anthony Blunt in Cambridge Spies, a BBC production about the four British spies, starring alongside Toby Stephens (Philby), Tom Hollander (Burgess) and Rupert Penry-Jones (Maclean). In 2006, he took the lead role in a BBC production of Random Quest adapted from the short story by John Wyndham and the next year played Edward Heath in Margaret Thatcher - The Long Walk to Finchley, also for the BBC. In 2010 he played Peter Scabius in the televised adaptation of William Boyd's novel Any Human Heart, while in 2011 he starred as Zak Gist in the ITV series Eternal Law. In addition, he appeared in the BBC Series "As Time Goes By" (1994) episode titled "We'll Always Have Paris" playing the character named Terry.

He plays Frank Edwards in the ITV drama Mr Selfridge, and Sir Walter Pole in the 2015 BBC adaptation of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.


West is regularly heard on radio as a reader or reciter and has performed in many radio dramas, including Otherkin by Laura Wade, Present Laughter by Noël Coward, Len Deighton's Bomber, Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman, Michael Frayn's Here and The Homecoming as Lenny to Harold Pinter's Max. In 2011, he made his radio directing debut with a production of Money by Edward Bulwer-Lytton on BBC Radio 3.

Personal life

West has appeared alongside his actor parents on several occasions; with his mother Prunella Scales in Howards End and Stiff Upper Lips, and with his father Timothy West on stage in A Number, Henry IV, Part 1 and Part 2. In two films (Iris in 2001 and the 1996 television film Over Here), Sam and his father have played the same character at different ages. In Edward the Seventh, he and his brother Joseph played young sons of the title character, who was played by their father. In 2002 all three family members performed in Stravinsky's The Soldiers Tale at the St Magnus Festival on Orkney and in 2006 they gave a rehearsed reading of the Harold Pinter play Family Voices as part of the Sheffield Theatres Pinter season.

West became the patron of Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus in February 2008, having been the narrator for a concert of theirs in February 2002. He is also a patron of London children's charity Scene & Heard, Eastside Educational Trust and Mousetrap Theatre projects.

While at university, West was a member of the Socialist Workers Party and later briefly the Socialist Alliance. West has been a left-wing activist for many years; he was a critic of Tony Blair's New Labour government. On 26 March 2011, he spoke at the TUC March for the Alternative.

Samuel West has written essays on Richard II for the Cambridge University Press series Players of Shakespeare, on Hamlet for Michael Dobson's CUP study Performing Shakespeare's Tragedies Today and on Shakespeare and Love and Voice and Radio for BBC Radio 3.

He has also published articles on Harold Pinter, on Caryl Churchill and on the Shipping Forecast. He frequently writes and speaks in public about arts funding.

In 2013, he was one of the judges for the Forward Prizes for Poetry. In December 2014, he appeared on two programmes for Christmas University Challenge, as part of a team of alumni from Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.

West is an Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Chair of the National Campaign for the Arts and was a member of the council of the British Actors' Union Equity from 1996–2000 and 2008–2014. He is a keen birdwatcher.

In 2007, West moved in with playwright Laura Wade, but in 2011 the couple temporarily split up. In 2013, West was cast in a minor role in The Riot Club, the film version of Wade’s successful play, Posh and in 2014 the couple had a daughter. In August 2017, the couple welcomed a second daughter.


He also narrated five BBC documentary series for producer Laurence Rees:

  • The Nazis: A Warning from History 1997
  • War of the Century: When Hitler Fought Stalin 1999
  • Horror in the East 2001
  • Auschwitz: The Nazis and the Final Solution 2005
  • World War II: Behind Closed Doors 2008
  • In addition, he narrated the Yorkshire Television documentary "The SS in Britain" for director Julian Hendy in 1999.


  • The Browning Version - directed by Clive Perry, (Birmingham Repertory Theatre)
  • Les Parents terribles: Michael (February 1989) - directed by Derek Goldby, (Orange Tree Theatre)
  • The Bread-Winner (1989) - directed by Kevin Billington, (Theatre Royal, Windsor and touring)
  • A Life in the Theatre (October 1989-February 1990) - directed by Bill Bryden, (Theatre Royal Haymarket, transferred to Strand Theatre)
  • Hidden Laughter: Nigel (June 1990) - directed by Simon Gray, (Vaudeville Theatre)
  • The Sea: Willy Carson (1991) - directed by Sam Mendes, (Royal National Theatre)
  • Cain (1992) - directed by Edward Hall (Minerva Theatre)
  • Mr. Cinders A Musical Comedy: Jim Lancaster (December 1992-February 1993) - directed by Martin Connor (King's Head Theatre)
  • Arcadia: Valentine (April–November 1993) - directed by Trevor Nunn, (Royal National Theatre)
  • The Importance of Being Earnest: Algernon - directed by James Maxwell, (Royal Exchange Theatre)
  • Henry IV Part 1 and Part 2: Hal (1996–1997) - directed by Stephen Unwin (English Touring Theatre)
  • Journey's End: Captain Stanhope (January–February 1998) - directed by David Evans-Rees (King's Head Theatre)
  • Antony and Cleopatra: Octavius Caesar (1998) - directed by Sean Mathias, (Royal National Theatre)
  • Richard II: Richard II (2000) - directed by Steven Pimlott, (RSC)
  • Hamlet: Hamlet (2001) - directed by Steven Pimlott, (RSC)
  • The Master and Margarita: The Master (2004) - directed by Steven Pimlott, (Chichester Festival Theatre)
  • Doctor Faustus: Faustus (2004) - directed by Steven Pimlott, Martin Duncan and Edward Kemp, (Minerva Theatre)
  • Much Ado About Nothing: Benedick (2005) - directed by Josie Rourke, (Crucible Theatre)
  • The Exonerated: Kerry Max Cook (2006) - directed by Bob Balaban, (Riverside Studios)
  • A Number: B1/B2/Michael Black (2006) - directed by Jonathan Munby, (Studio Theatre (Sheffield) and Minerva Theatre)
  • Betrayal: Robert (2007) - directed by Roger Michell, (Donmar Warehouse)
  • Drunk Enough to Say I Love You?: Guy (2008) - directed by James McDonald, (Public Theater, New York)
  • The Family Reunion: Harry (2008) - directed by Jeremy Herrin, (Donmar Warehouse)
  • ENRON: Jeffrey Skilling (2009) - directed by Rupert Goold, (Minerva Theatre, Royal Court Theatre, Noël Coward Theatre)
  • A Number (revival): B1/B2/Michael Black (2010) - directed by Jonathan Munby, (Menier Chocolate Factory)
  • Kreutzer vs. Kreutzer: Man (2010) - directed by Sarah Giles, (Australian Chamber Orchestra - on tour and at the Sydney Opera House)
  • A Number (revival): B1/B2/Michael Black (2011) - directed by Jonathan Munby, (Fugard Theatre, Cape Town)
  • Uncle Vanya: Astrov (2012) - directed by Lindsay Posner, (Vaudeville Theatre)
  • Young Chekhov: Ivanov in Ivanov and Trigorin in The Seagull (2015) - directed by Jonathan Kent, (Chichester Festival Theatre)
  • Directing

  • The Lady's Not for Burning (2002), Minerva Theatre
  • Les Liaisons Dangereuses (2003), Bristol Old Vic
  • Cosi Fan Tutte (2003), English National Opera at Barbican Theatre
  • Three Women and a Piano Tuner (2004), Minerva Theatre and Hampstead Theatre (2005)
  • Insignificance (2005), Lyceum Theatre (Sheffield)
  • The Romans in Britain (2006), Crucible Theatre
  • The Clean House (2006), Studio Theatre (Sheffield)
  • As You Like It (2007), Crucible Theatre and Swan Theatre (Stratford)
  • Dealer's Choice (2007), Menier Chocolate Factory and Trafalgar Studios
  • Waste (2008), Almeida Theatre
  • Close the Coalhouse Door (2012), Northern Stage
  • After Electra (2015), Theatre Royal, Plymouth and Tricycle Theatre
  • Directing

  • Money (2011), BBC Radio 3
  • Close the Coalhouse Door (2012), BBC Radio 4
  • Audiobooks, reciting and work with musicians

    West has recorded over fifty audiobooks, among which are the Shakespeare plays All's Well That Ends Well, Coriolanus, Henry V, The Merchant of Venice, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, Richard II and Macbeth (directed by Steven Berkoff), the Wind on Fire trilogy by William Nicholson (The Wind Singer, Slaves of the Mastery and Firesong), the Arthur trilogy by Kevin Crossley-Holland (The Seeing Stone, At the Crossing Places and King of the Middle March), five books by Sebastian Faulks (Charlotte Gray, Birdsong, The Girl at the Lion d'Or, Human Traces and A Possible Life), four by Michael Ridpath (Trading Reality, Final Venture, Free to Trade, and The Marketmaker), two by George Orwell (Nineteen Eighty-Four and Homage to Catalonia), two by Mary Wesley (An Imaginative Experience and Part of the Furniture), two by Robert Goddard (Closed Circle and In Pale Battalions) and several compilations of poetry (Realms of Gold: Letters and Poems of John Keats, Bright Star, The Collected Works of Shelley, Seven Ages, Great Narrative Poems of the Romantic Age and A Shropshire Lad). Also Faust, Bomber, Doctor Who: The Vengeance of Morbius, Empire of the Sun, Brighton Rock, Fair Stood the Wind for France, Fluke, Great Speeches in History, How Proust Can Change Your Life, Lady Windermere's Fan, Peter Pan, The Alchemist, The Day of the Triffids, The Hairy Hands, The Lives of Christopher Chant, The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous, The Queen's Man, The Solitaire Mystery, The Swimming Pool Library, The Two Destinies, The Velveteen Rabbit, The Way I Found Her, The Way to Dusty Death, The Woodlanders, Under the Net, Wuthering Heights and Philip Pullman's Grimm Tales for Young and Old.

    In June 2012, West recorded an English narration of The Book about Moomin, Mymble and Little My by Tove Jansson for an interactive audiobook developed by Spinfy and published by Sort of Books.

    In May 2015, West's reading of Brighton Rock was chosen as one of 'The 20 best audiobooks of all time' by Carole Mansur of the Daily Telegraph.

    As a reciter West has worked with all the major British orchestras, as well as the Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C.. Works include Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex and The Soldier's Tale, Prokofiev's Eugene Onegin, Beethoven's Egmont, Schoenburg's Ode To Napoleon, Strauss' Enoch Arden, Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals, Bernstein's Kaddish, Walton's Façade and Henry V, Night Mail and The Way to the Sea by Britten and Auden, the world premieres of Concrete by Judith Weir at the Barbican and Howard Goodall’s Jason and the Argonauts at the Royal Albert Hall and the UK premiere of Jonathan Harvey's final piece Weltethos at the Symphony Hall, Birmingham. In 2007 West made his New York recital debut in the first performance of Little Red Violin by Anne Dudley and Steven Isserlis. In November 2010, West performed a new English translation of Grieg's complete incidental music to Ibsen’s play Peer Gynt with the Southampton Philharmonic Choir at Southampton Guildhall. He has performed at the Proms six times, including the suite version of Henry V at the 2002 Last Night of the Proms.

    He has also appeared with the Nash Ensemble, the Raphael Ensemble, The Hebrides Ensemble, Ensemble 360 and the Lindsay, Dante and Endellion Quartets at the Wigmore Hall, London. Recordings include Prokofief's Eugene Onegin with Sinfonia 21 and Edward Downes, Salad Days and Walton's Henry V with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Leonard Slatkin.

    As a choral singer, West has participated in three Choir of London tours to Palestine: in May 2006, when he also gave poetry readings as part of the concert programme; in April 2007 when he directed The Magic Flute. and in September 2013 (see below).

    In 2013, the centenary year of Benjamin Britten, West narrated the Britten/Auden film score Night Mail with the Nash Ensemble at the Wigmore Hall and later added Coal Face, God’s Chillun, The Peace of Britain, The Way to the Sea and The King's Stamp with the Aurora Orchestra at the Queen Elizabeth and Fairfield Halls. In June he played God in Britten’s Noye’s Fludde in Harrogate. In July he appeared in a Proms Plus broadcast discussing Britten’s setting of poetry. In September he toured Palestine with the Choir of London as staff director of a new opera based on Britten’s Hymn to St Cecilia and sang in Britten’s St Nicolas. In October, he narrated the concert world premiere of Britten in America for the Hallé orchestra, which was released on CD together with West’s recordings of speeches to Britten’s incidental music for Auden and Isherwood’s play The Ascent of F6 (the disc, Britten to America, was later nominated for a 2014 Grammy Award for Best Classical Compendium). He also toured a program of Britten cabaret songs and Auden poems across the UK with Ruthie Culver and the UtterJazz Quartet.

    In June 2013 he appeared in the video for Handyman Blues by Billy Bragg, directed by Johnny Vegas.

    On July 14, 2017, one month after the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower, BBC's Newshour programme invited West to read out an excerpt from a letter written by an anonymous firefighter giving a personal account of the fire scene and his inner thoughts on duty that night.

    Awards and nominations

    As actor

  • 1993 - Nominated BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor for Howards End
  • 1999 - Nominated Genie Award for Best Actor for Rupert's Land
  • 2001 - Won London Critics' Circle Theatre Award for Best Shakespearean Performance for Hamlet
  • 2001 - Won Whatsonstage Theatregoers' Choice Award Best Actor for Hamlet
  • 2008 - Nominated Whatsonstage Theatregoers' Choice Award for Best Ensemble Performance for Betrayal
  • 2009 - Nominated TMA Award for Best Performance in a Play for ENRON
  • 2009 - Nominated Evening Standard Award Best Actor for ENRON
  • 2010 - Nominated Whatsonstage Theatregoers' Choice Award for Best Actor for ENRON
  • 2010 - Nominated Olivier Award Best Actor for ENRON
  • As reader

  • 1999 - Won Talkie award for Charlotte Gray by Sebastian Faulks
  • 2000 - Won Audie award for Realms of Gold: Letters and Poems of John Keats
  • 2001 - Won Spoken Word award (Silver) for The Seeing Stone by Kevin Crossley-Holland
  • 2001 - Won Spoken Word award (Gold) for Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
  • Samuel West has received nine AudioFile Earphones Awards for his narration: The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham (1996), Peter Pan by J.M.Barrie (1997), Charlotte Gray by Sebastian Faulks (1999), The Way I Found Her by Rose Tremain (2000), The Swimming Pool Library by Alan Hollinghurst (2007), Faust by Goethe (2011), A Shropshire Lad by A. E. Housman (2011), A Possible Life by Sebastian Faulks (2012) and Philip Pullman's Grimm Tales for Young and Old (2013)

    As director

  • 2004 - Nominated Olivier Award for Best Opera Revival for Cosi Fan Tutte
  • 2008 - Nominated Olivier Award for Best Revival for Dealer's Choice
  • 2009 - Nominated Theatregoers' Choice Award for Best Director for Waste and Dealer's Choice
  • References

    Samuel West Wikipedia

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