Samuel West

Samuel West

Infobox Person
name = Samuel West

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nationality = English
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occupation = Actor and theatre director
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partner = Laura Wade
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parents = Timothy West
Prunella Scales
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Samuel West (born 19 June, 1966) is a British Actor and theatre director.


Early life

West is the son of actors Prunella Scales and Timothy West. He was educated at Alleyn's School, a co-educational independent school in Dulwich, London, and later studied English Literature at Lady Margaret Hall at the University of Oxford. He has worked as an actor in a variety of dramatic media including: theatre, film, television and radio. As well as being an actor West has also forged a career as a theatre director.


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 beween romantic first love and filial duty." (Richmond & Twickenham Times, 10 February, 1989). Since then West has appeared frequently on stage and has worked for the Royal Shakespeare Company, taking the title roles in "Richard II" and "Hamlet" both directed by Steven Pimlott.

In 2002 West made his stage directorial debut with The Lady's Not for Burning at the Minerva Theatre. He was appointed artistic director of Sheffield Theatres - succeeding Michael Grandage - in 2005. 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. Following his resignation in December 2006 from his role as artistic director, West marked his West End directorial debut with the first major revival of Dealer's Choice following its transferral to the Trafalgar Studios. He has also continued his acting career: in 2007 he appeared alongside Toby Stephens and Dervla Kirwan in Betrayal at the Donmar Warehouse.

West's acting career is not restricted to one medium; he combines stage work with film, television and radio. In 1991, he 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. His film career has continued with roles in a number of well known films, such as: "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 USA in 2006 as "" (also known as Ring of the Nibelungs, Curse of the Ring, and Sword of Xanten).

He is a familiar face on television appearing in many long running series: "Midsomer Murders", "Waking the Dead" and "The Inspector Lynley Mysteries" as well as one off dramas. He played Anthony Blunt in "Cambridge Spies" a BBC production about four British spies, starring alongside Toby Stephens (Philby), Tom Hollander (Burgess) and Rupert Penry-Jones (Maclean). November 2006 saw him take the lead role in BBC Television production of "Random Quest" adapted from the short story by John Wyndham.

West is much sought-after as a narrator of television documentaries, including the acclaimed series "The Nazis: A Warning from History" and "The Planets", both in 1997. He has made a speciality of appearing in concert recitals: he performed the spoken lines from Shakespeare's "Henry V", at the Last Night of the Proms in 2002. On radio West has voiced a range of programmes from one off radio dramas and serials to recitations of poetry. In 2006 he narrated the BBC Radio 4 production of A Passage to India.

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 I" and "Part II". In two films - "Iris" (2001) and the 1996 tv film "Over Here" - Sam and his father have played the same character at different ages. In 2006 all three gave a rehearsed reading of the Harold Pinter play "Family Voices" as part of the Sheffield Theatres Pinter season.

Personal life

As a choral singer West participated in the May 2006 Choir of London tour to Jerusalem and the West Bank, where he also gave poetry readings as part of the concert programme. In April 2007 he again joined the Choir of London in their tour of Palestine, directing "The Magic Flute". A former member of the Socialist Workers Party and the Socialist Alliance, Sam West has been politically active for many years and is a strong critic of Tony Blair's New Labour government.

He lives with playwright Laura Wade. [cite web |url= |title= Best of the West|accessdate=2008-10-08 |last= Cooke |first= Rachel |coauthors= |date= 2207-11-27 |work= |publisher= The Observer]


*"Edward the Seventh" (1974) (TV) - Albert Victor 'Eddy' - Aged 8
*"Nanny" (TV)
**"Goats and Tigers" (1981) - James Lamerton
*"Frankie and Johnnie" (1985) (TV) - Johnnie Mallett
*"Reunion" (1989) - Count Konradin von Lohenburg
*"Prince Caspian and the Voyage of the Dawn Treader" (1989) (TV) - King Caspian
*"Stanley and the Women" (1991) (TV) - Stephen Duke
*"Howards End" (1991, released 1992) - Leonard Bast
*"Archipel" (in French) (1993) - Alan Stewart
*"Voices in the Garden" (1993) (TV) - Mark
*"Inspector Alleyn Mysteries" (TV)
**"Death in a White Tie" (1993) - Donald Potter
*"The Maitlands" (1993) (TV) - Jack Maitland
*"" (1993) (TV) - Cyrian (as Sam West)
*"A Feast at Midnight" (1994) - Chef
*"Open Fire" (1994) (TV) - Steven Waldorf
*"As Time Goes By (TV)
**"We'll Always Have Paris" (1994) - Terry (as Sam West)
*"A Breed of Heroes" (1994) (TV) - Lt. Charles Thoroughgood
*"The Vacillations of Poppy Carew" (1995) (TV) - Victor
*"Carrington" (1995) - Gerald Brenan
*"Persuasion" (1995) - Mr. Elliot
*"Zoya" (1995) (TV) - Nicolai (as Sam West)
*"Heavy Weather" (1995) (TV) - 'Monty' Bodkin
*"Strangers" (TV)
**"Costumes" (1996) - Simon
*"Jane Eyre" (1996) - St. John Rivers
*"Over Here" (1996) (TV) - Archie Bunting
*"The Ripper" (1997) (TV) - Prince Albert Victor Edward
*"Stiff Upper Lips" (1998) - Edward
*"Rupert's Land" (1998) - Rupert McKay
*"The Dance of Shiva" (1998 short) - Lt. Davis
*"" (1999) (TV) - Narrator (voice)
*"Hornblower" (TV)
**"The Wrong War" (1999) - Major Edrington
*"Notting Hill" (1999) - Anna's Co-Star (as Sam West)
*"Runt" (1999 short) - Pork
*"Longitude (2000) (TV) - Nevil Maskelyne
*"Bread and Roses" (2000) - Samuel West - Party Guest (cameo)
*"Complicity" (2000) - Neil
*"Pandaemonium" (2000) - Robert Southey
*"Iris" (2001) - Young Maurice (as Sam West)
*"Shrink" (2002 short) - George
*"Waking the Dead" (TV)
**"Life Sentence" (2002) - Thomas Rice
*"Akhenaten and Nefertiti" (2002) (TV) - Narrator
*"" (2003) - Pongo (voice)
*"Cambridge Spies" (2003) (TV) - Anthony Blunt
*"Entertaining Mr. Soane" (2003) - Wightwick
*"Van Helsing" (2004) - Dr. Victor Frankenstein
*"Foyle's War" (TV)
**"The French Drop" (2004) - Lt Col James Wintringham
*"Curse of the Ring" (2004) (TV) - King Gunther
*"E=mc²" (2005) (TV) - Humphry Davy (as Sam West)
*"The Inspector Lynley Mysteries" (TV)
**"Chinese Walls" (2006) - Tony Wainwright
*"Random Quest" (2006) (TV) - Colin Trafford
*"Midsomer Murders" (TV)
**"The Animal Within" (2007) - Jeremy Thacker
*"The Long Walk To Finchley" (2008) (TV) - Ted Heath

Theatre credits


* "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 (The 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 I" and Part II: Hal (1996-1997) - directed by Stephen Unwin (English Touring Theatre)
* "Journey's End": Captain Stanhope (January-February 1998) - directed by David Evans-Rees (The 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 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

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 Theatregoers Choice Award Best Actor for "Hamlet"
*2008 - Nominated Theatregoers Choice Award for Best Ensemble Performance for "Betrayal"

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"


External links

*imdb name|id=0922335|name=Samuel West
* [ Acting CV]
* [ Directing CV]
* [ Sheffield Theatres]
* [ Samuel West at spiffyjellybean]

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