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Vanessa KirbyVanessa Kirby, born in the UK in 1988 is an English actress on both stage and more recently screen. She starred as Estella in the BBC's adaptation of Great Expectations, alongside Ray Winstone. In 2013 she portrayed a very sexy character named Alice Tanner in the mini-series adaptation of the Kate Mosse novel Labyrinth. This daughter of a magazine editor and a surgeon Kirby was turned down by Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and took a gap year to go travelling before studying English at Exeter University. She then turned down her place at LAMDA in London after she was signed up to an agency and met the theatre director David Thacker who gave her three starring roles over 2009 at the Octagon Theatre Bolton.

One in All My Sons by Arthur Miller, Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen and A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare. For All My Sons she won the BIZA Rising Star Award at the Manchester Evening News Theatre Awards presented in a prize of £5000. She then went on to star at the National Theatre as Isabella in Women Beware Women by Thomas Middleton directed by Marianne Elliott alongside Harriet Walter and Harry Potter's Harry Melling. She then starred as Rosalind in As You Like It by William Shakespeare at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds, where Alfred Hickling from The Guardian cited her as being a "significant new talent".

Vanessa KirbyIn 2011 she was in premiere of The Acid Test by Anya Reiss at the Royal Court Theatre directed by Simon Godwin earning praise for her performance with Paul Taylor of The Independent calling her "a star if ever I saw one". She has been nominated for the Ian Charleson Award for two consecutive years for five out of the six plays, 2010 and in 2011, where she won Third Prize - Ben Whishaw and Benedict Cumberbatch being previous winners. Her Television debut in the BBC's The Hour co-starring with Ben Whishaw, Dominic West and Romola Garai aired in 2011. She played Estella in the BBC's adaption of Great Expectations alongside Ray Winstone, Gillian Anderson and Douglas Booth.

In 2011, she was named as one of Screen International 'Stars of Tomorrow'. Previous names who have been named in this include Gemma Arterton, James MacAvoy and Carey Mulligan. In November, she was nominated for the Evening Standard Theatre Awards as Outstanding Newcomer for her performance in The Acid Test. She also has been named as one of Nylon's Young Hollywood list for 2012. Vanessa starred as the lead role of Alice in Ridley Scott's forthcoming mini-series adaptation of Kate Mosse's novel Labyrinth. She has filmed Wasteland alongside Luke Treadaway and Timothy Spall in early 2012, and The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman with Shia Leboeuf and Mads Mikkelson. Kirby is filming Richard Curtis' next film About Time with Rachel McAdams, and played the role of Masha in Three Sisters at the Young Vic in September.

Vanessa KirbyThroughout an interview in the Independent she was vehement that it is the work, as varied as possible and as much as possible – that matters to her, not the trappings of fame, fortune or fashion. According to the Independent article in speaking of that corset crew clique, she is completely dismissive:

"Oh, GOD. It was really weird because most of us don't know each other! It was just silly".

Apart from when shooting Labyrinth, she has never – even though it was widely reported – lived with Brown Findlay. And Kirby remains tight-lipped, albeit sweetly apologetically so, on the subject of whether she was, or is, dating Douglas Booth, her plumply-pouting Great Expectations co-star.

"I don't feel like my job is to parade around saying what I'm wearing or who I'm going out with. It makes me feel weird," she says.

Later when gently pressed on whether her and Booth are an item, she added:

"I don't talk about my personal life. If it becomes about anything other than the work, people stop caring about whether you can do the job or not."

Vanessa KirbyWhile filming Labyrinth with acting veteran John Hurt, she noticed he was rather nervous before shooting a scene and she asked if he was OK.

"He was like, 'Yes, well, I'm just a bit worried I'm going to be found out...' And I was like – "You're worried, John? In that case, I'm fucked!"

Even though in the back of her head she always knew this was what she was meant to be doing she says:

"I remember so clearly standing on the stairs at the National with my dad and saying – 'Dad, look at me, look at me. I'm going to be acting here one day'. And he was like 'Yes, yes, all right'. And then that became my second job! It was the most surreal thing. I just couldn't believe it. I'm only just getting my head around it now – that no one's going to take it all away."

background information from Wikipedia

Labyrinth Official Trailer


~ 2010 All My Sons by Arthur Miller, Ann Deever, Octagon Theatre
~ 2010 Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen, Regina, Octagon Theatre
~ 2010 A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare, Helena, Octagon Theatre
~ 2010 As You Like It by William Shakespeare, Rosalind, West Yorkshire Playhouse
~ 2011 Women Beware Women by Thomas Middleton, Isabella, National Theatre
~ 2011 The Acid Test by Anya Reiss, Dana, Royal Court Theatre
~ 2012 Three Sisters by Anton Chekov, Masha, Young Vic


Year Title Character Production Notes
2011 The Hour Ruth Elms BBC Pilot, Episode 2 and 4
2011 Love/Loss Jane
2011 Great Expectations Estella BBC Broadcast 27-29 Dec 2011
2012 Labyrinth Alice Tanner Scott Free Productions Broadcast 30-31 March 2013
2012 Wasteland Nicola post production
2013 The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman Felicity Mandate Pictures filming
2013 About Time Joanna Working Title Films filming


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