The actress Victoria Hamilton has spoken out about how there is a change in the availability and type of roles for women over 40.

She said: "Going back ten years, actresses dreaded reaching this age because this was the age when everything just stopped or you would play nothing more than a wife or a mother and those were your roles."

"You would spend the rest of your life playing parts where you were saying to a man: 'What are you going to do next?' "

She added that change was happening in the industry as roles for older women were getting more interesting. "To be given these incredible, rich, complicated, sexy parts is just amazing. I think there's a seismic shift in both theatre and film where people have realised that mature women can carry plays and can carry TV series and that it's a great untapped resource."

Hamilton was talking at the Critics' Circle Awards, where she picked up the award for Best Actress for her role in Albion. She played Audrey, a woman who is grieving after the death of her son and who moves out of London and buys a garden with her family.

The play was written by Mike Bartlett and garnered a four star review from Sarah Crompton in WhatsOnStage.