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Natalie Simpson wins 2017 Ian Charleson Award

The winners for this year's award have been announced

Natalie Simpson in The Cardinal
© Mitzi de Margary

Natalie Simpson has been named as the 2017 winner of the Ian Charleson Award.

Simpson was recognised for her performance as Duchess Rosaura in The Cardinal at Southwark Playhouse, directed by Justin Audibert.

The Cardinal was a staging of James Shirley's 350 year-old play, which ran in May last year. In his review of the show for WhatsOnStage, Matt Trueman called Simpson 'superb'.

The prize is awarded by The Sunday Times and the National Theatre and recognises outstanding performances by actors under 30 anywhere in the UK playing a classical role in a play written before 1918. Previous winners include James McArdle and Paapa Essiedu. The winner gets £5,000, second place gets £2,000 and third place gets £500.

Named as runner up was Tamara Lawrence in second place for her turn as Viola in Twelfth Night at the National Theatre, directed by Simon Godwin and Ellie Bamber in third place as Hilde in Lady From the Sea at the Donmar Warehouse, directed by Kwame Kwei Armah.

The winners beat a long list including Sope Dirisu, Daniel Ezra, James Corrigan and Hannah Morrish.