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Shortlist for 2016 Ian Charleson Award announced

The acting award recognises performers under 30 in a classical role

Fisayo Akinade, Jessica Brown Findlay and Paapa Essiedu
© Left and middle: Dan Wooller/ Right: Manuel Harlan

The shortlist for the 2016 Ian Charleson Award has been announced.

The nominees for this year's award include Fisayo Akinade for his role as The Dauphin in Saint Joan at the Donmar, Jessica Brown Findlay for Sonya in Uncle Vanya at the Almeida, James Corrigan for Palamon in The Two Noble Kinsmen at the RSC, Emma Curtis as The Lady in Comus at Shakespeare's Globe, Paapa Essiedu for Hamlet and Edmund in the RSC's productions of Hamlet and King Lear.

Also on the list are Marcus Griffiths for Laertes in Hamlet (RSC), Felicity Huxley-Miners as Elena Popova in The Bear at London Theatre, New Cross, Francesca Mills as Maria in The Government Inspector at Birmingham Rep, Marc Rhys as Christian in Cyrano de Bergerac at Theatr Clwyd, Natalie Simpson as Cordelia in King Lear, Ophelia in Hamlet and Guideria in Cymbeline (RSC).

Ewan Somers is recognised for his role as Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing at Dundee Rep, while Marli Siu has been shortlisted for Hero in Much Ado About Nothing in the same production. Joanna Vanderham is also recognised for Queen Anne in Richard III at the Almeida, while Paksie Vernon is shortlisted for Sylvia Craven for The Philanderer at the Orange Tree Theatre.

The Sunday Times/National Theatre Ian Charleson Award was created in 1991 in memory of the actor Ian Charleson who died at the age of 40 in 1990. The prizes award actors under 30 in a classical role and the winners will be announced at the National Theatre on 5 June. First prize in £5,000, second is £2,000 and third is £500.

James McArdle, who is currently starring in the National Theatre's Angels in America won last year's award.