Vanessa Kirby

Vanessa Kirby (born 18 April 1988) is an English actress. She first gained attention for her roles in the BBC adaptation of Great Expectations (2011) and in the romantic comedy film About Time (2013).

Vanessa Kirby
Kirby in 2018
Born (1988-04-18) 18 April 1988
London, England
EducationUniversity of Exeter
Years active2010–present

From 2016 to 2017, she portrayed Princess Margaret in the Netflix series The Crown, for which she won the British Academy Television Award for Best Supporting Actress and received a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. In 2016, Variety referred to her as "the outstanding stage actress of her generation, capable of the most unexpected choices".[1] She gained international recognition for her roles in the Hollywood blockbusters Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018) and Hobbs & Shaw (2019).

Early life

Kirby was born in London's Wimbledon district on 18 April 1988,[2] the daughter of former Country Living magazine editor Jane and urologist Roger Kirby. She has two siblings, Joe and Juliet.[3] Actors Vanessa Redgrave and Corin Redgrave were family friends.[4] She was educated at Lady Eleanor Holles School in Hampton. After being turned down by Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, she took a gap year to travel[5] before studying English at the University of Exeter.[6]



Kirby turned down her place at LAMDA in London after she was signed to a talent agency and met the theatre director David Thacker, who gave her three starring roles over 2009 at the Octagon Theatre Bolton:[7] 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, worth £5,000.

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.[8] She then starred as Rosalind in As You Like It by William Shakespeare at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds; Alfred Hickling of The Guardian described her as a "significant new talent". In 2011, she was in the première of The Acid Test by Anya Reiss at the Royal Court Theatre, directed by Simon Godwin, earning praise for her performance from Paul Taylor of The Independent, who described her as "a star if ever I saw one".[9]

Television and cinema

In 2011, Kirby made her television debut in the BBC's The Hour,[10] alongside Ben Whishaw, Dominic West, and Romola Garai. She played Estella in the BBC's mini-series adaptation of Great Expectations alongside Ray Winstone, Gillian Anderson, and Douglas Booth.

She played the lead role of Alice in Ridley Scott's mini-series adaptation of Kate Mosse's novel Labyrinth. In late 2012, she filmed The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman with Shia LaBeouf and Mads Mikkelsen.[11] Kirby then starred in Richard Curtis's film About Time as Rachel McAdams's best friend Joanna.[12]

She went on to play Masha in the acclaimed production by Benedict Andrews of Three Sisters at the Young Vic in September 2012, earning rave reviews, with Matt Trueman of Time Out stating. "In a super cast given licence to shine, Kirby stands out as Masha".[13][14]

She filmed The Rise in early 2012 alongside Matthew Lewis and Timothy Spall. The film premièred at the Toronto and London Film Festivals to positive reviews, and won the Best Debut Category for director Rowan Athale.

In 2013, Kirby returned to the National Theatre to play Queen Isabella in Edward II opposite John Heffernan.[15] In the summer of 2014, she played Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire, again collaborating with Benedict Andrews at the Young Vic, alongside Gillian Anderson as Blanche and Ben Foster as Stanley.[16] She won Best Supporting Actress category at the Whatsonstage Awards 2014, which is voted for by the public.

Her recent film roles include Kill Command, opposite Thure Lindhardt, the Wachowskis' Jupiter Ascending, with Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum, and Queen and Country, John Boorman's sequel to his Hope and Glory (1987).

In 2015, she appeared in Everest as iconic American socialite Sandy Hill Pittman. Also in 2015, she appeared in The Dresser, and in Thea Sharrock's adaptation of Jojo Moyes' book Me Before You. In May, she was cast as Princess Margaret in Netflix's first original British series The Crown. Her selection came after a six-month search.[17] For this role, she was nominated for a BAFTA award in 2017, and won the award for season two in 2018.

Kirby played Elena in Robert Icke's production of Uncle Vanya at the Almeida Theatre in 2016, for which she won rave reviews, with Matt Trueman of Variety writing: "Kirby is a superlative Elena: lithe, fickle, hypocritical, shallow and yet always sympathetic. It's a performance that confirms her as the outstanding stage actress of her generation, capable of the most unexpected choices."

In 2018, Kirby played the title character in Polly Stenham's Julie, an adaptation of August Strindberg's Miss Julie, at the National Theatre.

In 2019, Kirby played Hattie Shaw in the action thriller film called Hobbs & Shaw, released on 2 Aug 2019.

Personal life

Kirby is in a long-term relationship with English actor Callum Turner, with whom she co-starred in Queen & Country.[18][19]



Year Title Role Notes
2010 Love/Loss Jane
2012 The Rise Nicola
2012 Nora Young Woman Short
2013 Charlie Countryman Felicity
2013 About Time Joanna
2014 The Exchange Woman Short
2014 Insomniacs Jade Short
2014 Queen & Country Dawn Rohan
2014 National Theatre Live: A Streetcar Named Desire Stella Kowalski
2014 Off the Page: Devil in the Details Jessica Short
2015 Jupiter Ascending Katharine Dunlevy
2015 Bone in the Throat Sophie
2015 Everest Sandy Hill
2016 Genius Zelda Fitzgerald
2016 Kill Command Katherine Mills
2016 Me Before You Alicia Dewares
2018 Mission: Impossible – Fallout Alanna Mitsopolis / White Widow
2019 Mr. Jones Ada Brooks
2019 Hobbs & Shaw Hattie Shaw
TBA The World to Come Post-production
TBA Pieces of a Woman Filming


Year Title Role Notes
2011 The Hour Ruth Elms 3 episodes
2011 Great Expectations Estella Havisham Miniseries; 3 episodes
2012 Labyrinth Alice Tanner Miniseries; 2 episodes
2013 Agatha Christie's Poirot Celia Ravenscroft Episode: "Elephants Can Remember"
2015 The Dresser Irene TV film
2015 The Frankenstein Chronicles Lady Jemima Hervey Main role; 7 episodes
2016–2017 The Crown Princess Margaret Main role; 17 episodes


Year Title Playwright Role Venue
2010 All My Sons Arthur Miller Ann Deever Octagon Theatre
2010 Ghosts Henrik Ibsen Regina Engstrand Octagon Theatre
2010 A Midsummer Night's Dream William Shakespeare Helena Octagon Theatre
2010 As You Like It William Shakespeare Rosalind West Yorkshire Playhouse
2011 Women Beware Women Thomas Middleton Isabella Royal National Theatre
2011 The Acid Test Anya Reiss Dana Royal Court Theatre
2012 Three Sisters Anton Chekhov Maria "Masha" Kulygina Young Vic
2013 Edward II Christopher Marlowe Isabella of France Royal National Theatre
2014 A Streetcar Named Desire Tennessee Williams Stella Kowalski Young Vic
2016 Uncle Vanya Anton Chekhov Helena Serebryakova Almeida Theatre
2016 A Streetcar Named Desire Tennessee Williams Stella Kowalski St. Ann's Warehouse
2018 Julie Polly Stenham Julie Royal National Theatre

Music Video

Year Title Band Role
2007 The Heart Never Lies McFly Female Lead

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Work Result
2010 Ian Charleson Awards Ghosts Nominated
2011 Ian Charleson Awards 3rd place A Midsummer Night's Dream Won
Ian Charleson Awards As You Like It Won
Ian Charleson Awards Women Beware Women Won
2012 Ian Charleson Awards Special Commendations Three Sisters Nominated
2015 WhatsOnStage Awards Best Supporting Actress in a Play A Streetcar Named Desire Won
2017 BAFTA TV Awards Best Supporting Actress The Crown Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated
Glamour Awards UK TV Actress Won
2018 BAFTA TV Awards Best Supporting Actress Won
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Nominated


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