Daniel Evans

Daniel Evans

Last updated: 23 July 2010

Daniel Evans is one of Wales' most successful young actors and the winner of two prestigious Olivier awards.

A classically trained Shakespearean player, he's starred as Peter Pan, worked with Dom Joly, and won an Olivier Award for his role in a Stephen Sondheim musical.

In 2003 he returned to Stratford-upon-Avon to appear in the Royal Shakespeare Company's productions of Measure for Measure and Cymbeline, on the stage where he first cut his teeth as a professional actor nine years previously.

"I had my 21st birthday here and this year I'll have my 30th birthday here. They somehow seem like milestones.

"It's really nice. Lots of the dressers and stage-door people remember me. Of course I'm playing bigger parts now and that's nice... and sometimes scary."

Daniel realised at the age of eight that he wanted to be an actor. As a youth he threw himself into his school's drama productions, winning the Richard Burton Memorial Prize for a dramatic monologue at the National Eisteddfod, aged only 17.

Richard Burton's widow, Sally, said of him: "From the moment he came on stage, our eyes were drawn to Daniel. He was very calm, which is a quality Richard was renowned for.

"He just pulled the audience to him. He was quite outstanding." To cap it all, a year later Daniel won the Chair at the Urdd National Eisteddfod.

On leaving school he was accepted at London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where a Royal Shakespeare Company talent scout spotted him. The RSC originally offered him a 'play as cast' contract, (ie spear-carrying and crowd scenes), but he turned it down and was then invited to play small speaking parts.

RSC Director Matthew Warchus said of him: "It's great when someone walks in and you know that you are in the room with someone who is not just good or bad. When someone does something to you personally that's very, very rare."

Having laid a professional foundation at the RSC, Daniel went on to work with the Royal National Theatre. It was while playing Peter Pan in a National production that he was offered the opportunity to audition for Candide and accepted, not realising that it was a musical role.

"I was hopeless and couldn't reach any of the right note, but they said I just needed some singing lessons. After three months I discovered that I was a tenor."

He won the 2000 Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical for a subsequent role in the Stephen Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along. His television credits include Daniel Deronda, Tomorrow La Scala!, Love in a Cold Climate, Great Expectations, As You Like It and Romeo and Juliet.

"In an interview recently someone said to me 'So what are you? Are you a Shakespearean actor, are you a musical actor, or are you a Sarah Kane actor - Sarah Kane was an actor who committed suicide and I do some of her radical plays.

"I thought 'Why do I need to say what I am? Why are there those categories? And why do people need to pin you down?' I feel blessed to do everything and I hope I get to do more of it."

In April 2009 he was appointed as artistic director of Sheffield Theatres, which owns the Lyceum and the Crucible: Evans has acted at the latter in productions of Cloud Nine and The Tempest. He took up the post in June 2009.

Between 31 July and 7 August 2010, Evans will act as the Honorary President at the Blaenau Gwent and Heads of the Valleys National Eisteddfod. He is also one of the adjudicators for the 2010 Richard Burton Prize, having won the inaugural award 20 years ago in 1990.

Selected film and television roles

  • 1996: Lysander, A Midsummer Night's Dream
  • 1997: Lawrence, Be Brave
  • 2001: Cedric, Love In A Cold Climate
  • 2002: Mordecai, Daniel Deronda
  • 2003: Manawydan (Dan), Y Mabinogi
  • 2004: Frederic Evans, Carrie's War
  • 2004: Robert Cecil, The Virgin Queen
  • 2008: Matthew, The Passion
  • 2008: Charlie, The Ramen Girl

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