It has been a whirlwind 18 months for London-born Vanessa Kirby.

Poised to start at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), a meeting with David Thacker, the artistic director of the Octagon Theatre in Bolton, led to her instead spending the next six months starring in All My Sons, Ibsen’s Ghosts and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and winning the Manchester Evening News Biza award (which came with an $8,000 [£5,000] prize). A week after finishing in Bolton, it was Women Beware Women at London’s National Theatre, followed by Rosalind in As You Like It at the West Yorkshire Playhouse and The Acid Test at the Royal Court (opposite another Star of Tomorrow, Phoebe Fox). A part in Abi Morgan’s eagerly anticipated The Hour for the BBC marks her TV debut, followed by the plum role of Estella in the TV adaptation of Great Expectations, set to be a high point of the BBC’s Christmas programming (fellow Star of Tomorrow Douglas Booth will play Pip). Kirby says her aim is to be “respected as an actor. It’s about the work, rather than what comes with it.”

Contact: Roger Charteris -