Sam Barnett


Season appearances



Whitby, North Yorkshire, England

Date of birth

25 April 1980

IMDb profile

Sam Barnett is the actor who portrays the character Renfield  on Penny Dreadful. Samuel Barnett (born 25 April 1980) is an English actor. He has performed on stage, film, television and radio, and achieved recognition for his work on the stage and film versions of The History Boys by Alan Bennett. His television performances include roles in the BBC comedy Twenty Twelve and in the Showtime drama Penny Dreadful. On March 29 2016 it was announced that he had been cast in the lead role of Dirk Gently in BBC America's adaptation of BBC's Dirk Gently, itself an adaptation of the Dirk Gentlybooks by Douglas Adams.

Early life Edit

Barnett is from London, but was brought up in Whitby in North Yorkshire, England. He started performing at an early age, and studied acting at LAMDA. Barnett's father is Jewish, and his paternal grandparents emigrated from Poland; his mother is a Quaker. He has described himself as "non-denominational". Barnett is one of five children.

Career Edit

Barnett appeared in the original London stage production of Alan Bennett's play The History Boys, as well as in the New York, Sydney, Wellington and Hong Kong productions and radio and film versions of the play. He had been involved in The History Boys from its very first reading.

In 2009 he played John Everett Millais in the BBC series Desperate Romantics, and Joseph Severn in the film Bright Star.

He appeared at the National Theatre in Women Beware Women by Thomas Middleton which ran from 20 April – 4 July 2010. From July 2012, he appeared in an all-male-cast as Queen Elizabeth in Shakespeare's Richard III at the Globe Theatre in London alongside Mark Rylance in the title role, also playing the role of Sebastian in Twelfth Night. The production transferred to the Apollo Theatre in the West End, opening 2 November 2012 and running for a limited engagement. Both Twelfth Night and Richard III transferred to Broadway in 2013 and played at the Belasco Theatre until February 2014. In the Broadway productions, Barnett is reprising his role as Elizabeth Woodville in Richard III and taking on the role of Viola (previously played by Johnny Flynn in London) in Twelfth Night.

Recognition and awards Edit

Barnett was nominated for Evening Standard Award as Most Promising Newcomer for his role in The Marriage of Figaro in 2002. He won Best Newcomer & Best Supporting Actor in a play at the Theatregoers Choice Awards for his work on the original West End production of The History Boys. He was nominated for the 29th annual Olivier Award for Performance in a Supporting Role. He won a 2006 Drama Desk Award and was nominated for a 2006 Tony Award for his work on the Broadway production.

Barnett was nominated for the 2006 British Independent Film Award for Most Promising Newcomer (On Screen) for his work on the film version of The History Boys. In 2014, Barnett received a nomination for a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for his work in Twelfth Night.

References Edit

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