Acting dynasties: There's no business like family business

The Redgraves have rivals in the latest batch of offspring to follow their parents

Overqualified and under-employed – that is the lot of most young actors. But not if mummy or daddy is already treading the boards. Meet the new generation of me-toos following their parents on to the stage, and in some cases starring alongside them. While in other professions it might be called nepotism, in theatrical circles, the correct term is "acting dynasty", a phrase traditionally seen next to the name Redgrave or Fox.

In these straitened times, luvvies are keeping it in the family, with theatres enjoying an unusually high rate of cosy casting. At last summer's Edinburgh Festival, the veteran actor Art Malik starred alongside his daughter Keira in a production of Hywel John's play Rose, though they played an estranged father and daughter. The rising star Edward Stoppard thought nothing of taking a part in Arcadia by Tom Stoppard, better known to Ed as Dad.

That said, British theatre clans can't compete in size and scale with the American Barrymore family. Drew Barrymore is only the latest in a line stretching back to the 1870s, in which almost every family member has gone into the trade. This has led some to name them the "Royal Family" of acting, though probably because they've had as many dramas off stage as on.

Mary Nighy

Daughter of Bill Nighy and Diana Quick

At 27, Mary Bing Jamie Alfreda Leonora Quick Kit Nighy has achieved in only a few years what most might hope for in a lifetime. Graduating with first-class honours in English from University College London, Nighy was quick to gather dozens of acting credits to her name, including the 2006 Sofia Coppola film Marie Antoinette. Not content with performing, she is now director of her own film company, Foster Films, and is currently directing Shallow Slumber, about the lives of social workers, at the Soho Theatre. But her parents were anxious about her starting her career too early, denying her access to an agent until the ripe old age of 18.

 

Emily Glenister

Daughter of Robert Glenister and Amanda Redman

Making her stage debut this weekend in Bloody Poetry, a play about Percy and Mary Shelley, Emily Glenister, 24, has acting in her bones: she's the daughter of Amanda Redman and Hustle star Robert Glenister, her uncle is Life on Mars actor Philip Glenister, and her grandfather is Rumpole of the Bailey director John Glenister. After toying with the idea of becoming a policewoman or a journalist, she caved in to train at her mother's alma mater, Bristol Old Vic, and appeared on television with her in New Tricks. However, she denies charges of nepotism, saying there were many others up for the role, and that she got it on her own merit. We believe you, love, even if many wouldn't.

 

 

Freddie Fox

Son of Edward Fox and Joanna David

With Freddie now the fourth generation of Foxes on stage, maybe hunting people are right to call them a pest. Due to star in Noël Coward's Hay Fever next week, 22-year-old Freddie not only has actors for parents but a sister too, Emilia Fox. So who can blame him for sleepwalking into acting, though he had flirted with becoming a barrister. His cheekbones and debonair dress sense would have been wasted on the Bar, and helped land him an early role as a drag queen – rather different from the assassin played by his father in Day of the Jackal.

 

 

Ed Stoppard

Son of Tom Stoppard and Miriam Stoppard

The similarities in looks to his writer-father at his age are uncanny. But so worried was 37-year-old Ed about accusations of nepotism when at drama school that he considered changing his name to his father's original Czech surname of Straussler. He persuaded himself that Stoppard wasn't so bad, and even accepted a part in Dad's 1993 work Arcadia. His mother is the agony aunt Miriam Stoppard. He is due to appear in François Archambault's The Leisure Society next month with supermodel Agyness Deyn, who is making her acting debut.

 

 

William Postlethwaite

Son of the late Pete Postlethwaite

Graduating from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts only last summer, the young William Postlethwaite has wasted no time in following in his father's footsteps. After performing in As You Like It at the Manchester Royal Exchange last summer, he made his London stage debut at the National Theatre and is receiving positive reviews for his role as Grigory in Collaborators, a new play by John Hodge. He is not reported to have had any qualms about being called Postlethwaite.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Radio 4's Today programme host Evan Davis has been announced as the new face of Newsnight

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams performing on the Main Stage at the Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park, north London

music
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Mathison returns to the field in the fourth season of Showtime's Homeland

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Crowds soak up the atmosphere at Latitude Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Meyne Wyatt and Caren Pistorus arrive for the AACTA Aawrds in Sydney, Australia

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rick Astley's original music video for 'Never Gonna Give You Up' has been removed from YouTube

music
Arts and Entertainment
Quentin Blake's 'Artists on the beach'

Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beach

art
Arts and Entertainment
MusicFans were left disappointed after technical issues
Arts and Entertainment
'Girl with a Pearl Earring' by Johannes Vermeer, c. 1665
artWhat is it about the period that so enthrals novelists?
Arts and Entertainment
Into the woods: The Merry Wives of Windsor at Petersfield
theatreOpen-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Arts and Entertainment
James singer Tim Booth
latitude 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Lee says: 'I never, ever set out to offend, but it can be an accidental by-product'
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe judges were wowed by the actress' individual cooking style
Arts and Entertainment
Nicholas says that he still feels lucky to be able to do what he loves, but that there is much about being in a band he hates
musicThere is much about being in a band that he hates, but his debut album is suffused with regret
Arts and Entertainment
The singer, who herself is openly bisexual, praised the 19-year-old sportsman before launching into a tirade about the upcoming Winter Olympics

books
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
Jon Cryer and Ashton Kutcher in the eleventh season of Two and a Half Men

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

    A land of the outright bizarre
    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
    Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

    The worst kept secret in cinema

    A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
    Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
    Why do we have blood types?

    Are you my type?

    All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
    Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

    Honesty box hotels

    Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

    Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

    The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
    Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

    The 'scroungers’ fight back

    The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
    Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

    Fireballs in space

    Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
    A Bible for billionaires

    A Bible for billionaires

    Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
    Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

    Paranoid parenting is on the rise

    And our children are suffering because of it
    For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

    Magna Carta Island goes on sale

    Yours for a cool £4m
    Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn