Inside Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s glittering career highlights to date
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Nell Gwynn, 2015
Mbatha-Raw’s good friend, the playwright Jessica Swale, cast her in the titular role for the first run of her show, Nell Gwynn, in 2015. The role was met with some criticism in the press, as Mbatha-Raw is biracial and Gwynn, King Charles II’s famed mistress, was not, yet as the actress eloquently put it: ‘I’ve played Juliet and she’s supposed to be Italian, and I’m not Italian, and I’ve played Ophelia and she was in theory Danish. I think with theatre hopefully if you have the essence of a person it doesn’t matter so much what you look like.’ She was nominated for Best Actress for the role at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards that year.