Roger William Allam was born at ten in the morning on 26th October 1953 at All Hallows Rectory, Devons Road, Bromley by Bow (east London), son of a vicar. He has two sisters, Christine and Sylvia. He has brown hair, brown eyes and is approximately 6′ tall. He attended Christ’s Hospital school in Sussex where he was rated by his friends as a good actor. He then went on to train at Manchester University and has a BA in Drama. He was drawn to the stage after going to see Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead at the Old Vic (which was then the National Theatre), he enjoyed the play so much he decided then that he wanted to be part of it. He worked at Contact Theatre in Manchester, two of his early roles there were Angelo and Macbeth. He then joined the Monstrous Regiment, as one of only two men in a feminist company, his first job fresh out of university. He stayed with the company for two-and-a-half years and did a bit of everything – composing the odd song, playing instruments (guitar, keyboard), doing lighting, as well as acting. He went on from there to work at the Birmingham Rep and Glasgow Citizens Theatre and joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1981.
His career has seen him working for many seasons with the RSC along with several appearances at other London theatres and in the West End and the National Theatre Company. He has made many television appearances in series such as Inspector Morse, Midsomer Murders, Between the Lines, Heartbeat, The Bill, Waking The Dead, Foyles War, Manchild, The Inspector Lynley Mysteries Ashes to Ashes, Spooks, The Jury, Game of Thrones, and most recently Endeavour. He has played the part of Charlie in the BBC2 comedy series The Creatives for two seasons and has made several return appearances in the BBC satire The Thick of It. He has made several films including Stranded, filmed in Thailand during the summer of 2001, in which he plays Captain Blunt; The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone with Helen Mirren; A Cock and Bull Story as Adrian; V for Vendetta an action drama starring Natalie Portman; The Wind That Shakes the Barley; The Queen again with Helen Mirren; Speed Racer; Tamara Drew; The Iron Lady with Meryl Streep; and most recently The Woman in Black. Roger also has quite a repertoire of Radio plays for the BBC.
In 1993 Roger appeared in a new musical, City of Angels, in the West End but unfortunately, despite good reviews, this closed early. However, he was nominated for the Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance. In 1994 he worked with Trevor Nunn in Arcadia in the West End and then followed this with a Terry Hands production of The Importance of Being Earnest at The Old Vic in the summer of 1995, returning to the National Theatre later that year to play Mirabell in The Way of the World. He gave two performances in the extremely successful play Art during 1997 and 1998 playing two different parts, Serge and Marc. He then rejoined The National Theatre in 1999 as part of Trevor Nunn’s Ensemble playing Ulysses in Troilus and Cressidsa, Bassov in Maxim Gorky’s Summerfolk and his award winning role in Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s Money for which he received an Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actor in February 2000. He was also nominated for the Best Actor award for Summerfolk, which returned to the National for a second run until 2nd May 2000. In the summer of 2000 Roger took on the role of Adolf Hitler in David Edgar’s Albert Speer and then went on to play Lopakhin in The Cherry Orchard alongside Vanessa and Corin Redgrave.
In December 2001 Roger played Captain Terri Dennis in the Peter Nichols’ play Privates on Parade, for which I am pleased to say he won the Olivier Award for Best Actor – congratulations to Roger on his wonderful performance. In this role he proved just how versatile he is with his excellent impersonations of Vera Lynn, Marlene Dietrich, Carmen Miranda and Noel Coward. In November 2002 appeared once more in the West End with Gillian Anderson in What The Night is For at the Comedy Theatre. This play, which had a limited run, unfortunately opened to mixed reviews and eventually closed early.
Over Christmas 2004 Roger turned his hand to pantomime when he played Abbanazar in Bille Brown’s pantomime of Aladdin in which Ian McKellan played Widow Twankey, the ultimate pantomime dame. This role was revived during Christmas 2005 once more at The Old Vic. In between this fun diversion Roger took on the role of Ray in David Harower’s darkly intense play Blackbird which was initially performed at the Edinburgh International Festival in August 2005. His co-star in this play was actress Jodhi May. The play subsequently trasferred to the West End’s Albery Theatre. In 2007 he appeared in the 1960’s farce Boeing, Boeing at the Comedy Theatre in the West End. He followed this in 2008 with his performance as Max Reinhardt, the Salzburg Festival impresario in Michael Frayn’s play Afterlife at The National Theatre, and in 2009 he played Albin/Zaza in La Cage aux Folles at the Playhouse in London. He has since returned to Shakespeare when he played Falstaff in Henry IV, Part 1 and Henry IV, Part 2 at Shakespeare’s Globe, in the 2010 season.
Roger and his wife, actress Rebecca Saire, became proud parents in the summer of 2000 when their son William was born. In 2005 he became a father for the second time when son Thomas was born.
Roger and Rebecca attended the Olivier Award Ceremony at the Theatre Royal on March 13th 2011, where he won Best Actor his performance as Falstaff in Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 at Shakespeare’s Globe. This is the third time the West End regular has collected the coveted statuette, adding to his previous awards for Privates On Parade (2002) and Money (2000).
When accepting the award, Allam praised the audiences, saying: “I have to thank the audience, half of which who get in for £5. This is for them.” Talking about why he decided to do the show, the actor said: “I hadn’t done any Shakespeare for at least a decade. Patrick Stewart said to me it’s like the middle-aged Hamlet. If you’re going to play the Globe it’s the perfect role.”
Roger’s agent is:
76 Oxford Street
London W1D 1BS
Tel: +44 20 7636 6565
Fax: +44 20 7323 0101