Ian Kelly is an award-winning writer, historian, actor and dramatist and the author of the 2008 biography of Casanova (Sunday Times Biography of the Year).
As a writer and dramatist, previous works include the West End comedy Mr Foote’s Other Leg, which ran at the Theatre Royal Haymarket through 2015 and early 2016 directed by Sir Richard Eyre. It was adapted from Ian's biography of Samuel Foote, Mr Foote’s Other Leg; Comedy, Tragedy and Murder in Georgian London (Winner, Theatre Book of the Year, 2013). Other historical non-fiction includes Beau Brummell (Shortlisted for the Marsh Commonwealth Biography Prize), which was adapted as a BBC film, Cooking for Kings, A Life of Antonin Carême (Radio 4 Book of the Week) which became an Off Broadway play running in 2004 and 2006, and the life of Vivienne Westwood, co-written with Dame Vivienne. Casanova was also Radio 4 Book of the Week, read by Benedict Cumberbatch, which became a bestselling audio book.
As an actor, theatre work includes: The Pitmen Painters (National Theatre, Broadway, West End and Newcastle Live; Performance of the Year, NE Culture Awards); Mr Foote’s Other Leg (Hampstead and West End); A Busy Day (West End, Bristol Old Vic); Arcadia (Best Actor nomination, Manchester Evening News); Cooking for Kings, Beau Brummell (US premieres, Off-Broadway); Relative Values (UK Tour); Henry V, Twelfth Night with The English Shakespeare Company and seasons with, amongst others, Theatr Clwyd and Salisbury Playhouse. Television work includes: Downton Abbey; Sensitive Skin; In a Land of Plenty; Cold Lazarus; Silent Witness; Drop the Dead Donkey; Chasing the Hill;Time Trumpet; Catherine Cookson’s The Moth; Dream Team; Hetty Wainthropp Investigates; Just William; Underworld. Film work includes: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I and Part II as Hermione’s father; Howards End; Creation, In Love and War; Closed; Russian films Admiral Kolchak and Alexei Balabanov’s War (Best Actor Nomination, Montreal Film Festival). Ian is a graduate of Cambridge University and of UCLA’s Film School.
On-going projects include a screenplay about Handel’s Messiah, currently in pre-production, and a biopic for Lionsgate Films about Robert Burns and, as an actor, The Children Act, adapted by Ian McEwan from his novel, with Emma Thompson. Ian’s next book looks at the business of being an actor in Elizabethan London and the professional life of Shakespeare.