Born in Beverley in 1977, Anna Maxwell Martin is an award-winning television and stage actress. She is best known for her stage role in His Dark Materials at the National Theatre.
Growing up, Maxwell Martin would often take part in school productions, but eventually went on to read History at the University of Liverpool. After her undergraduate studies, she decided to pursue a professional career in the arts, graduating from the London Academy of Dramatic Arts and quickly making her professional stage debut.
Maxwell Martin made her London debut in The Little Foxes at the Donmar Warehouse in 2001, before a series of National Theatre appearances in The Coast of Utopia, Honour and Three Sisters. In December 2003, she starred in the two-part stage adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials as Lyra Belacqua, receiving an Olivier Award nomination. In a review for LondonTheatre.co.uk, she “gave a phenomenal performance as Lyra… and is able to express anger, inquisitiveness, and loyalty with all the fierceness and passion that only those who still possess the simple candour of children are able to do.”
After a few years in shows at the National, Maxwell Martin appeared in shows across the capital, including Dumb Show at the Royal Court and Other Hands at the Soho Theatre. In 2006, she was cast as Sally Bowles in Cabaret at the Lyric Theatre, staying in the role for six months.
More recently, her stage credits include King Lear at the National in 2014, Consent at the National Theatre in 2017 and Constellations in 2021 alongside Chris O’Dowd.
Maxwell Martin’s television CV is as lengthy as her stage credits. She’s won BAFTA Awards for her roles in Bleak House and Poppy Shakespeare, as well as acclaimed performances in South Riding and Motherland and Line of Duty.