Kobna Kuttah Holdbrook-Smith
23 August 1977
|Alma mater||Guildford School of Acting|
|Awards||Laurence Olivier Award, 2019|
Kobna Kuttah Holdbrook-Smith(born 23 August 1977) is a Ghanaian-British actor. He has played roles in films, including Father Richard Emery in Ghost Stories (2017), Oliver in The Commuter, Templeton Frye in Mary Poppins Returns and Doctor Wren in Gwen (all 2018). He has portrayed Crispus Allen in the superhero film Justice League (2017), part of the DC Extended Universe.
For his performance in Tina on the West End, he won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical.
Holdbrook-Smith was born in Accra, Ghana. He grew up in Frimley, Surrey, England, where he lived with his parents, Dr. [Yoku] Henry Andrew Holdbrook-Smith and Tenu Holdbrook-Smith, and his brother, Kofi. He was initially frightened of taking up acting due to his family's disapproval. "I was about 15, I thought, 'I wonder if I could [become an actor]'. I hadn't really suggested it to anyone. It just didn't seem allowed. So there was a slow exploration of [acting] and by the time I was 18, I was resolute."
He attended Guildford School of Acting to study acting, graduating in 2000.
Holdbrook-Smith began his acting career on television in 2002 when he played Orlando Figes in the Judge John Deed episode "Everyone's Child". Since then, he has had roles in TV series such as Little Britain, Star Stories (from 2006 until 2008), Taking the Flak, Sirens, Holby City, Silk, Father Brown, The Last Panthers, Class, Dark Heart, The Split and Red Election.
His first major theatre lead came in 2005, when he played Ken in Mustapha Matura's Playboy of the West Indies at the Tricycle Theatre. He later starred in their critically acclaimed African-American Season, performing in the European premieres of Walk Hard by Abram Hill, Fabulation by Lynn Nottage and Gem of the Ocean by August Wilson. In interviews he has cited August Wilson's plays as personal favourites. In 2006 he played Levee In Ma Rainey's Black Bottom by August Wilson at the Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre, then four years later he appeared as Herald Loomis in Joe Turner's Come and Gone by August Wilson at the Young Vic Theatre.
He first appeared at the Globe in 2007 in Love's Labours Lost, which he also performed later the same year at the National Theatre of Korea, in Seoul. Holdbrook-Smith had his debut at the National Theatre in 2009 and has since starred in four productions there (most notably appearing as Mortimer in Edward II). In 2015 he played Laertes alongside Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet at the Barbican Theatre. This play was also broadcast live in cinemas worldwide as part of National Theatre Live.
In 2016 Holdbrook-Smith performed with Benedict Cumberbatch again, this time in Marvel’s Dr Strange. A year later he played the part of Det. Crispus Allen in DC Comics Justice League and also starred as Warden Walker in Paddington 2, and as Father Emery in Ghost Stories. In 2018, he played the role of Oliver in The Commuter and played a dual role of the live-action character Templeton Frye and the animated voice of the Weasel in Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns.
Holdbrook-Smith has also performed in BBC Radio dramas, including Judas and On Her Majesty's Secret Service. He has narrated a number of audiobooks, most notably the Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch.
Kobna Holdbrook-Smith is currently starring in the musical Tina as Ike Turner at the Aldwych Theatre.
He was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2020 Birthday Honours for services to drama, and was recognised as one of the United Kingdom's most influential people of African or African Caribbean heritage when Holdbrook-Smith was included in the 2021 edition of the annual Powerlist.
|2012||Womack||Dan Tan||Short film|
|2013||The Double||Guard / Doctor|
|2013||10ml I.V.||Karl||Short film|
|2014||Trick or Receipt||Martin||Short film|
|2015||Hamlet||Laertes||Live in theatres|
|2016||Doctor Strange||Physical Therapist|
|2017||Ghost Stories||Father Emery|
|2017||Justice League||Detective Crispus Allen|
|2017||Paddington 2||Warden Walker|
|2018||Mary Poppins Returns||Templeton Frye / Weasel (voice)|
|2021||Zack Snyder’s Justice League||Detective Crispus Allen|
|2002||Judge John Deed||Orlando Figes||Episode: "Everyone's Child"|
|2003||Casualty||PC Riddock||Episode: "Never Judge a Book"|
|2003||Absolute Power||Journalist No. 1||Episode: "Burn and Crash"|
|2004||Little Britain||2 episodes|
|2004||Holby City||Lee Holden||Episode: "One More Chance"|
|2005||Family Affairs||Officer Kennedy||1 episode|
|2005||According to Bex||Vox Pops||Recurring|
|2005||Mike Bassett: Manager||Carlton Dawes||Main cast|
|2006||Pulling||Joe's Father||1 episode|
|2006–2008||Star Stories||Various||8 episodes|
|2007||The Bill||Bruno Hammond||Episode: "Code of Silence"|
|2007||The Whistleblowers||Male Nurse||Episode: "Pandemic"|
|2007||Katy Brand's Big Ass Show||1 episode|
|2009||Whatever It Takes||Nifemi||TV movie|
|2009||Taking the Flak||Joyful Sifuri||Main cast|
|2009||PhoneShop||Graham||Episode: "New Man: Pilot"|
|2011||Holby City||Paul James||2 episodes|
|2012||Silk||Paul McGovern||1 episode|
|2013||Frankie||Max Hall||1 episode|
|2014||Turks & Caicos||Colin Maitlis||TV movie|
|2014||Crackanory||Commander||Episode: "In Space No One Can Hear You Clean & the Weather Man"|
|2014||Agatha Raisin||Rev. Jez Bloxby||Episode: "The Quiche of Death"|
|2015||Father Brown||Marvin Morris||Episode: "The Invisible Man"|
|2015||Midsomer Murders||Rob Mead||Episode: "The Dagger Club"|
|2015||The Last Panthers||James Davis||Miniseries; main cast|
|2016||Class||Jasper Adeola||Episode: "Nightvisiting"|
|2016||Dark Heart||DS Dave Pulford||1 episode|
|2018||The Split||Glen Peters||Recurring|
|2021||Superworm||Wizard Lizard (voice)||TV movie|
|2021||Red Election||Levi Nichols||Main cast|
|2022||His Dark Materials||Balthamos||Recurring|
|2023||Accused||David Mingo||Episode: "Kendall's Story"|
|2018||Tina: The Tina Turner Musical||Ike Turner||West End theatre|
|2019||Laurence Olivier Award||Best Actor in a Musical||Tina: The Tina Turner Musical||Won|
|Black British Theatre Award||Best Male Actor in a Musical||Nominated|
|WhatsOnStage Award||Best Actor in a Musical||Nominated|