Hannah Waddingham is an English actress and singer, best known for her contribution to West End musical theatre, particularly her performances in the original London production of Spamalot, the 2010 Regent's Park revival of Into the Woods, and most recently, The Wizard of Oz. She has received three Olivier Award nominations for her work. She has also had a successful film and television career. In 2015 she joined the cast of the fifth season of the HBO seriesGame of Thrones as Septa Unella, as well as appearing in the 2012 feature film adaptation of Les Miserables and 2018 British psychological thriller Winter Ridge in a primary role.
Waddingham was born in Wandsworth in London, and credits her mother's family with her introduction to performing - her mother, Melodie Kelly, was an opera singer, as were both her maternal grandparents. A graduate of the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts, Waddingham has had a successful career in the London theatre, including her performance as Starbird in Space Family Robinson ; Suzanne Valadon in Lautrec. However, it is for her portrayal of the Lady of the Lake in Spamalot, that she is best known; she received an Olivier Award nomination for her efforts. She received outstanding reviews for her portrayal of Desirée Armfeldt in Trevor Nunn's acclaimed revival of A Little Night Music, including being described by one critic as the "Joanna Lumley of musical theatre". Waddingham subsequently received a further Olivier Award nomination in 2010 for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance in Night Music. In mid-2010, Waddingham played the Witch in the critically acclaimed production of Into the Woods at London's Open Air Theatre. She originated the role of The Wicked Witch of the West in the West End production of The Wizard of Oz, which opened on 1 March 2011 at the London Palladium. She left the production on 4 September 2011. Waddingham won the whatsonstage.com Theatergoers Choice Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for her performance. In 2012, Waddingham starred in Chichester Festival Theatre's 2012 revival of Kiss Me, Kate. The show transferred to the Old Vic Theatre on London's South Bank in November 2012.
Billed simply as Hannah, she placed "Our Kind of Love" in the UK Singles Chart in October 2000, where it peaked at No. 41. She later sang the role of Starbird on the soundtrack recording of Space Family Robinson, written by Julian and Stephen Butler and released by Pop! Records in May 2002 to coincide with the stage production which ran for three weeks at London's Pleasance Theatre in May 2002.