Alex Lawther (born 4 May 1995) is an English actor. He is known for portraying the young Alan Turing in the film The Imitation Game (2014), which won him the London Film Critics' Circle Award for Young British Performer of the Year, and has received acclaim as James in The End of the F***ing World and as Kenny in the series three episode "Shut Up and Dance" in the science fiction anthology series Black Mirror.
Lawther was born in Petersfield, Hampshire. The youngest of three, he has said that his aspiration to be an actor came from having to make up his own games to entertain himself as a child. His parents both work in law, while his older brother, Cameron Lawther, is a film producer, and his older sister Ellie Lawther works in public policy. In 2010, the brothers worked together on The Fear.
In 2009, Lawther wrote and put together a play as part of his drama club involvement at Churcher's College. Lawther played Ratty in The Wind in the Willows at school. Lawther did not study drama at GCSE or A level. Until his first professional acting performance, he was set to study History at King's College London. He trained with the National Youth Theatre.
Lawther's professional debut came at the age of 16, when he appeared as John Blakemore in David Hare's South Downs at Chichester Festival Theatre. He made his feature film debut in the Academy Award-winning film The Imitation Game (2014). The role won him the London Film Critics' Circle Award for "Young British Performer of the Year" in 2015. In 2015, he appeared in a supporting role in the critically acclaimed coming-of-age drama film X+Y. In 2016, he gained his first lead role playing Elliot, alongside Juliet Stevenson in the British film, Departure, the debut film of Andrew Steggall.
In 2016, Lawther played the main character Kenny in "Shut Up and Dance", an episode from series three of the British science fiction anthology series Black Mirror. While the episode overall received mixed reviews, Lawther received acclaim and significant recognition for his performance. In 2017, he also starred, alongside Jessica Barden, as James in the television series, The End of the F***ng World. The role also brought Lawther more acclaim from critics.
Lawther has been praised by Dame Maggie Smith for his work, reportedly telling him that "most of us spend our lives trying to do what you've achieved". He has been compared to actor Ben Whishaw, whom he cites as an idol of his.