Joseph Mawle (born 21 March 1974) is an English actor. Mawle is best known for his roles as Benjen Stark in Game of Thrones, Firebrace in Birdsong and Jesus Christ in The Passion.
Mawle was born in Oxford. He grew up in a Victorian manor house on a farm outside Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire. He is one of three children from a family with a history of nine generations of farming in Warwickshire. His mother was a teacher. His father Richard still farms the land.
He attended The Croft prep school on the outskirts of Stratford-upon-Avon where he was diagnosed as severely dyslexic and as a result he went from the ages of 13 to 16 at a boarding school for special needs. Mawle left the school at 16 to become an actor, but contracted labyrinthitis, leaving him 70 per cent hearing-impaired in the upper register and with tinnitus. He persuaded the director of the local college at Stratford-upon-Avon to let him study for a BTEC in performing arts while doing an assortment of jobs such as fitness instructor and dish-washer. He also did some acting for the Box Clever Theatre Company and in his own production of Solo Hamlet. He won a scholarship to study at the Bristol Old Vic's theatre school.
Mawle graduated from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in 2002 in the same year he appeared in the Irish Hurling TV adverts for Guinness. He left in 2002 with no agent and worked as an assistant in a special needs school. He landed his first major role in a 2003 production of Troilus and Cressida playing Troilus for Shakespeare at The Tobacco factory, work at the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton, in Hamlet and in 2005 the Royal Exchange Manchester's production of Antony & Cleopatra followed.
It was his performance in the television film Soundproof in 2006 that made his biggest impact where a deaf actor was needed for the lead role. Mawle was nominated for the RTS Breakthrough on Screen Award and director Ed Coulthard won the BAFTA for best director in 2007.