For her professional stage debut in "Mrs Warren's Profession" (dir. Peter Hall), she won the 2002 Sunday Times/ National Theatre 'Ian Charleson' Award which recognises performances in classical roles for actors and actresses under 30 in Britain. She was nominated for the same award in 2004 for her performance in "As You Like It" (dir. Peter Hall).
She is the daughter of English theater director Peter Hall (who founded the Royal Shakespeare Company) and American opera singer Maria Ewing. Peter Hall is a white Englishman. Maria Ewing's paternal grandparents were both of part African ancestry. Maria's father, Norman Isaac Ewing, also had Scottish, and possible Sioux Native American, roots. Maria's mother, Hermina Maria Veraar, who was caucasian, was Dutch.
Attended Cumnor House School in East Sussex from age 9 to 13.
Her agent paid for the fares for their flight to New York to audition for The Town (2010) because she did not have the money.