Lolita Chakrabarti Biography

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Lolita Chakrabarti OBE is an award-winning playwright and actress.  Writing credits include Life of Pi, Red Velvet and Hymn and acting credits include Hamlet, VigilRiviera, Showtrial and the forthcoming Amazon series Wheel of Time. She trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and has carved out an innovative, diverse and long running career. 

Lolita adapted the classic novel Life of Pi, which won four awards at the UK Theatre Awards, including Best Play and Best Director. It will open in London's West End in November 2021 after premiered to 5-star reviews at the Sheffield Crucible in July 2019. Based on the award winning novel by Yann Martell, which received ten Oscar nominations as a film, Life of Pi's theatrical world premiere received huge critical acclaim. 

In the same month, Invisible Cities premiered at the Manchester International Festival, which Lolita adapted from the classic novel by Italo Calvino of the same name. It was an ambitious and stunning production and a collaboration between Rambert dance company, 59 Productions and Lolita. Invisible Cities also opened at the Brisbane Festival in September 2019.

In 2012 Red Velvet premiered at the Tricycle Theatre in London.  It returned to the Tricycle in 2014, before transferring to St Ann's Warehouse in New York and onto the Garrick Theatre in London's West End, as part of Sir Kenneth Branagh's Plays at the Garrick season.  Red Velvet was nominated for nine major awards including two Oliviers. Lolita won the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Most Promising Playwright, The Critics Circle Award for Most Promising Playwright and the AWA Award for Arts and Culture.  

Lolita curated The Greatest Wealth at the Old Vic in London in 2018, commissioning eight monologues of which she wrote one, about the NHS on its 70th birthday.  Directed by Adrian Lester, it was a fitting tribute to an incredible history and starred Jade Anouka, Louise English, Dervla Kirwan, Ruth Madeley, Art Malik, Meera Syal, Sophie Stone and David Threlfall. The series was updated in July 2020, in the mist of the coronavirus, with a monologue written by Bernardine Evaristo and performed by Sharon D Clarke.

Hymn, a play by Lolita about male love, that is neither physical nor romantic, starring Danny Sapani and Adrian Lester, streamed live from The Almeida and was broadcast on Sky Arts, during the coronavirus pandemic, to huge critical acclaim. It opened to audiences at The Almeida in July 2021.

Other writing credits The Goddess for Woman's Hour BBC Radio 4 and Last Seen Joy for the Almeida Theatre, London.

Lolita also worked as dramaturgist on Message in a Bottle, a show by Katie Prince and Sting, which opened at the Peacock Theatre in February 2020.

As an actress Lolita has enjoyed a long and varied career.  She appeared as Queen Gertrude, opposite Tom Hiddleston, in Sir Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet (RADA) and starred in Fanny & Alexandra at the Old Vic in 2018.  

Other theatre credits include Last Seen - Joy (Almeida Theatre) which she also wrote, The Great Game, Afghanistan (Tricycle Theatre), the lead role in Free Outgoing (Royal Court and Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh), John Gabriel Borkman (Donmar Warehouse), Grimm’s Tales (Young Vic) and Robert LePage’s Midsummer Night’s Dream (National Theatre).

TV roles have include J K Rowling’s A Casual Vacancy (BBC1/HBO), Criminal (Netflix), Defending The Guilty (BBC), To Provide All People (BBC2), Delicious (Sky One), Born to Kill (CH4), Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands (ITV), Vera (ITV), Jekyll and Hyde (ITV), My Mad Fat Diary 3 (E4), Death in Paradise (BBC1), One Night (BBC1), Smoke (Sky1), Outnumbered (BBC1), WPC Jamilla Blake in The Bill (ITV), Fortysomething (BBC), Extras and earlier this year she appeared in Season 2 of the hugely popular Sky series Riviera

Lolita produced Of Mary, a short film directed by Adrian Lester, which won Best Short Film at PAFF, Los Angeles.

Forthcoming acting projects include the eagerly anticipated Wheel of Time on Amazon.

Life of Pi will open in November 2021.

Other projects include Calmer, written and starring Lolita, which will open at The Rep in Birmingham in 2022.

Lolita is on the board of RADA and Rambert Dance.  She lives in South East London with husband, actor Adrian Lester and has two daughters.

Lolita was awarded with an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in June 2021 for services to the arts. 

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Lolita Chakrabarti OBE is an award-winning playwright and actress. Her writing credits include Red VelvetLife of Pi, Invisible Cities and Hymn and as an actress credits include RivieraHamlet, Vigil, ShowtrialCriminal and Jekyll and Hyde.

Lolita adapted the classic novel Life of Pi, which won four awards at the UK theatre Awards including Best Play. It will open in London's West End in November 2021, after premiered to 5-star reviews at the Sheffield Crucible in July 2019.

In the same month, Invisible Cities premiered at the Manchester International Festival.  Adapted from the classic novel of the same name by Italo Calvino, the ambitious and stunning production was a collaboration between Rambert dance company, 59 Productions and Lolita.

In 2012 Red Velvet premiered at the Tricycle Theatre in London.  It returned to the Tricycle in 2014, before transferring to New York and the West End.  Red Velvet was nominated for nine major awards including two Oliviers. Lolita won the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Most Promising Playwright, The Critics Circle Award for Most Promising Playwright and the AWA Award for Arts and Culture.  

Lolita wrote Hymn, a play about male love, that is neither romantic nor physical, which streamed live from The Almeida during the coronavirus pandemic in 2021 and opened to audiences in July 2021. She also curated The Greatest Wealth at the Old Vic in 2018, commissioning eight monologues of which she wrote one, about the NHS on its 70th birthday, which was updated in 2020 to reflect the pandemic, featuring Sharon D Clarke.  Other writing credits The Goddess for Woman's Hour BBC Radio 4 and Last Seen Joy for the Almeida.

As an actress credits include Fanny & Alexander (Old Vic), Hamlet directed by Sir Kenneth Brannagh (RADA), To Provide All People (BBC2), Delicious (Sky One), Born to Kill (CH4), Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands (ITV), Vera (ITV), Jekyll and Hyde (ITV), My Mad Fat Diary 3 (E4), Death in Paradise (BBC1), One Night (BBC1), Smoke (Sky1), Outnumbered (BBC1), J K Rowling’s A Casual Vacancy (BBC1/HBO), Riviera (Sky Atlantic), Criminal (Netflix) and Defending The Guilty (BBC).

Lolita produced Of Mary, a short film directed by Adrian Lester, which won Best Short Film at PAFF, Los Angeles.

Forthcoming writing projects Calmer at The Rep, which will also star Lolita. Acting projects include the eagerly anticipated Wheel of Time (Amazon).

Writing

Lolita Chakrabarti OBE is an award-winning playwright, with credits including Red Velvet, the award-winning Life of Pi, Invisible Cities and Hymn. Red Velvet opened in both London and New York and was nominated for nine major awards. In 2019 Lolita adapted the classic novel Life of Pi, which will open in the West End in 2021. In the same month, the ambitious Invisible Cities premiered at the Manchester International Festival. Other writing credits include a monologue for The Greatest Wealth (Old Vic), which Lolita also curated, The Goddess for BBC Radio 4 and Last Seen Joy for the Almeida Theatre in London.

Acting

Lolita Chakarbarti OBE has carved out an innovative, diverse and long running acting career on both stage and screen. Theatre credits include playing Queen Gertrude, opposite Tom Hiddleston, in Sir Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet (RADA), Fanny & Alexandra (Old Vic), Free Outgoing (Royal Court), John Gabriel Borkman (Donmar Warehouse) and The Great Game, Afghanistan (Tricycle).  TV credits include Vigil (BBC1), J K Rowling’s A Casual Vacancy (BBC1/HBO), To Provide All People (BBC2), Delicious (Sky One), Beowulf (ITV), Jekyll and Hyde (ITV), Outnumbered (BBC1), Riviera (Sky),  Criminal (Netflix), Defending The Guilty (BBC). Vigil (BBC1) and Showtrial (BBC1). 

Writing & acting

Lolita Chakarbarti OBE is an award-winning playwright and actress. Writing credits include the award-winning Life of Pi, which will open in the West End in 2021, the ambitious Invisible Cities (MIF), Hymn and Red Velvet, which opened in London’s West End and New York.  Theatre credits include playing Queen Gertrude, opposite Tom Hiddleston, in Sir Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet (RADA), Fanny & Alexandra (Old Vic) and Free Outgoing (Royal Court).  TV credits include A Casual Vacancy (BBC1/HBO), Vigil (BBC1), To Provide All People (BBC2), Beowulf (ITV), Jekyll and Hyde (ITV), Riviera (Sky), Criminal (Netflix), Defending The Guilty (BBC), Vigil (BBC1) and Showtrial (BBC1).

TWITTER FEED

Who saw us on @BBCTheOneShow on Friday?📺 Get an insight into our wonderful writers mind! @Lolitachakra Don't worry if you missed it, watch from 24:50 https://bbc.in/3o203O3 #LifeOfPiWestEnd

Tonight's show has a very special Q&A afterwards with @WriterYann and @Lolitachakra hosted by our talented director Max Webster - some good seats remain, don't miss out!🎙️#LifeOfPiWestEnd

Tonight at 9pm on BBC1 it’s the last episode of #SHOWTRIAL and we find out the truth. From excellent director @zarhayes - was so thrilled to be a part of this fine cast. Time for justice for Hannah Ellis.

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