Paul Hunter talks to actor and writer Lolita Chakrabarti about her days at a convent school, balancing a career in writing and acting and Birmingham nightclubs.

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About Lolita Chakrabarti

Lolita Chakrabarti OBE is an award-winning playwright and actress.

Her adaption of Yann Martel's Booker prize winning novel Life of Pi for the stage, premiered to 5-star reviews at the Sheffield Crucible in July 2019 and opened in London's West End in November 2021. It has been nominated for nine Olivier awards including Best New Play, won four UK Theatre Awards and the WhatsonStage award for Best New Play.

Lolita’s original play Hymn streamed live from The Almeida during the coronavirus pandemic in 2021 and opened to audiences in July that same year.

Her adaption of Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities premiered at the Manchester International Festival before transferring to Brisbane Festival. This ambitious production was a collaboration between Rambert dance company, 59 Productions and Lolita.

In 2012 Lolita’s debut play 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.

She 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 play online and reflect the pandemic, featuring a new monologue by Bernadine Evaristo starring Sharon D Clarke.

In 2020 Lolita was dramaturg on Message in a Bottle for ZooNation and Sadlers Wells and is dramaturg on ZooNations’ forthcoming Sylvia.

In 2020 Bloomsbury published Adrian Lester and Lolita Chakrabarti: A Working Diary which followed a year in their working lives.

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

As an actress credits include Vigil (BBC1), Showtrial (BBC1), Wheel of Time (Amazon), 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), The Smoke (Sky1), Outnumbered (BBC1), J K Rowling’s A Casual Vacancy (BBC1/HBO), Riviera (Sky Atlantic), Criminal (Netflix), Defending The Guilty (BBC), WPC Blake in The Bill (ITV), Fanny & Alexander (Old Vic), and Hamlet directed by Sir Kenneth Branagh (RADA),

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