Celebrating Britain's 101 Most Influential Asians 2024

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Lolita Chakrabarti


STARTING off as a theatre actress in the 1980s, Lolita Chakrabarty is now winning much critical acclaim as a playwright credited with making some well-known novels come alive on stage. Last year, she adapted Maggie O’Farrell’s bestselling novel Hamnet for the stage. Hamnet is about William Shakespeare and his wife Anne Hathway (named Agnes Hathaway in the play) and the psychological challenges they face after the death of their son, Hamnet. Chakrabarti worked closely with Farrell to translate the story from page to stage. Mounted by the Royal Shakespeare Company, the play was staged to a sold-out audience at Swan Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon (the birthplace of Shakespeare) and later at Garrick Theatre in London. Prior to Hamnet, Chakrabarti had adapted the classic novel Life of Pi for the stage in 2019 and received critical acclaim during its theatrical world premiere. Written by award winning novelist Yann Martell, Life of Pi was earlier made into a successful film. It was staged in Broadway last year and won three Tony Awards in the US and later bagged four awards at the UK Theatre Awards. Chakrabarti has also adapted Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities that was staged at the Manchester International Festival and later at Brisbane festival in 2019.

Chakrabarti made her playwriting debut in 2012 with Red Velvet, which is about the groundbreaking 19th-century Black actor Ira Aldridge. Chakrabarti’s writing credits also include the BBC drama Hear Me, and the television film A Long Walk to Finchley. She has also written for the stage including the play Souls, which was produced at the Royal National Theatre in London in 2013. She was trained at Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (Rada) in London. As an actor she has played Gertrude in a 2017 production of Hamlet directed by Kenneth Branagh. She has also appeared

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