Chakrabarti graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in 1990.
Her screen credits include Riviera Season 2 , Delicious , Defending the Guilty , All Is True , 'Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands, The Casual Vacancy, Jekyll and Hyde, Intruders (2011), Bodies, Vera, Outnumbered, Hustle, Born to Kill, Extras Christmas Special, William and Mary, Fortysomething, Holby City, Silent Witness, and as WPC Jamila Blake in the long running ITV drama The Bill.
Her theatre credits include Fanny and Alexander for the Old Vic (2018) Gertrude in Hamlet starring Tom Hiddleston, directed by Kenneth Branagh for RADA (2017), The Great Game: Afghanistan for the Tricycle Theatre (2009), Last Seen for the Almeida (2009) (which she co-wrote), Free Outgoing for the Royal Court (2008) and John Gabriel Borkman for the Donmar Warehouse (2007).
Chakrabarti's writing credits include Red Velvet, a play about Ira Aldridge, an African-American actor at the centre of controversy in 1833 when he takes over from Edmund Kean in Othello at the Theatre Royal in Covent Garden. Premiered in 2012 at the Tricycle Theatre, London, it returned to a sold out run at The Tricycle in 2014 before transferring to St Ann's Warehouse in New York. It returned again to the Garrick Theatre in London's West End as part of Kenneth Branagh's season in 2016. Chicago Shakespeare Theater and San Diego's Old Globe Theatre presented Red Velvet in 2017-18. Red Velvet has had over twenty five productions in the United States.
The play won Chakrabarti the Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright at the 2012 Evening Standard Awards. That same year she was nominated for Best New Play and London Newcomer of the Year at the Whatsonstage Awards. She won the award for Most Promising Playwright at the Critics Circle Awards in January 2013 and was awarded the AWA Award for Arts and Culture that same year. Red Velvet was also nominated for an Olivier Award in 2013 and Adrian Lester was nominated for an Olivier in 2016 for his portrayal of Ira Aldridge in Red Velvet.
Chakrabarti also wrote The Goddess for Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4, Faith, Hope and Blue Charity, on BBC Radio 4, and (with Simon Burt and Matthew David Scott) Last Seen for Slung Low and the Almeida.
In 2018 Chakrabarti curated The Greatest Wealth for The Old Vic Theatre, London. She commissioned eight monologues of which she also wrote one in recognition of the 70th birthday of the NHS.
Chakrabarti has adapted Booker Prize winning novel Life of Pi by Yann Martel which premieres at Sheffield Crucible Theatre in July 2019. She has also adapted Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities in collaboration with Leo Warner and 59 Productions, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Rambert Dance company which premieres at Manchester International Festival in July 2019.
Chakrabarti ran Lesata Productions with Rosa Maggiora. In 2011, they produced Of Mary, a short film that won the Best Short Film Award at PAFF, Los Angeles 2012. Chakrabarti and Maggiora were nominated for the Best Producer Award at the Underwire Festival, London 2011.
Chakrabarti was born in Kingston upon Hull to Hindu Bengali parents from India and grew up in Birmingham, where her father, an orthopaedic surgeon, worked at Selly Oak Hospital. She is married to actor Adrian Lester. They have two daughters, Lila and Jasmine, both born in Southwark, London.
- "findmypast.co.uk". search.findmypast.co.uk.
- "Play it again, Lolita".
- "RADA: The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art - Student". www.rada.ac.uk. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
- Lolita Chakrabarti on IMDb
- it returned to the Tricycle in 2014 to a sold out run before transferring to St Anne's Warehouse in New York. It then returned to the Garrick Theatre in London's West End as part of the Kenneth Branagh season in 2016. "Full casting announced for Chakrabarti's Red Velvet at Tricycle", Whatsonstage.com, 12 September 2012; retrieved 17 November 2012.
- Red Velvet review, independent.co.uk; accessed 18 October 2014.
- Profile, nytimes.com, 1 April 2014; accessed 18 October 2014.
- "Archive - Slung Low". Retrieved 6 May 2016.
- Of Mary (2011), "Full cast and crew" at imdb.com; retrieved 17 November 2012.