Sheila Atim: Actress, Singer, Composer, Playwright
Sheila Atim MBE is a celebrated British actress, theatre artist, singer-composer, and playwright. Her credits include roles in Donmar Warehouse’s all-female Shakespeare trilogy in 2016 as well as her performance as Marianne Laine in Girl from the North Country’s original run in 2018.
She appeared as Limehouse Nell in the period drama series Harlots and regularly made appearances in both Barry Jenkins’ searing slavery show The Underground Railroad and Netflix sports drama Bruised.
Sheila Atim’s Biography
Sheila Atim was born in Uganda and moved to London as an early child, where she found an interest in music and singing before ultimately choosing medicine as her path through high school and medical school. After attending Coopers’ Company and Coborn School for her medical studies, She later attended King’s College London before discovering acting. At that point, she took classes at Weekend Arts Centre.
Sheila Atim made her stage debut in Che Walker’s play The Lightning Child at Shakespeare’s Globe, and soon after began receiving more acting roles. Casting directors and industry experts quickly recognized her talent.
Sheila has garnered numerous accolades in recent years. She earned an Olivier Award nomination for Girl From the North Country – winning Critics’ Circle Theatre awards along with it – which also garnered her a Critics’ Circle Theatre award; for portraying Marianne Laine she received an NAACP Image Award nomination and Evening Standard Best Newcomer recognition. She also featured as Mabel in Barry Jenkins’ Golden Globe-nominated limited series The Underground Railroad as well as being cast regularly on Hulu period drama television series Harlots while guest appearing in various shows such as Pale Horse, The Feed, and Bounty Hunters among others.
Sheila’s most recent film, The Woman King, has also garnered critical acclaim. Starring Viola Davis, Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch, and John Boyega as Agojie warrior units who protected Dahomey during 17th and 19th century times; The film received an enthusiastic reception at Toronto International Film Festival (2022), quickly earning its $50 Million budget back.
Critics and audiences have both given this film positive reviews. Many have lauded its portrayal of black women and that it was written and directed by an African woman, as well as its powerful message about inequality. All audiences should see it, yet some have voiced criticism regarding its failure to mention Dahomey’s slave trade history.
Sheila Atim’s Filmography
Sheila Atim is an award-winning British actress with an accomplished film and stage career. Starting as a biomedical science student, Sheila eventually moved towards theatre and attended London’s WAC Arts College for actor training. She made her professional debut at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in 2013 in Che Walker’s musical, ‘The Lightning Child’, written for her acting teacher Che Walker’s acting class. Soon thereafter she went on to secure roles both onstage and TV. She played Limehouse Nell in Hulu’s period drama series Harlots and made appearances in shows such as ‘The Feed and Bounty Hunters. Additionally, her work as Marianne Laine earned critical acclaim; for which she received an Olivier Award nomination.
In 2018, Othello provided another big break for young actress Nicola Walker. Critics hailed her performance as mesmerizing and she won the Critics’ Circle Theatre Award as well. Additionally, her portrayal of Emilia at Donmar Warehouse earned praise – alongside Mark Rylance and Andre Holland!
Atim is skilled in playing music as well. She can play piano, violin, bass, and drums. In 2019, Atim composed the score for Time is Love at London’s Finborough Theatre while Anguis premiered at Edinburgh Fringe Festival that same year.
Sheila Devlin made waves in 2021 by appearing in Barry Jenkins’ searing slavery series The Underground Railroad and Netflix’s sports drama Bruised – for both, she won critical acclaim. Additionally, she featured as Mabel in the 2022 fantasy historical fiction streaming television limited series The Irregulars before returning as “Marianne Laine” again for Amazon’s The Pale Horse two years later.
Gina Prince-Bythewood’s forthcoming epic about the Agojie, a real 19th-century African all-female army, should be released by early 2023 and Sheila hopes to participate.
Sheila Atim’s Appearances
Sheila Atim is one of Britain’s fastest-rising stars with a multitude of leading roles and impressive credits to her name. After making an impression with London theatre performances, Sheila’s acting career has since transformed seamlessly to on-screen grittiness through films and television roles; such as those alongside Halle Berry in the mixed martial arts drama Bruised or as Amenza from The Woman King; she even made appearances in Amazon Prime’s poignant The Underground Railroad as well as being cast regularly in period crime drama television series Angus and Harlots!
Sheila received an MBE in the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to drama. Critics and audiences have recognized Sheila for her powerful performances; recent work such as the BBC drama The Woman King cemented her place as a historical epic actress while her role as Sara Wolfe in the 2022 superhero flick Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness enabled her to showcase her strength on-screen.
Ugandan-born actress Kahindo made her stage debut as Maenad in The Lightning Child at Shakespeare’s Globe in 2013. Since then she has performed roles such as Viola and Sebastian in Phyllida Lloyd’s all-female production of Twelfth Night before going on to portray Ferdinand from The Tempest, Gadshill from Henry IV, and Julius Caesar from Les Blancs at Donmar Warehouse.
Her performance as Marianne Laine in the award-winning musical Girl from the North Country at London’s Old Vic was met with critical acclaim, earning her recognition with Laurence Olivier Award as Best Supporting Actress in a Musical.
Atim is an accomplished singer and composer. Her skills were showcased in the musical adaptation of Girl from the North Country she co-wrote with acting teacher Che Walker, garnering critical acclaim both by audiences and critics alike for its moving rendition of Tight Connection to My Heart by Bob Dylan as well as for its superb acting performances.
She has performed at concerts for both The Rolling Stones and The X Factor, lending her voice to video games and commercials.
Sheila Atim’s Awards
Sheila Atim may only have recently entered the film industry, yet has already garnered numerous accolades and awards. An EE Rising Star nominee, Sheila has featured in Barry Jenkins’ acclaimed limited series The Underground Railroad as well as soon becoming a guest lead on the British crime drama series Bruised. Additionally, this Ugandan-British actor will also star as Pinocchio in Disney’s live-action retelling coming later this year.
Atim made her stage debut at Shakespeare’s Globe with Che Walker’s Constellations musical in 2013. Since then she has appeared in several minor roles before securing her breakthrough role in Girl from the North Country by Bob Dylan in 2018.
Her performance brought both tears and applause from audiences alike, earning her an Olivier Award nomination and widespread praise from critics and audiences alike. What distinguished her most amongst her contemporaries was her skill at portraying such an emotionally vulnerable character so brilliantly.
Sheila Atim grew up in Rainham, Essex as one of two black girls at her school. As she recalls, Sheila experienced bullying and racism as part of growing up. Later she studied biomedical sciences at King’s College London while drama & singing were studied at Wac Arts College also in London.
Sheila Atim is not only known for her acting career but is also widely recognized as an accomplished singer-composer. Her music has been showcased in theatre productions like Hopelessly Devoted, Klook’s Last Stand, and The Woman King. Represented by Middleweek Newton Talent Management, Manuka, and The Artists Partnership.
Sheila Atim is also an active activist, using her platform to fight for equal rights for women in film and television production. Additionally, her work has raised funds for WAC (London Theatre Initiative which helps disadvantaged young people into creative industries).