A rising star
Sheila Atim (Biomedical Science, 2013)
Sheila Atim is an actress, musician, model and scientist. In just a few years, she has gone from studying science at King’s to scooping an Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical and an MBE. Sheila talks to InTouch Online about her incredible rise to success.
‘When I was at school, I wanted to become a doctor. I then changed my mind and decided to pursue an artistic route, which, at the time, I thought would be singing. I had studied A-level Drama and been in theatrical productions at school, but I didn’t consider it as a career until about three years down the line. I attended Wac Arts in Belsize Park, taking singing and drama classes – it all went from there.’
‘The classes were invaluable but they were only for two hours every Sunday. So, a lot of my experience came from learning on the job. I’ve had the privilege of working at theatres such as the Globe, the National Theatre, the Donmar Warehouse, the Old Vic and with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the West End. More recently, my work has moved into screen too, with work for Amazon, Netflix, the BBC and independent film.’
‘In 2018, I received an Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for a show called Girl from The North Country. I also received an MBE for Services to Drama in 2019. I’d say these are my proudest achievements in a more tangible sense regarding accolades. But I’m always reminded that the work itself and the connections that I’ve built with colleagues and audience members are just as important, if not more so.’
‘Now, I look back and feel a strong connection between my scientific and artistic sides. Science often comes up in my work – even the way I approach things in the rehearsal room is affected by having taken BioMed. Sometimes it’s little private parallels and analogies I make for myself. I didn’t take the path expected of someone who studied my degree, but I jumped in with full dedication and have no regrets. And I still believe that my degree has enriched my life regardless.’
In 2020, you can see Sheila in Netflix’s The Irregulars, a Sherlock Holmes retelling, in The Show with Tom Burke and Ellie Bamber, and in the Amazon series The Underground Railroad.