Shanaya trained at RADA, representing them at the Sam Wanamaker Festival 2010.
Her television work includes Doctor Who.
Her recent theatre credits include Around the World in 80 Days at the St James Theatre, Great Expectations at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, the UK tour of James Dacre’s A Tale of Two Cities, The White Devil at the Globe, Terror at the Lyric Hammersmith, Uncle Vanya directed by Tamara Harvey at Theatre Clwyd and Sheffield and Frankenstein at Royal Exchange Manchester
Shanaya most recently performed in Romeo and Juliet and Richard III at the Rose Theatre York
Praise for Shanaya in Frankenstein at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
Perhaps Elizabeth, the woman to whom Frankenstein is briefly wed, could be a candidate for the strength in the piece? She is played with illuminating intelligence by Shanaya Rafaat – a star in the making. The Observer
Shanaya will be performing in Frankenstein at the Royal Exchange Manchester,
9 March – 7 April 2018
Reviews are in for Shanaya Rafaat’s performance in Uncle Vanya.
The press on Shanaya:
- “Shanaya Rafaat’s Elena is more than a gold digging temptress playing with the men around her. Rafaat plays her every bit as a grownup Veruca Salt, she is petulant, spoilt and petty, but she also brings to the role an awareness of her vulnerability and weakness” Exposed Magazine
- Elena; originally played by Ola Knipper Chekhova (in a production including Stanislavsky no less), this gives Shanaya Rafaat quite something to live up to. And she does – Carole Baldock, North West End Rating
- Dimsdale, Rafaat and Ballard provide the intrigue with the miniature-explosions in their disappointed love triangle – The Reviews Hub
- Shanaya Rafaat and Rosie Sheehy make another excellent pairing as Elena and Sonia. Rafaat maintaining a delicate aloofness and Sheehy carrying fragile charm right to her final, closing line – Nigel Smith, The Stage
- Shanaya Rafaat is a beautiful Elena, swishing around in her elegant gown and drawing the eyes of the hapless men – Velda Harris, British Theatre Guide
Shanaya Rafaat in 'Uncle Vanya'
Shanaya Rafaat cast as Elena in Tamara Harvey’s production of Uncle Vanya, play at Theatre Clwyd from 21st September – 14th October.
Shanaya Rafaat has opened in Terror
Shanaya Rafaat has just opened in Terror at the Lyric Hammersmith and positive reviews have rolled in.
- “What seals the deal is the cast. You could easily imagine this being done with second-tier actors, but Holmes has roped in some big hitters…a thrill” Andrzej Lukowski, Time Out
- “The cast is irreproachable.” Kate Kellaway, The Guardian
- “… Rafaat as the widow hit the right tone, neither inflected nor flat.” 4 stars, Dominic Maxwell, The Times
Shanaya Rafaat in 'The Terror'
Shanaya Rafaat cast in Terror, directed by Sean Holmes at the Lyric Hammersmith.
Terror will play at the Lyric from 14th June – 15th July 2017.
Reviews in for 'The White Devil'
The White Devil, at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at the Globe, in which Shanaya plays Zanche, receives fantastic reviews.
The press on Shanaya Rafaat and The White Devil:
- “Shanaya Rafaat as Vittoria’s waiting woman…a striking mix of wily opportunist and instinctive truth-teller.” 4 stars, Michael Billington, The Guardian
- “Shanaya Rafaat as Zanche is a standout” 5 stars, Stuart McMillan, The Upcoming
- “Ryan’s vivid cast always make the verse sound bounding and spontaneous…” 4 stars, Paul Taylor, The Independent
- “unexpected, rich in parody and beautifully acted. A treat for the eyes and ears.” 4 stars, Marc Brenner, Broadway World
Shanaya Rafaat in 'White Devil'
Shanaya Rafaat cast as Zanche in The White Devil, directed by Annie Ryan at the Globe, in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.
First reviews in for 'A Tale of Two Cities'
A Tale of Two Cities, with Shanaya Rafaat as Lucie Manette receives glowing reviews.
The press on Shanaya Rafaat and A Tale of Two Cities:
- “…whimsical Shanaya Rafaat as Lucie Manette…this epic of literature gets a welcome revival at the hands of Dacre and his team, and a well-deserved exposure to a wider audience.” 5 stars, Michael Davies, Whats on Stage
- “Miss Rafaat is tidily swoonsome” 5 stars, Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
- “Shanaya Rafaat is…exactly right as Lucie, a permanent rose in everyone’s life…If you know A Tale Of Two Cities you will enjoy this version immensely as it rises absolutely to the challenge; if you don’t know it, you will think it is one of the best stories you have ever witnessed unfold on stage.” 5 Stars, Stephen Collins, Live Theatre
- “It is a neat and compact production of a complicated novel, filled with excellent performances and a mostly swift and pacy direction from James Dacre.” 4 Stars, A Small Mind at the Theatre
- “acting, writing and set designing of the highest quality…the engrossing action never loses pace and this is mainly due to the quality of the acting…probably the highest standard of theatre I have ever seen.” Callum Jones, Northampton Chronicle
Shanaya Rafaat in 'A Tale of Two Cities'
Shanaya Rafaat joins the cast of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities at the Royal & Derngate Northampton, followed by a UK Tour.
Shanaya plays Lucie Manette in the production, directed by James Dacre, on tour until 26th November 2016.
Shanaya Rafaat in 'EastEnders'
Shanaya Rafaat plays a guest role in two episodes of BBC’s EastEnders.
Shanaya Rafaat in 'Great Expectations'
Shanaya Rafaat played Estella in Lucy Bailey’s production, of Great Expectations at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, which played 9th March – 2nd April 2016.
The press on Shanaya and Great Expectations:
- “Shanaya Rafaat is throughly chilling as an ice-cold Estella whose heart never melts.” – 4 Stars – Roger Foss – The Stage
- “Shanaya Rafaat as Estella hits the right note of smiling iciness, tapping her heart and reminding Pip that “there is nothing here”” – 4 Stars – Dominic Maxwell – The Times
- “As for the Estellas, Natalya Aspinall’s younger version is imperious, with traces of human compassion; Shanaya Rafaat’s older self ensures that these have been eradicated completely.” 4 stars – Alfred Hicking, The Guardian
Praise for Shanaya Rafaat in 'Stateless'
Shanaya Rafaat played Kat in the Kali Theatre Company’s Stateless, at the Tristan Bates Theatre.
The press on Shanaya:
4-star reviews for 'Around the World in 80 Days'
Shanaya Rafaat played Mrs Aouda in Lucy Bailey’s 4-star production of Around the World in 80 Days at the St James’ Theatre.
The press on Shanaya:
- “The best performance by some distance comes from Shanaya Rafaat as Fogg’s romantic interest, Mrs Aouda…Rafaat manages to make her character poignant, graceful and sympathetic.” – Alex Larman, The Arbuturian
- Shanaya Rafaat as Mrs Aouda brings a beautiful warmth to the production” – Emily Jones, Bargain Theatre Land
- “the spiky, sensual Mrs Aouda (a well judged performance from Shanaya Rafaat)” – Gary Naylor, Broadway World
- “Shanaya Rafaat, heart-melting indeed” – Holly Williams, What’s On Stage