Ruth Negga

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Ruth Negga
Born Jane Ruth Negga
1982 (age 31–32)
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Nationality Irish / Ethiopian
Occupation Actress
Years active 2004–present

Jane Ruth Negga (born 1982)[1] is an Ethiopian-born Irish actress who has starred in films such as Capital Letters (2004) (also released as Trafficked in some countries), Isolation (2005) and Breakfast on Pluto (2005), in the BBC mini-series Criminal Justice, RTÉ's Love/Hate and E4's Misfits.

Early life and education[edit]

Negga was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1982, where she lived until she was four, to an Irish mother and an Ethiopian father. She is an only child. She has a large family on her mother's side. Her father died in a car accident when she was seven.[2] Raised in Dublin, she has lived in London since 2006.[3]

Negga trained at the Samuel Beckett Centre at Trinity College, Dublin,[4] graduating with a BA in Acting Studies.[2]


Negga made her screen debut in the Irish film Capital Letters (2004), playing the lead role of Taiwo. She went on to play the lead role of Mary in Isolation (2005). Prior to this she had been working mostly in theatre.[4]

After seeing Negga act, director Neil Jordan changed the script to Breakfast on Pluto so that she could appear in the movie.[2] She has also starred in Colour Me Kubrick (2005), with John Malkovich, and the short films The Four Horsemen, 3-Minute 4-Play and Stars.

On television Negga has appeared in Doctors, Criminal Justice and the Irish series Love Is the Drug. She also played the lead role of Doris "Sid" Siddiqi in the BBC Three series Personal Affairs, alongside Laura Aikman, Annabel Scholey and Maimie McCoy.[5] Negga also appeared as Dame Shirley Bassey in the BBC production Shirley in 2011, and won the IFTA Award for Best Actress (Television) for her performance.

Negga's theatre work includes roles in Duck, Titus Andronicus and Lay Me Down Softly.[6] As of 2007 she began working with the Irish theatrical group Pan Pan Theatre.[7] In 2010, she played Ophelia in the National Theatre's production of Hamlet.

Negga has also provided voice acting in the video game Dark Souls 2, playing Shanalotte, otherwise known as "the Emerald Herald". Shanalotte is a key character in the game, providing guidance to the player as well as permitting the player to develop their character in exchange for collected souls.

In 2013, it was announced that Negga had been booked for a recurring role as Raina on the American TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..[8][9] In 2013, she appeared in Steve McQueen's Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave.[10]



Negga was nominated as 2003's Most Promising Newcomer at the Olivier Awards.[3] She was chosen as Ireland's Shooting Star for the 2006 Berlin Film Festival.[4]


Year Film Role Notes
2004 Doctors Wanda Harrison
-The Replacement (2004)
Soap opera
Capital Letters Taiwo Feature film
Love is the Drug Lisa Sheerin TV series
2005 3-Minute 4-Play Woman Short film
Stars Sophie Short film
Breakfast on Pluto Charlie Feature film
Isolation Mary Feature film
Colour Me Kubrick Lolita Feature film
2006 The Four Horsemen Woman Priest Short film
2008 Criminal Justice Melanie Lloyd TV series
2009 Personal Affairs Doris "Sid" Siddiqi TV series
2010 Misfits Nikki TV series
The Nativity Leah TV series
2010–2011 Love Hate Rosie TV miniseries
2011 Five Daughters Rochelle TV series
Shirley Shirley Bassey TV drama
2012 Fury (aka The Samaritan) Iris Feature film
2013 12 Years a Slave Celeste Feature film
Secret State Agnes Evans TV drama
World War Z WHO doctor Feature film
All Is by My Side Ida Feature film
2013-2014 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Raina TV series


External links[edit]