Nabil Shaban

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Nabil Shaban
Nabil Shaban.jpg
Born (1953-02-12) 12 February 1953 (age 63)
Amman, Jordan
Occupation Actor, Writer
Children Zenyel

Nabil Shaban (born 12 February 1953[1]) is a Jordanian-British actor and writer. He founded The Graeae—a theatre group which promotes performers with disabilities. He has a son named Zenyel.

Shaban was born in Amman, Jordan. He studied at the University of Surrey in the late 1970s and contributed to the Students' Union newspaper "Bare Facts". In 1997, Shaban was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by University of Surrey, for services in the promotion of Disability Arts. One of his most memorable television roles was that of the reptilian alien Sil in the BBC science fiction television series Doctor Who. Shaban played Sil in two serials: Vengeance on Varos (1985) and Mindwarp (1986). Shaban is particularly well known among Doctor Who fans for Sil's laugh, which he created. He has returned to the role in Big Finish, Mission to Magnus (2009) and Antidote to Oblivion (2013), both again written by Philip Martin. He has appeared in several films, including Born of Fire (1983), City of Joy (1992), Derek Jarman's Wittgenstein (1993), Gaias børn (1998), and Children of Men (2006), and has also worked as part of the Crass Collective. In 2011, he played the Roman emperor Constantius II at the National Theatre in Ibsen's Emperor and Galilean.

In 2003 he made a TV documentary titled The Strangest Viking (part of Channel 4's Secret History series), in which Shaban explored the possibility that Viking chieftain Ivar the Boneless may have had osteogenesis imperfecta, the same condition he himself has. Shaban has also published a trilogy of Ivar the Boneless screenplays on Kindle, representing the Viking chieftain as a disabled Danish prince with brittle bones and unable to walk.

Shaban was nominated Best Actor in Scottish theatre in 2005, by the Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland (CATS), for his role as Mack the Knife in Bertolt Brecht's Threepenny Opera, a Theatre Workshop (Edinburgh) production. Shaban lost out to rival nominee David Tennant, who was about to become the new Doctor Who.

Shaban's play The First To Go premièred in May 2008, produced by Edinburgh's Benchtours Theatre Company in association with Sirius Pictures. It opened at the Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh on 23 May and toured to the Tron Theatre, Glasgow; the Byre Theatre, St Andrews and Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield.



Started Graeae Theatre Company of disabled people in 1980, Tom, romantic lead in "Crutch" a love story 1981 + 1983, Jesus in "Godspell" 1986, Haillie Selassie in "The Emperor" Royal Court 1987, "Hamlet" playing Hamlet 1988, "Downfall" 1988 Royal Court, Ayatollah Khomeini in "Iranian Nights" Royal Court 1989, "Nativity" 1990 Tricycle Theatre, "Boundary" 1991 IOU Theatre, Bradford, Volpone in "Flesh Fly" 1996 Graeae Theatre, "Nettles and Roses" 1996 Theatre Workshop, Edinburgh, Argos in "D.A.R.E." 1997, 1999, 2000 (Finland), 2004 Theatre Workshop, Edinburgh, Royal National Theatre "Haroun and the Sea of Stories" 1998 - played Rashid, the father of Haroun, Played human rights lawyer in Northern Ireland theatre drama "Portadown Blues" in Theatre Workshop, Edinburgh 2000, Wrote and performed one person theatre play "I am the Walrus" at Theatre Workshop, Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2001, Patrick in "Knocknashee" 2002 Dublin, Adham, Palestinian refugee in "Jasmine Road" 2003 Theatre Workshop, Edinburgh, Mack the Knife in "Threepenny Opera" 2004 Theatre Workshop, Edinburgh, Moneer in “One Hour Before Sun Rise” 2005 Theatre Workshop, Edinburgh, Hamm in Beckett’s “Endgame”, 2007/8 Theatre Workshop, Edinburgh, Siegfried in his own play “The First To Go”, 2008 Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, Marquis de Sade in “Marat/Sade”, 2008 Theatre Workshop, Edinburgh, Emperor Constantius II in "Emperor and Galilean", 2011 Royal National Theatre, London.


TV Documentaries[edit]

Co-wrote and presented "The Skin Horse" 1984 Channel Four, Co-wrote and presented "The Fifth Gospel" 1990 BBC TV, Presented "Rejects and Super Crips" Channel Four, Presented "Children of Gaia" 1997 Milton Media, Denmark, Writer, producer, director, host “The Alien Who Lived in the Sheds” 1997 BBC TV, Associate producer and presenter "The Strangest Viking" 2003 Channel Four, researcher, co-writer and presenter "Return of the Star People" 2003 Zentropa, Denmark.

TV Drama[edit]

Ben Gunn in "Walter" 1982 Channel Four, The Evil Sil in Dr Who 1985 + 1987 (BBC TV), Bill in "Raspberry Ripple" 1988 BBC TV, "The Emperor" 1988 BBC TV, Charlie aka God in "Billy's Christmas Angels" 1988, "Iranian Nights" 1989 Channel Four, Tom, romantic lead in Channel 4 TV drama "Deptford Graffiti" 1991, Alan in "Skallagrig" 1994 BBC TV, "South of the Border" BBC TV, "Inmates" BBC TV, Lawyer in “Sorry About Last Night” 1995 BBC TV.


Benn Gunn in "Treasure Island" BBC Radio 4 1994, Jaturi in "The Ramayan" BBC Radio 3 1994, "Pie in the Sky" BBC Radio 4 1995, Firdaus Kanga in "Trying to Grow" BBC Radio 4 1995, Danda in "Tales of the Great Unwashed" 2005 Resonance FM, Sil in “Doctor Who: Mission to Magnus” Big Finish Audio 2009, Sil in “Doctor Who: Antidote to Oblivion” Big Finish Audio 2013.

Feature Film[edit]

"Born of Fire" 1986, "The City of Joy" 1991, "Age of Treason" 1993, "Wittgenstein" 1993, "Slave of Dreams" 1995, “Children of Men” 2007, “Trouble Sleeping” 2008, “Morticia” 2009.

Producer / Director / Writer[edit]

"Another World" 1995 (purchased by BBC TV), "The Alien who lived in the Sheds" BBC TV 1997 (won 2 awards), "The Skin Horse" (won Royal Television Society Award, Emmy Award), "Reports Action Appeal" Granada TV (won the Co-operative Society TV Award), "Gandhi; an Inspiration" 1983 BBC Radio World Service, "Telephone Dummies" 1984 BBC TV drama, "The Fifth Gospel" 1990 BBC TV Everyman documentary, "King of the Incurables", screenplay 1990, "Circus Nightmare", screenplay 1991, "Another World" 1995 – funded by Arts Council of England, "D.A.R.E." 1996-1997 Theatre Workshop, "The First To Go" 1996 Graeae Theatre, "The Inheritance", screenplay 1997 BFI, "The Alien who lived in the Sheds" BBC TV 1997, "I am the Walrus", one actor stage play 2001 Theatre Workshop, “Crip Triptych”, music drama documentary 2006, “Morticia” film drama 2009.


  1. ^ Shaban, Nabil. Retrieved 1 August 2011.

Further reading[edit]

  • Dreams my Father Sold Mepoetry and artworks by Nabil Shaban (ISBN 0-9548294-0-9)
  • The First To Go: An Original Play About Disabled People in Nazi Germany — by Nabil Shaban (ISBN 978-0954829414)
  • D.A.R.E. (Disabled Anarchists' Revolutionary Enclave) - Play (theatre) - by Nabil Shaban, Robert Rae, Jim McSharry, Daryl Beeton, and John Hollywood (ISBN 0-413-77261-6)
  • The Ripper Code - Fiction Crime Thriller - by Nabil Shaban (ISBN 978-0954829421)
  • Diary of the Absurd - Surreal Fiction - by Nabil Shaban (ISBN 978-0954829438)
  • The Saga of Ivarr the Boneless Trilogy;
    • part 1 - The Boneless Wonder is Born [Kindle Edition]
    • part 2 - Fury of the Antichrist [Kindle Edition]
    • part 3 - Pagan New World Order [Kindle Edition]

External links[edit]