Adebayo Tibabalase Bolaji (Ade) was born in Perivale in the London Borough of Ealing, of Nigerian parents and is an actor, artist, writer and director.
Ade trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama (now The Royal Central School of Speech and drama) but began his acting career when he was 14 with the National Youth Music Theatre making his West End debut in their 1997 production of Bugsy Malone at the Queen’s Theatre. With NYMT he performed at the Edinburgh Festival three times, in Tokyo, at the Palace Theatre and the Lyceum in the West End.
Ade originated the role of the Subway Ghost in the award-winning West End Ghost the Musical, directed by Matthew Warchus and produced by Colin Ingram. [ Music and lyrics written by Eurthymics’ frontman, Dave Stewart and the Grammy award-winning Glenn Ballard. At the end of the contract, he went on to play one of Javier Bardem’s henchmen in what was stated then as the biggest selling British film, Skyfall, directed by Sam Mendes.
Other original cast productions include, the European premiere of The Color Purple (Menier Chocolate Factory, directed by John Doyle) where he played the role of Harpo and the original London cast of The Scottsboro Boys (Young Vic, directed by Susan Stroman), playing the role of Clarence Norris.
Ade is also an accomplished writer and director, his first play Ugly Butterflies was performed at the Central School of Speech and Drama while still in training. Ade’s second play, In Bed, was written and produced at The Questors Theatre with his theatre company Ex Nihilo Theatre Group, in 2009. The play ran for three days as a semi workshop to test the play. Subsequently, in 2014 the play ran for a full week at the London Theatre Workshop, again directed by Ade, but with him also starring in it along side actress Allyson Ava Brown.
A huge poetry, music and art enthusiast, as well as being a percussionist, Ade continues to collaborate with artists of every field in creating or facilitating new work, particularly through Ex Nihilo Theatre Group.
Ade has just worked with the acclaimed Knee-high Theatre company, in their production of 946 this summer with director Emma Rice. He played the role of Carole in the film The White King, based on the original novel by Gyorgy Dragoman, directed by Alex Helfrecht, Jorg Tittel, starring Jonathan Pryce, Fiona Shaw and Agyness Deyn.
In 2015, Ade held a private viewing of his art work, with pieces that explored anthropological discussions on systems and growth, inspired by the late anthropologist Gregory Bateson. Some pieces also had influences from Jazz, West African music and poetry.
Before Ade trained as an actor at Central, he trained as a lawyer and graduated from London Guildhall University.