Born in Manchester, U.K, to a South Asian father and an Irish mother Raoul grew up in Ottawa and Bonn, Germany. A graduate of Canterbury Arts High School in Ottawa and the National Theatre School of Canada, he began acting at 15 as a founding member of the Shakespearean street theatre group, A Company of Fools. Raoul has appeared in the critically acclaimed productions “Helen’s Necklace”, “The Domino Heart”, “Bashir Lazhar”, “House of Many Tongues” and “Wide Awake Hearts” all at The Tarragon Theatre in Toronto. Other selected theatre credits include “The Cosmonauts last message… “(Canadian Stage), “Rice Boy”(Stratford Shakespeare Festival), “Savage Sensuality” (Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, U.K. Christopher Plummer Artistic Fellowship Award), “Sin City” (2002 Canadian Comedy Award Nomination), “The School for Wives” (Soulpepper Theatre), “Standing Female Nude” (Storm Collective), “The Cherry Orchard “(Theatre Smith- Gilmour/ Columbus), “Hamlet” (Neptune Theatre), “speak” (Prairie Theatre Exchange) and two seasons at The Blyth Festival under the direction of Paul Thompson.
In January 2006 at Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto he opened “Hamlet” (solo) which he conceived with director Robert Ross Parker. It has since been performed all across Canada where it was nominated for a Calgary Critics’ Award for Best Solo Show and won The Montreal English Critic’s Award for Best Touring Production. International touring has included Off Broadway, The Royal Academy of Drama in London, The Assembly Rooms as part of the Edinburgh Fringe and in Stratford upon Avon. The Gemini Award nominated documentary Hamlet (solo), directed by Jeff Stephenson premiered in 2007 on BRAVO! and continues to be broadcast.
Bhaneja was a series regular on Train 48 (where he also made his television directing debut) and has recurred on a number of series including the upcoming The Best Laid Plans, Ken Finkleman’s At The Hotel, The Ron James Show, Little Mosque all for CBC, Cra$h and Burn (Showcase), American series Runaway, Nikita (The CW), The Dresden Files (SyFy) and Against The Wall (Lifetime/NBC). His notable leading and supporting roles are numerous in television movies including Sunshine Sketches, Open Heart, The Summit (CBC) and Matters of Like and Dating and Perfect Plan (Lifetime). Extensive guest star credits include Saving Hope, Motive, Rookie Blue, Murdoch Mysteries, The Listener, Flashpoint, Alphas, The Republic of Doyle, Warehouse 13 and many more. Bhaneja's feature film credits include the recently released romantic comedy The Right Kind of Wrong and the soon to be released thriller Ice Soldiers. Other notable films include Awake, Ararat, At Home By Myself… With You, Extraordinary Visitor, Violet, Picture Claire, Godsend, Touch of Pink, Weirdsville and The Sentinel starring Michael Douglas. He narrated The In- Between World of M.G. Vassanji for Bravo and has lent his voice to many documentaries, cartoons and radio plays including the successful Steve The First and Second series and Afganada and This Is That, all for CBC Radio.
Raoul is the leader of the Maple Blues award winning band, Raoul and The Big Time. In 2007 they were named Best Blues Artist by Toronto’s NOW Magazine and they have opened for blues legends Buddy Guy, Bobby “Blue” Bland and The Downchild Blues Band. They have appeared on nationally televised shows like Canada AM (CTV), Studio 2 (TVO), Breakfast Television (City TV), performed at major festivals across the country, have completed two videos and released COLD OUTSIDE (2004) and BIG TIME BLUES (2000), YOU MY PEOPLE (2009) and BLUE MIDNIGHT: A LIVE TRIBUTE TO LITTLE WALTER (2010). Raoul’s next recording featuring guest spots by members of Curtis Salgado, Canned Heat and The Mavis Staples Band will be released in 2014. www.raoulbhaneja.com