Yiğit Özşener is a Turkish actor of screen and stage, born in İzmir, April 6, 1972. He completed his undergraduate studies in BS in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering at Yıldız Technical University and his MBA at Koc University, Istanbul. His acting career started on theatre stage when he joined Studio Players during his undergraduate studies. Under Sahika Tekand’s
mentorship, he quickly proved himself as versatile performer and took part in the Studio’s various plays including Dumb Waiter by Harold Pinter. He participated workshops based on Suzuki method of acting by Ellen Lauren
as well as Theodoros Terzopoulos of Attis Theatre in Athens, Greece in 1996. His ﬁrst international stage appearance was in 2000, he played in Heracles Triology produced by Attis Theatre of Athens for 10th International Greek Drama Festival.
His earliest credit roles on television were commercials; ﬁrst he became the face of Turk.net campaign (telecommunication). Next, he starred in the branded mini series of Turkcell (leading communication and technology provider) which was a highly successful campaign that embraces celebrity endorsement and art of storytelling for the ﬁrst time in Turkey. This campaign proved to be the turning point of his career as he managed to get his ﬁrst break on TV series in 2001; performing a theatre actor who was the ﬁrst suspect of an unsolved murder in Karanlıkta Koşanlar; an acclaimed controversial crime-drama which was ahead of its time . That same year, he received an offer from Üzgünüm Leyla, a compelling TV series that culminate a very respected and experienced cast. His performance among such a cast led to his involvement in permanently in drama series, made-for-TV ﬁlms and movies in the upcoming years. Consecutively, he acted in Unutma Beni (2002), Estağfurullah Yokuşu (2003), Crude (2003), O Şimdi Asker (2003), Arapsaçı (2004), Çalınan Ceset (2004), Gece 11.45 (2004), One Day Europe (2004), 24 Saat (2005), Tombala (2005), 5 Vakit (2005), Kabuslar Evi (2006), Rüya Gibi (2006) and Last Looks (2006). Among other highly acclaimed series and movies, he has also been a part of several short ﬁlms. While appearing in a string of roles on screen, he never lost his passion on acting on stage. He joined a workshop by the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowsky & Thomas Richards
in 2004 and another one by Shizuoka Performing Arts Center
members in 2006. Later that year, he acted in Persians (coproduction directed by Theodoros Terzopoulos
) in the opening of Theater Olympics
in Turkey and Epidaurus Festival
in Greece. In 2007, he starred in the trailer of Istanbul International Indepedent Film Festival.
His role in Dudaktan Kalbe (2007), the modern adaptation of 1925 novel by the famous Turkish author Reşat Nuri Güntekin, set his career on a path to totally new heights. In this drama, he played the cynical character of the series, Cemil Paşazade, and turned him into someone caring and devoted in the end. Him raising an insigniﬁcant character of the novel up to the titular character of the drama and bringing the series to a surprising conclusion, caught the eye of many. Up next for Yiğit Özşener, was joining the A list star studded cast of Ezel in 2009. Ezel was a massive game changer in the Turkish televisions, won several awards and became worldwide popular. (still one of the most exported series to date - more than 80 countries). His portrayal of Cengiz Atay in this number-one-rated series is widely considered to be among the greatest antagonists of all time. This brought him, his ﬁrst leading role in a movie, Kaybedenler Kulübü (2011) which became a cult in modern Turkish cinematography with its controversial content, non-status-quo thoughts and long conversations without taboos. Despite a love story that falls ﬂat on the scenario based on a true story, the great chemistry between the two leading male actors who provide ample doses of humour as radio programmers while poignantly portraying loneliness in an overcrowded city, took over the show entirely. On the strength of his ability to craft impactful character ﬂaws, Yiğit Özşener acquired a reputation masterfully portraying dark, manipulative, unpredictable, passionate but unappealing ﬁgures. On the other hand, casting in supporting roles of other big budget productions in the same period; Güneşi Gördüm (2008), Aşk Tesadüﬂeri Sever (2010), Dedemin İnsanları (2011), cemented his status as a multi layered character actor. Besides his commitment and popularity on screen during the 2000’s, he continued to remain active on stage as well. He had prominent roles in several works. He played in A Trial in Istanbul (2008) based on Kafka’s The Trial and Evridike’nin Çığlığı (2009) based on Sophocles’ Antigone one after another. In 2010, he performed in Forgetting in Ten Steps
AntiPrometeus, a play produced for 2010 World Cultural Capitals. Shortly after he joined a workshop tutored by Natsuko Ohama
and Susan Main
in 2014, he played in Water’s Edge by Theresa Rebeck for two seasons.
Yiğit Özşener’s acting style remained ﬁrmly rooted in his stage technique, led him develop a form of screen acting that was quite stylised. Yet one of his greatest achievements is that he is so persuasive, it is hardly to be catchable. After a series of TV and cinema performances with diverse range of roles that followed the years; Son (2012), Intikam (2013), Two Faces of January (2013), Yüz Yıllık Mühür (2015), Cesur ve Güzel (2016), Bir Kahramanın Rüyası (2016), İşe Yarar Bir Şey (2016) and Kaybedenler Kulübü Yolda (2018), he landed his debut role on digital platforms. He took on the lead role in an original BluTV series; Bozkır (2018). In this 10 episode crime story, Yiğit Özşener starred as Seyﬁ Amir who is an experienced police ofﬁcer with a rookie partner, investigates a serial killer with a fondness for leaving weird evidence after murdering children in a small town. The spooky setting and strong chemistry between the lead actors, pretty much captured viewers and critics interest. He burst back into commercials as the brand ambassador of Dacia (automative) and portraying a wise and off-the-beaten track man in the branded series on TV and the digital ads.
Recently, he is on stage with two plays; Waiting For Godot (2016) and IO (2019) by Studio Players
(both of which premiered at Istanbul International Theater Festival on consecutive editions) and on screen with a new prime time TV series Ramo (2020). Yiğit Özşener is also a sought after voiceover artist for commercials and audio-book streaming services. On top of that, he has not limited his professional career to just acting, as he is a committed environmentalist, who is active volunteer and ambassador of TEMA foundation (preventing erosion, reforestation and protection of natural habitats).