Hassan was born in London into a large Indo-Trinidadian/English family in 1961. After completing an MA in Theatre Studies at Leeds University in 1984 he worked as an actor, devisor and director in Theatre in Education and Community Theatre, mainly in the north of England, with companies including M6 Theatre Co (Rochdale) and Pit Prop Theatre (Wigan). He then went on to work as a campaigning journalist, covering major events including the Stephen Lawrence public inquiry. He speaks regularly on issues of race and racism, black history, Muslims in British society and diversity and equality in the arts. He is a founder member of the campaigning organisation Unite against Fascism.
Hassan was a senior strategist at Arts Council England for nine years (until 2013) where he was charged with drawing up and implementing ACE’s national Race Equality Schemes. He advised on and launched many equality projects, including the innovative Arts and Islam platform, Sustained Theatre, Inspire and Decibel before going on to develop, write and launch ACE’s unique and internationally recognised approach to art, society and equality – The Creative Case. He set up ACE’s Black Workers Group and mentored BAME staff. While at ACE he advised hundreds of individuals and organisations on diversity and equality. He is also the lead facilitator of the World Islamic Economic Forum’s MOCAFellows course: an annual week intensive workshop teaching young artists from all over the world to develop their business skills and creative vision. He advises renowned visual artist Rachel Gadsden.
Hassan is a published author. He has contributed to many books and journals including Tell It Like It Is: How Our Schools Fail Black Children. He wrote a popular biography of radical Victorian artist William Morris Crossing the River of Fire and a popular series of monographs: Black British Rebels- Figures from Working Class History. He edited the well-received book Defending Multiculturalism. He is a governor of Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance and on the board of theatre company 30 Birds Productions. He is Co-director of the Muslim Institute, a free-thinking Muslim organisation based in London and is deputy editor of the institute’s quarterly publication Critical Muslim. He also writes an occasional music blog on his years as a teenage punk-rocker in the 1970s.
He has recently returned to playwriting with a one woman show The Crows Plucked Your Sinews, about Somalis in Britain and Britain in Somalia. It is on a UK tour in Spring 2016, performed by Yusra Warsama under his new production company Dervish.