Barış Atay, born 1981 in Germany and raised in Antakya, began his studies in biology in Adana in 1999 before deciding to switch to acting at Yeditepe University in Istanbul. In 2011, he completed his MA in film and television at Kadir Has University in Istanbul. His roles in multiple successful television series garnered him attention in the early years of his acting career. He then appeared in numerous plays and feature films. In 2014, he founded the production company Barikat Film to produce his directorial debut, a feature film titled Eksik (Lack), in which he also plays the lead role.
Atay was detained after the Gezi protests in 2013, interrogated for three days, and ordered to pay a fine for insulting the president. Despite repeated arrests and public harassment, such as the release of his home address on social media, Atay continues to perform Only A Dictator, which he developed together with Onur Orhan (author) and Caner Erdem (director) in 2015. After the work was banned in January 2018 in various parts of Turkey, the activists published the play on the Internet and have performed it in several theatres throughout the country as a staged reading.