Ali has worked extensively as an actor and director in both theatre and film for over 30 years with many companies throughout the UK. He taught acting and directing at Queen Margaret University for six years and became Programme Leader for the BA Acting and Performance course there before joining the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in January 2009.

Ali graduated from the University of Dundee with an MA (Hons) Psychology in 1985 and then went on to study PG Acting at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in 1991. He has an MFA in Screen Directing (Queen Margaret University, 2001) and in 2014, he completed a PG Cert in Teaching and Learning at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Ali is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

As Associate Head of Acting, Ali coordinates the BA Acting programme and teaches Shakespeare, Screen Acting and Professional Practice. He directs productions with all three-year groups and frequently collaborates with colleagues from the School of Music working on concert collaborations between actors and musicians. Ali also leads on several short courses specialising in directing and acting Shakespeare. He recruits for the BA Acting programme in New York and Chicago, and has held recruitment workshops in Edinburgh, London, Swansea, Mumbai, Boston, and New York. He has held masterclasses and toured RCS productions to St. Petersburg, Kazan, Beijing, and Kaohsiung. He also directs the RCS Actors for the annual Sam Wanamaker Festival, the Spotlight Prize and for the Laurence Olivier Bursary.