The latest in our Verbatim Q and A series is Kieran Mortell an actor currently at the Pop Up Globe.
Can you give us a little bit of background about yourself?
Sure. I’m 27 years old, from England. I was born in the Cotswolds, and after getting married to my childhood sweetheart of 10 years last year, we have moved back from London to our hometown of Cheltenham, in the countryside. My wife’s name is Meg Mortell – she is also an actress (currently touring THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG, which is coming to Auckland in September). I enjoy long walks with the dogs (Pop-up Globe have been very kind and given me a dog for MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, so that is filling that void in my life). I spend most of my free time either watching soccer, or watching comedy. I trained to be a fool at The Royal Central School of Speech & Drama and have been working professionally since 2012.
When did you know that you wanted to be an actor?
Well… I’m still kind of thinking about that. I have my first drama teacher, the inspirational; Tony Benet to thank (or blame) really. He plucked me out of the school football team and threw me onto the stage for the first time at 15 years old, and I haven’t got bored of it yet. I just think it’s crazy that someone pays me money to dress-up & pretend to be someone else for a few hours. I was a youth international soccer player, and thought that may be the way I went with my life, but that didn’t work out – and I didn’t really focus in school as I was too busy clowning about. Basically I just love making people laugh, and found out as I was growing up that I would do literally anything to try and get the smallest, cheapest laugh (and I think that still reflects in my acting work today). I don’t always think of myself as an actor, but more of an entertainer… for me, theatre is entertainment and my job is usually to make people enjoy themselves, relax, giggle and forget about any problems for just a few minutes. If there’s not laughter emanating from the Pop-up Globe every night, then I’m not doing my job!!
What is a role that you would love to play?
This is always a tricky question to answer. My dream would be a stage adaptation of the life of Buster Keaton – he is a big inspiration for me. In terms of Shakespeare, I’d love to have a crack at PUCK (A Midsummer Nights Dream) or the DROMIO’s (Comedy of Errors). As I love playing the fool. But there is a secret little part of me would love to get given a meaty role like HOTSPUR (Henry IV) to see if I could do some actual proper acting, like the amazing company of actors I get to share the stage with at Pop-up Globe. It’s very, very exciting to get to work with so many talented people, it makes me feel a little out of my depth, in a good way – as it makes me strive to improve my skill set.
What is one thing you wish your teenage self knew?
That somebody should stop Donald Trump… Or on a more professional note, that Shakespeare is so accessible. At school, I never really got into it – having to sit and read in English classes. But as soon as I went to see it on stage, it suddenly all fell into place. It’s constantly an amazing surprise to me how relevant his writing still is. On a personal note; that my hometown isn’t the end of the horizon. I’m so lucky that acting has taken me to perform in over 30 countries worldwide, and that has lead me to realise that TRAVEL is what life is about, immersing yourself in new cultures/traditions/tasting new foods – it’s like a physical and emotional stamp on your passport and you take all these new exciting things with you as you plod along through life.
What’s an aspiration that you have – outside of acting/your career?
Well, this is hard to separate because, our job really doesn’t feel like work – it’s SO MUCH FUN! So there are many places I want to visit, many projects I want to make happen and many people that I want to collaborate with. But I guess, on a personal level… to travel more. I really want to hit up India & Africa soon. Oh, and I can’t wait to have a little family (mainly so I can train them all to be little stunt people, and we can make a travelling slapstick show). Also it would sort of complete the storybook, I have a cottage in the Cotswolds, I have a wife & now just need the little ones!!
Follow Kieran on Instagram and Twitter: @KieranMortell
I’m having an amazing time working for ‘POP-UP GLOBE’ here in Auckland – playing DOGBERRY (Much Ado About Nothing) and RODERIGO (Othello) until May 14th on site at Ellerslie Racecourse. They are an incredible company to work for, and I’m loving being here in your country for the first time. If anyone hasn’t been along to see the shows yet, get your tickets here; https://popupglobe-managed-nz.eventfindahq.com/tickets
More from the #PopUpGlobe coming soon. These interviews were made possible by Ella of the Pop Up Globe, thank you so much to her.