Oliver Chris
Oliver Chris
© Marc Brenner

Oliver Chris has had a pretty packed year, starring in the National Theatre's production of Twelfth Night and the BBC adaptation of King Charles III. He will also star as Engels in the Young Marx, the first production at the Bridge Theatre when it opens later this year.

Twelfth Night, which premiered in February, is being screened as part of the River Stage festival for free on Sunday 27 August.


Driving onto the Olivier stage was one of my favourite things in Twelfth Night. Delivering one of Shakespeare's most iconic speeches, that's a pretty cool thing. Whether or not I drove the car well, or whether or not I delivered the speech well, that's not for me to judge, but the fact that I did it was pretty amazing.

Working with Tamsin [Grieg] and the rest of the cast was fantastic. Simon Godwin created a great creative process and it was a great take on the story, really clear and funny and I was really proud of that. But beyond that the cast were just inherently funny and trendy. A lot of them were super talented so it was just great to be around them at all times.

I did A Midsummer Night's Dream with Judi Dench many years ago. I love mucking about and making people laugh. But I'll always identify as an actor over a comedian. I enjoy telling the story and if that story has a lot of laughs in it great, but if that story has a lot of tragedy in it then that's equally good.

It's been an incredible year, and I know how lucky I've been. Going off and doing Charles III on screen and then coming back and doing Twelfth Night on stage, for me it's part of the fun of being an actor. You know, different mediums with a different family telling a completely different story.

I've been reading Engels' work to prepare for Young Marx. My mum would be proud of me for the work I'm doing. I never normally do any prep for any role but this is different - I've been passionate about the history of theatre for so long, so to be part of the first play in this new major theatre, the first built in London for 50 years, that's a real honour.

The industry can feel quite mercenary, but this will be the third play I've done with Richard Bean and Nick Hytner. For me the biggest draw is being part of a team with these guys who I have respected and admired in my formative years. It's a phenomenal work, Nancy Carroll and Rory Kinnear are all so talented.

I'll be one of those older actors that bore people with their stories, because that's what older actors do. It's a rite of passage.

Twelfth Night will be screened for free outdoors on the River Stage on Sunday 27 August at 7.30pm.