INTERVIEW: Chris Ioan Roberts

This week our reviewer Sarah Robertson attended a press performance of Chris Ioan Roberts’ new show ‘Dead Royal’, it’s on at OvalHouse (London) until this Saturday – 25th April 2015 – I caught up with Chris briefly between his rehearsals to as a few questions about his work.


  1. Please could you tell us a little bit about your journey in to theatre, how it happened and where you started…

I started with classic shows in my back yard in Australia. I used to dress my cat up in costumes and re-stage operas like Aida and Tosca. I initially trained as a dancer but I always wanted to be with other like-minded people. I trained at the Victorian College of Arts in Melbourne, graduating with a Bachelor of Dramatic Art in 2010 and while I was here I was invited as the sole Australian actor to attend the 2010 International Summer Residency at the Watermill Centre in New York, led by acclaimed American theatre director Robert Wilson. 

  1.  What was the inspiration behind ‘Dead Royal’?

Dead Royal started with me reading about Wallis Simpson’s story, which I found so compelling. There are beautiful parallels with Diana’s story and Wallis Simpson’s. I’m interested in how women survive in those environments, both coming in to the Royal family as commoners.  

  1. How do you rehearse your solo work?

I now have an assistant, Alex Rand, who works with me, but I write very quickly and explore physically first. I also research beforehand for up to three months. 

  1.  What do you hope to achieve with your work?  What would you like audiences to go away thinking?

I want audiences to have an extremely good time as if you’re going to a party thrown by these women. Almost as if you’re gate-crashing the event and at the same time, luxuriating in their presence. 

  1.  Have you got anything else lined up for this year?

This summer Dead Royal will be taken to Brisbane Festival and I will hopefully have a new show coming soon – possibly to do with Kate Middleton! 

© Amie Taylor (@spoonsparkle) and Chris Ioan Roberts (@ioanroberts) 2015.

If you would like to see this show, book tickets here.

Production image - Dead Royal, (courtesy Patricia Oliveira) (2) (1)

Photo: Patricia Oliviera

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