Interview: Ulrika Krishnamurti Talks “Around the World in 80 Days”

Ulrika Krishnamurti’s artistic journey began at age 12 with “Rockford”, a coming-of-age cult classic by acclaimed filmmaker Nagesh Kukunoor. Her theatre credits include “Made in India” (a performance which earned her an Off West End award nomination), “Pink Sari Revolution” and “The Government Inspector”. Film/Television credits include “Holby City”, “The Anushree Experiments” and “Dead Men Tell No Fairy Tales”. Ulrika trained at the Guildford School of Acting and she is also a singer of jazz and Indian classical music. Through her theatre company, “Transcend Drama”, she aims to create theatre that truly affects – at its best, art can be a powerful medium for social change. Here, Ulrika talks theatre past and present and her upcoming roles in York Theatre Royal’s “Around the World in 80 Days”.

Have you played at York Theatre Royal before? Or worked with any of the other cast and creatives before?

I came to York Theatre Royal in 2017 with the play Made in India by Satinder Chohan. I got a little taste of the beauty of York, but it was for less than a week. So I feel lucky to spend almost two months here this time round.

Your artistic journey began at the age of 12 – how did it come about and what was the role?

A bunch of kids from different schools auditioned for this coming-of-age film set in a boarding school in India. I didn’t realise at the time that this would forever be my first tryst with acting. I played the ‘love interest’ and my first-ever kiss took place on screen. It was beyond embarrassing.

You play The Trick Rider in the circus-themed Around the World in 80 Days – what tricks can we expect to see?

I don’t think you can expect to see me ride a horse or a motorbike, but I might just be able to do something with a hula hoop. Whoop whoop!

You also play Aouda – how does the character fit into the story?

Aouda is an Indian princess who joins Phileas Fogg on his journey around the world after an unexpected turn of events. Lucky Fogg! Except he doesn’t know how to handle her directness and emotional vulnerability. So she has to lead the way.

Would you like to go around the world in 80 days?

Oh yes! With a travelling circus show and no flights and nothing but my hula hoop in my luggage!!

Best place you’ve visited?

My current favourite place is York! After spending so many months at home in London, it feels like a dream to be here.

Place you’d most like to visit?

The Amazon rainforests. I’ve always wanted to go to South America and go deep into the forest.

Place you call home?


Most memorable moment on stage?

Every moment of Theatre is precious. I feel that now (since the pandemic) more than ever before.

Where does singing jazz and Indian classical music fit into your work plan?

Singing is such a brilliant form of expression. For me, Indian classical music and jazz both allow for creative expression in ways that my other creative practices don’t. In fact, I want to start writing songs or spoken word that I can set to music as I think sometimes the only way to capture the essence of a story or a feeling might be through sound or poetry.

Any other hobbies, passions, obsessions you’d like to reveal?

Actually I’m a fairly big geek. I’m passionate about the mind-body connection and I’m doing a part-time degree in Neuroscience and Psychology.

So there you have it! “Around the World in 80 Days” plays outdoor venues & York Theatre Royal 6 – 28 August. More information and tickets here.

Q&A courtesy of Steve Pratt.

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