Camden Close - Up: Ursula Mohan
Love Camden loves its local talent. We aim to celebrate everything cultural in the borough, from Hampstead to Kilburn, from the British Library to that little café around the corner - we are always out to show what Camden has to offer. As part of this we launched our Camden Close-Up series: interviews with artists, thinkers, entrepreneurs and downright interesting figures that live, work or are inspired by the borough.
This month we interviewed Ursula Mohan. Ursula began her acting career aged 15 at Wimbledon Theatre before winning a scholarship to train at The Webber Douglas Academy. She has been a working actress ever since playing everything from a female Lear to a clippie in On The Buses. As part of the Camden Fringe Festival she is playing Flo in ‘Florence Smith – Now and Then’ Upstairs at The Gatehouse.
1. What would you would do if you weren’t doing this? What would your parallel life look like?
I would have gone to art school and trained to be a painter. What a joy it would be to have time to spend on pictures!
2. What do you think is most important: luck, chance, opportunity or hard-graft?
3. What has been your most career defining moment to date and why?
Working with Peter Brook on ‘US’ for the RSC when I was 19.
4. What are you most proud of and what are you least proud of…and why?
Most proud of working continually for 55 years. Least proud of countless things - far too many to mention here!
5. Tell us a secret.
I am unbelievably and outrageously proud of my writer daughter Dr Tiffany Watt-Smith who has just published her third book, ‘Schadenfreude’ and my son Tom Watt-Smith who makes TV documentaries currently working on a BBC programme about plastics in the oceans to be aired in the autumn
Ursula has just finished playing Flo in Florence Smith – Now and Then at The Bear Pit in Stratford upon Avon. Other very recent work includes: Ellen in There or Here (Park Theatre), Lily in a tour of You Forgot the Mince in The Edinburgh Festival, in London, several Northern venues and inside eight prisons – an extraordinary experience! In 2016 she was a female King Lear (Tristan Bates Theatre) in a revival of the acclaimed 2014 production. Other recent work includes Hecuba (Scoop); Sarah in Horniman’s Choice (Finborough); Nancy in Elegies (Criterion) Mrs Fox in Dads Army (UK Tour) and The Veil (National Theatre.)
Her many past theatre credits include: Ala in Tango directed by Trevor Nunn and Peter Brook’s US for (RSC); Emilia in Othello (Regent’s Park); Mitzi in A Murder is Announced (Vaudeville); Liz in Revenge (Royal Court); Lucretia The Cenci (Almeida); the title role in The Good Woman of Setzuan (Hampstead); Sandy Beige in Making Tracks written and directed by Alan Ayckbourn (Greenwich.)
Her many radio, film and television performances include most recently Doctors and in the distant past Joyce the cockney clippie in many episodes of On the Buses.
Ursula has also been a teacher of acting at The Mountview Academy and the Arts Educational Schools. She lives in London with her husband the theatre and opera director Ian Watt-Smith.