11 questions with the cast of Wild Swans: Oliver Biles

Next up in this series is Oliver Biles, who plays Weimin in Wild Swans.


Working on Wild Swans has been an absolute pleasure. It is the first time I have worked on a new writing piece and I found it extremely refreshing to have such an input into the production and even my own character (which was created during the rehearsal process!) It has also been a real eye-opener for me in terms of learning more about my Chinese heritage. I can finally speak some Mandarin phrases!

Tell us about your character
Weimin is a brain washed youth. Chairman Mao has made him believe that everything ‘Old’ should be destroyed and that everyone should be converted to being ‘Red’ – the new communist China. Weimin’s passion for the cause is what can be so frightening as he blindly obeys orders from a book and a person that he has never actually met.

Favourite word?
Apparently I say the word ‘jokes’ quite often but this came from an American friend I met in Boston and apparently they never use that word there to describe something!

Proudest moment?
When I was a compere for Sainsbury’s Annual Conference in 2007. I was 17 and was performing in front of around 4,500 people. At the end of the weekend I was welcomed back on stage by the CEO, they raised the house lights and I received a standing ovation from the audience. I will never forget that moment.

If you could have a room full of any one thing, what would it be?
Technology & the Internet. Give me my Macbook, iMac, TV and sound system and I wouldn’t need much else!

If 28 hour days existed, what would you do with the extra four hours?
Probably procrastinate like crazy. A job that should take me about thirty minutes ends up taking me 4 hours. But seeing as quitting procrastination was one of my New Years resolutions it would have to be something more productive like writing a script.

Favourite holiday?
It actually has to be my trip to Boston/Las Vegas/New York. We took Wild Swans to Boston for a month before opening at the Young Vic. I met some amazing people out in America and decided to use my time effectively and went on to Vegas and New York after the run. I have always wanted to go to Vegas as I am a keen poker player. In three days I managed to win enough money to buy myself a little car and pay for my entire trip! I’m already saving to get back out there!

Weirdest quirk?
I don’t think this is particularly weird but my friends do. I have to have around two hours from when my alarm goes off to leaving the house for work. It takes me a while to do things and I sit in bed for at least 45 minutes checking my phone. Is this weird? There must be other people out there that do the same!

Favourite play?
I have so many, but I have always been a big fan of Pillowman by Martin McDonagh.

If you had one super power, what would it be?
The ability to create more super powers for myself!

Do you have any regrets?
I try to live life without having regrets – keep calm and carry on.

Favourite midnight snack?
Mr Kipling’s Angel Slices. If you haven’t tried them I highly recommend it!

Wild Swans (part of World Stages London) plays at the Young Vic until 13 May. Tickets are sold out but we do get returns… call 020 7922 2922 on the day for availability.

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