Charles J Ouda is an actor, writer, singer and an award winning director, whose career has been dedicated to the pursuit of truth and the full human experience. With 15 years of professional work, Charles has credits from across the world, and hopes to continue the journey for more years to come.
1. Most people know your face from the wonderfully nostalgia-inducing Better Days show. Are there particular shows that you enjoyed acting more than others, and in your opinion, what, since then, is getting better about Kenyan art and video production?
I have enjoyed every experience in front of the camera for different reasons. The opportunity to perform and bring characters to life is the greatest honour I could ever imagine. Each show taught me something new, something rich.
I believe Kenya is at a wonderful place in her journey. The talent has always existed, but there is greater appreciation for it as we progress. My hope is that as this growth continues, it translates into a bigger and a more vibrant artistic landscape.
2. You're currently based in New York. What, in your opinion are the important qualities, as an artist, that one needs to survive on a global stage - determination? A ready smile? The right CV?
Talent is crucial, but so is determination. This is not a sprint! It’s a marathon. So be prepared for the long haul. Being handsome or beautiful doesn’t count for anything. It may open the door, but talent, drive and dedication to the craft will keep you there.
A good resume will help, especially if it is well structured. However, it also helps to have a few exceptional skills to show off. Basically, take a class to build your appeal. An acting class, a stage combat class, a singing class, a language course... grow your instrument.
3. Do you have plans to come back permanently to Kenya, perhaps shoot more of your own shows and direct your own musicals?
I would love to come home; if the right opportunity presents itself. There are many talented actors and directors in Kenya who I would love to work with in future, so lets keep fingers crossed.
4. Who are some exciting talents you have worked with locally, or would like to work with, including actors, directors and producers?
I have worked with many talented people including, Mkamzee Mwatela, Maqbul Mohamed, Silayio, Amileena, Silas Miami, Nick Ndeda, Alison Ngibuini, Patricia Kihoro, Tirath Padam, June Gachui, Phil Karanja, Raymond Ofula, Nick Mutuma and many more. In future, I would enjoy a set with Wanuri, Zippy Kimundu, Mumbi Kaigwa, John Sibi Okumu... a long list really.
5. Back to musicals, and your singing skills, what are your go-to musicals for a first date, or a snowy night at home?
Random question, but okay! Hamilton: An American Musical is a favourite of mine. But I recently auditioned for Beautiful: The Carol King Story. I didn’t get the part... but that’s a great show. And so is The Colour Purple.