mountain to international theatre – Om Raj Raut

“Coming from the pocket of the mountain, Nepal, I’ve had to work twice as hard to go half as
far in a foreign land, reflects Om Raj Raut, whose journey from humble beginnings to
receiving a Best Actor nomination at the NYC Theatre Festival, recognition as the Best
Playwright at Frigid New York, and his performances at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2023
made sold-out shows and gained amazing reviews ,marking him as the first Nepalese to
showcase his work at such a prestigious event. His recent short films, now selected in
numerous festivals like the renowned British Film Festival, World Impact Film Festival, Global
Lift-Off Film Festival, further highlight his remarkable achievements.

 Congratulations, Om Raj Raut, on the selection of your short films “Uncompleted”
and “A Distraction” in various festivals. Your journey in theatre from Nepal to the US
to the UK has been truly inspiring. I’m curious, what is motivating you to write and
act in short films?
Thank you! Above all, I see myself as a storyteller, whether it’s through film or theatre.
I enjoy diving into storytelling using various mediums to connect with a wider
audience. Short films are great because they let me tell powerful stories in a shorter
time, which can be really impactful. However, my heart truly belongs to theatre-it’s
where I feel most at home and where storytelling truly comes alive for me.

 Your performances at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2023 received rave reviews
and sold-out shows and you were the first Nepalese to put the show there. How did
that experience impact you as an artist?
Let me tell you, this journey was wild from start to finish! So, it all started as a tiny
classroom project and ended up hitting the big leagues at the NY theatre festival and
then Edfringe. It blew my mind!’ mean, the energy from the crowd was just electric
every day as I lived my dream. The reviews were off the charts and selling out shows
was the ultimate confidence boost. I wrote and acted in the show myself, and,
trusting my own abilities like that was a whole new level of empowerment.
Surrounded by talented artists from more than 72 countries and performing in front

of 2 million audiences, I learned to push myself harder than ever. This experience will
stay with me forever, inspiring me to keep pushing the creative boundaries.

As an actor with a diverse background, how do you navigate cultural representation
and authenticity in your work?
You know, it’s all about finding the human side of every character, no matter where
they come from. When I tackle a role, I aim to uncover those universal truths that
everyone can connect with. That’s what makes a character feel real – when you can
see a bit of yourself in them. To create more opportunities, I’ve started writing plays
and making films that tell stories from fresh angles or shed light on perspectives we
don’t often see. Unfortunately, there’s a lack of South Asian writers and not enough
diversity in casting director roles. So, I’ve taken matters into my own hands to bring
unique characters to life.It’s all about making sure everyone’s story gets told, and I’m
not waiting around for someone else to do it.

 Looking ahead, what are your goals and aspirations for the future of your career in
theatre, both as an actor and a playwright? How do you envision continuing to make
a difference in the industry and beyond?
In my journey of storytelling through theatre, I’ve discovered something profound: no
matter our differences, we’re all connected by shared human experiences. Through
theatre, I aim to bridge those gaps and bring people together to produce meaningful
work. For many, the definition of success lies in popularity, but for me, it’s about
creating impactful work. Popularity may fade, but the impact of good work endures.
want to offer audiences an opportunity to see themselves in the characters, to feel
empathy, and to recognize our common humanity. It’s a simple yet powerful reminder
that, despite our diverse backgrounds, we’re all on this journey of life together.

You’ve transitioned from Nepal to America to pursue your acting career. How has
this journey shaped your perspective on the industry and your craft?
Yeah, transitioning from a rural place of Nepal to America for my acting career has
definitely been a challenging journey. As an Asian, brown, Nepalese person who
learned English as a third language, it hasn’t been easy. I’ve faced unique obstacles,Coming from the pocket of the mountain, Nepal, I’ve had to work twice as hard to go half as far in a foreign land, along the way. However, my passion for creating art has kept me going. Even though the industry can be tough, I’ve pushed through, making opportunities for myself. It’s not always easy, but I keep putting myself out there, grabbing every chance to show what I can do.

How have your experiences in theatre, including fringe shows in Edinburgh, shaped
your approach to acting or film acting perhaps?
Sure! Theatre, especially fringe shows in Edinburgh, has really shaped how I approach
acting, whether it’s on stage or in front of a camera. You see, in theatre, you’ve got
that immediate connection with the audience. It’s live and magical. So, I’ve learned
the importance of being present, projecting my voice, and connecting with the
audience in the moment. That’s helped me think on my feet and adapt quickly. And
when it comes to film acting, I bring that same sense of presence and authenticity to
the characters I play. Performing in places like Edinburgh has boosted my confidence
as an actor. I mean, having a sold-out show there was incredible. It taught me that
being true to the character and trusting the process is key.

 What advice would you give to aspiring actors and writers, especially those from
underrepresented communities, who are looking to break into the industry?
First of all, there’s no prescribed formula for success in this kind of industry. As
much as you want to look good outside you have to make your inner self rich so that
your passion is alive. Honing your craft with resilience and determination is key, and
seizing opportunities when they arise is crucial.