Building an arts career on London’s West End is a far cry from reality for most – but not for Christchurch performer Nic Kyle.
Taken under Broadway star Elaine Paige’s wing, Kyle, 30, led a soaring four-year stint, performing in sell-out shows in one of the biggest commercial theatre scenes in the world.
But all came to abrupt halt, when the actor, who grew up in Ilam, found himself being deported.
Kyle was in the United Kingdom for two years before deciding to get a defacto visa.
“I was seeing an English girl and we decided to go into a partner defacto visa which in hindsight was probably not a good idea,” he said.
The relationship broke up but Kyle decided to keep the visa.
The visa issue was flagged when Kyle was being checked through Gatwick Airport after a short trip to Portugal.
“Getting deported was probably the worse thing that ever happened in my life . . . they took my passport off me, took my phone off me, locked me in a holding cell,” he said.
Kyle was locked away from midnight to 9am in the morning and given five days to get out of London.
He took off to Germany, landing the lead role in The English Theatre Frankfurt’s production of Spamalot before heading home to Christchurch where he has been for the past month.
It was in Germany where he met his girlfriend Canadian Sophie Schmidt, a professional football player who is a midfielder for FFC Frankfurt in the German national league.
Kyle said meeting Schmidt was a complete coincidence as both her club and The English Theatre Frankfurt was sponsored by the same bank.
“The team always come to the show every year and have a mix and mingle with the cast afterwards and we always go to their game the week afterwards,” he said.
Now he is back in Christchurch, Kyle will make light of getting kicked out of the UK his original one-man show Deported.
For the second element of the show, he has reigned in city performers Matt Hudson and Jack Marshall to take part in dark comedy Coffin.
Back in London Kyle performed in the sell-out premier on West End for the show.
He was given the rights to perform the show after writer Elliott Langsdon found out he was deported.
Kyle will be heading back to Europe to travel with his girlfriend before he decides what to do next. “I am not happy I got deported but it has worked out really well . . . if I hadn’t, would I had ever met Sophie? Who knows?” he said.
Kyle’s career on West End began after he sung for Paige during her New Zealand
“I was going to move to Melbourne and she was like no you are talking s***. I am going to help get you to London . . . and she helped me get an agent,” he said.
Although endless auditions, having no money and often looking down the barrel of not having a job was difficult, Kyle said it was the best job in the world.
A special moment was running around dressed up as a jedi at a immersive cinema Star Wars premier only to find out his other cast-mate was Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin.
“I was like oh my god I have been literally running around like an arsehole with Chris Martin pretending to be a jedi for the last hour,” he said.
Coffin and Deported will be performed at Christ’s College Old Boys’ Theatre on Saturday and Sunday. To book tickets go to The Court Theatre website.