clive mantle

Interview: Clive Mantle

Interview: Clive Mantle

As he heads to Richmond Theatre in Wish You Were Dead, we chat to Clive Mantle about his varied career

Clive Mantle, known for his roles in Game of Thrones and Robin of Sherwood, is set to grace the stage at Richmond Theatre in the murder mystery play, Wish You Were Dead. The play, based on the book by Peter James, follows DSI Roy Grace and Cleo Morey as they embark on a much-needed vacation together, only to find that their idyllic getaway transforms into a holiday from hell.

For Clive, returning to the stage is an exciting opportunity. “I’m really excited about it. Wish You Were Dead is a great play and I’m looking forward to performing it in such a gorgeous theatre. They say it’s the largest thriller franchise since Agatha Christie!” 

Clive, who played Little John in Robin of Sherwood, rose to fame in the 1980s with his portrayal of the iconic character. I for one remember watching the show with my grandma, who was a huge fan. “You see, this is the kind of experience people have with Robin,” Clive says. “It still has a huge cult following among people of certain demographics,” he laughs. “I sometimes still get recognised in the street for it!” 

More recently, Clive appeared in the HBO series Game of Thrones as Lord Greatjon Umber. Although he only appeared in a few episodes, his character left a lasting impression on audiences with his fierce loyalty to House Stark and his memorable line, “The King in the North!”. For Clive, however, it was a completely different sort of experience. “With Robin of Sherwood, we felt like a family. Game of Thrones was more like a day job.” 

Despite his vast stage experience – in 1984 he was nominated for an Olivier Award and was joint Best Newcomer in the Plays and Players Awards for his performance as Lennie in Of Mice and Men – Clive still finds live theatre to be both thrilling and challenging. “I love the energy of live theatre. There’s nothing quite like performing in front of a live audience and feeling their reactions in real time. You can hold out your arms and touch them. It’s also a great challenge as an actor to keep things fresh and spontaneous every night,” he explains. 

As for pre-show rituals or superstitions, Clive keeps it simple. “I don’t have rituals as such. It’s more about putting myself in the right frame of mind. Of course, I try to stay relaxed and focused before a show.” 

And what is next for the actor? “There are some exciting things in the pipeline,” he says. “Perhaps a project with an opera. Nothing is yet confirmed but my hopes are high!” 

Clive Mantle’s performance in Wish You Were Dead runs at Richmond Theatre from April 18th to 22nd, 2023.