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The Ouch Assessment: Kiruna Stamell

by Ouch Team

20th February 2007

Kiruna Stamell is an Australian actor with restricted growth, who you might remember as La Petite Princess in Moulin Rouge. Currently rehearsing for the lead role in "Whiter than Snow" with Graeae Theatre, and about to go on a UK tour with the production, Kiruna did us the honour of taking the Ouch Assessment.
Kiruna Stamell

Getting around

I travel mostly by bus and train. Overcrowding on public transport is a major problem, because you can quite dangerously be crushed or pushed out at the wrong stop if it's really packed. I find myself having to visualise bottoms a lot, so I have learned to look beyond them! When you have to press the button to enter or exit the platform, they are too high so you just can't.


Apathy - the way in which people can't give a damn when injustice happens. I can't stand how the media will collectively focus on local and personal issues. Hundreds and thousands of people might starve in a day and we talk about who got evicted from Big Brother!
Peter Dinklage in 'The Station Agent' - Kiruna's disability role model

Disability role model

I didn't have one at all until I saw "The Station Agent" with Peter Dinklage. It is the best movie about dwarfism, in a non-sensationalist way. Apparently it was written by a friend of his, so they knew him as a person.

The question I get asked most often

What's your shoe size? Technically I don't have one because I get them hand made, but if you were desperate to buy me trainers, wide children's 11.


I don't like pawpaw, but other than that, there is nothing I won't eat. I do consciously try to eat healthy because, when my weight fluctuates, because I'm small you can see it a lot more. I also find life easier if I can keep physically fit.

Favourite gizmo

My laptop. Using the web cam and headset, I can call Australia for free, and can see my sisters and parents. When I'm on tour, it holds my whole music collection. It's really a hub for me for my banking, emailing, booking tickets and shopping.
Kiruna on stage in 'Whiter than Snow'

The last thing I really cringed at

I was rehearsing in London a couple of weeks ago, and this awful chavvy lass walked past me in the opposite direction, it happened so quickly, but as she did, she said to her friend, "what the f*ck was that?"! Anybody who is so willing to share their ignorance with the world like that is not aware of how unattractive that makes them.

The last thing my doctor said to me

"You have a splendid piece of apparatus." And he seemed kind of shocked. [Maybe we shouldn't delve any further into that one - Ed]


I think I go a bit towards my own style probably because I'm short. I fit into an 8 to 10 kids, and 6 to 8 women's. Dress shoes are difficult. I have to get them hand made which is really expensive but they do last 10 years.


I do most of my shopping on the internet and get it delivered. If I feel inspired, and what I buy is easy to carry, I'll pick it up on the day.

Nights out

Because I am based in Manchester, I've been going to a lot of indy rock gigs which I absolutely love. The trick is to get to the gig early and get a pozzie, or if I'm going to a major gig like Placebo, I need a seat.

What aren't you getting enough of?

I feel quite content at the moment. Probably not eating enough fruit.

What will have changed ten years from now?

Not much. I think global warming will be a major issue so lots more waterfront property available, and I really hope that someone will start investing properly in education, because that is the key to improvement. I myself will fall madly in love a couple more times, will hopefully have moved more into directing and creating my own work, and will still be running around the world being silly.
Kiruna on stage

About Kiruna Stamell

Kiruna had her big break as La Petite Princess in "Moulin Rouge".

"I was at uni, and put myself forward to do extra work on the film. When they saw my CV I was called to audition, and they then created a part for me. It was overwhelming. Nicole Kidman was the first person to introduce herself to me on set, and I went for drinks with her and Ewan McGregor."

Since then, Kiruna Stamell has been making a name for herself in theatre and dance companies both here and down under. At 25, she is the Co-founder of Atypical theatre company in Australia, with fellow person of restricted growth, Emma J. Hawkins, and in the UK, Kiruna's credits include work with CandoCo dance company, Caroline Bowditch, and Quarantine.

"Whiter than Snow", a retelling of the famous fairytale where this time Snow White is the short one, opens in the Rep theatre Birmingham on Friday the 16th of February, and tours around the UK between then and the end of May. To get a list of tour dates, check out


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