Paapa first got the acting bug playing a postman in his school’s production of the musical Me and My Girl. He claims it was a terrible performance – and is grateful camera phones hadn’t yet been invented – but he loved making people laugh and recalls how natural it felt being in front of an audience.
The experience encouraged Paapa to join the National Youth Theatre, where he gained the confidence to turn down a coveted offer from UCL to study medicine, in favour of a place at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. While his training prepared him for the stage, and subsequent roles at the National Theatre and the RSC, he recalls turning up on his first TV set and waiting for someone to shout, ‘Lights, Camera, Action!’ After a string of breakthrough roles in series like Press, The Miniaturist and Kiri, Paapa is getting his head round shooting for the small screen, but his family still finds it surreal. He says his little cousins can’t understand how he can be on the TV ‘where all the famous people are supposed to be’.
As his career continues, Paapa hopes to continue learning from his fellow actors and taking on work that challenges the status quo. He’s also curious to explore writing and directing in the future.