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Tell Us In 10: Preston Nyman

Hira Desai

By Hira Desai First Published 28 November 2019, Last Updated 3 December 2019

In our profile series, Tell Us In 10, we ask cast members and creatives of top London shows to tell us all about themselves in just 10 questions. This week we have the super talented Preston Nyman who is starring as Simon Rifkind in Ghost Stories’, currently playing at the Ambassadors Theatre.  Filled with twists and turns, the spooky Olivier-Award nominated horror show is guaranteed to have you on the edge of your seat. 

1. My route into theatre was…

It’s a family business! My Dad does it, my Sister, Macy, does it. I was very lucky in that I got taken to see absolutely everything from a very early age. I remember being 8 and absolutely bawling my eyes out at Death of a Salesman with Brian Dennehy at the Lyric. I’ve been fortunate enough to be very exposed to theatre my entire life.

Sharon D Clarke and Wendell Piece in Death Of A Salesman (Photo: Brinkhoff/Mogenburg)Sharon D Clarke and Wendell Piece in Death Of A Salesman. Photo by Brinkhoff/Mogenburg.

2. My West End idol is…

Too many choices! It seems obvious but I’d have to say Dad (Andy Nyman). His work ethic is incredible and he’s always struck the most amazing balance between work and family.

3. My colleagues would describe me as…

I would like to think ‘hard working’. In reality it’s probably something far more insulting – ‘clean’ or something. Maybe ‘competitive’? We have a Backgammon and a Shut-The-Box tournament on the go. I don’t mind losing a game, but I’m definitely playing to win.

4. My favourite show present or past (that isn’t one I star in) is…

Little Shop of Horrors. Hands down, no debate, it’s the greatest show ever written. I try to see every production of it if I can. I travelled to see the first preview of the current off-Broadway one with Jonathan Groff and it blew me away. I blagged my way into New York Public Library Archives to watch a recording of the original and it was amazing. One day I’ll play Seymour and then I can happily retire.

Marc Antolin and Forbes Masson in Little Shop Of Horrors (Photo: Johan Persson)Marc Antolin and Forbes Masson in Little Shop Of Horrors. Photo by Johan Persson.

5. The career moment I’m most proud of is…

I was in a film called Crooked House which premiered at Curzon Mayfair. Being on a big screen in such a beautiful cinema was really moving. Stepping onto a West End stage professionally for the first time with Ghost Stories was really extraordinary too. I feel unbelievably fortunate to have experienced those things.

6. The hardest part about my role is…

Really nothing. It’s the best job in the world. Maybe keeping a show fresh and alive 8 times a week. It’s a brilliant challenge because you’re constantly having to work to find new things. Either you can shy away from it and get locked into the same pattern every show, or you can force yourself to be bold and keep it fresh. It’s much more fun to do the latter.

7. If I didn’t work in theatre I would be…

An Imagineer, designing Disney rides. Or running a cinema. Or an animator. Or designing magic tricks. Maybe one day I’ll find a way to balance all 5!

Garry Cooper in Ghost Stories at the Lyric Hammersmith (Photo: Chris Payne)Garry Cooper in Ghost Stories at the Lyric Hammersmith. Photo by Chris Payne.

8. Something people don’t know about me is…

I’m a pretty solid tap dancer. I wouldn’t call myself a pro, but I’ve done it on and off for years.

9. The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is…

There’s a quote that’s been misattributed to a bunch of people over the years – a quick Google told me it was originated by Olin Miller – ‘You probably wouldn’t worry about what people think of you if you could know how seldom they do.’

10. The one thing I wish I could tell my younger self is…

I’d probably give him a hug and tell him that there’s no point worrying too much about the future. Things will either be fine or they won’t, but either way you’ll find a way of dealing with everything. And then I’d take him to the cinema and have a great evening out.

You can catch Preston Nyman in Ghost Stories at the Ambassadors Theatre until 4 January 2020.


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