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Nathan Matthews Mamma Mia Tell us In 10

Tell Us In 10: Nathan Matthews from Mamma Mia!

Hira Desai

By Hira Desai First Published 13 October 2021, Last Updated 14 October 2021

In our profile series, Tell Us In 10, we ask cast, crew and creatives members of top London shows to tell us all about themselves in just 10 questions. In today’s Tell Us In 10, we’re going backstage with Nathan Matthews, Deputy Stage Manager at Mamma Mia! playing at the Novello Theatre.

Gemma Goggin as Rosie Josie Benson as Tanya Mazz Murray as Donna Sheridan. Photo by Brinkhoff Moegenburg.Gemma Goggin as Rosie, Josie Benson as Tanya, Mazz Murray as Donna Sheridan. Photo by Brinkhoff Moegenburg.

The hit musical, which premiered in the West End more than two decades ago, continues to offer audiences all the feel-good vibes as it follows the hilarious and heartwarming story of a young woman named Sophie and her mother who find themselves re-living past events on the eve of the daughter’s wedding. Packed with iconic numbers from ABBA including Dancing Queen, Money Money Money and Take A Chance On Me, the all-singing, all-dancing show promises laughter, tears, love and romance!

Grab a cuppa and settle down as we find out more about Nathan’s role in putting together Mamma Mia! every night, and why this is the perfect show to see with the families this half-term…

1. My job is…

Deputy Stage Manager at Mamma Mia!

I sit up on a perch (mezzanine) in the stage right wing with a copy of the score and script, with all the technical cues written into the ‘book’, whether they be lighting cues, truck cues (we call the two main set pieces in the show ‘trucks’), fly cues (the front cloth and various pieces of scenery that move in and out), or cues for the actors to go on stage, or for the Stage Management team and crew to open ‘sliders’ and cue cast members on. During the performance, I follow the score, and call all these cues at the right time so that everything (hopefully) happens exactly when it’s meant to! This is known as ‘calling the show’.

I have a bank of video monitors in front me so that I can see various angles on stage, and I call all the scene change sequences and watch to make sure they run smoothly. I wear a headset so I can talk to the Stage Management team down in the wings, the crew on stage (they all wear earpieces during the show so they can hear me) the Musical Director in the pit, the lighting and sound operators in the auditorium, and the follow-spot operators up in the balcony! I also do Front of House tannoy announcements asking audience members to take their seats, so you might hear my voice before the performance or during the interval!

We’re a Stage Management team of four at Mamma Mia! and we all learn each others roles. At some performances I’ll be calling the show, and at others I’ll be in the wings making sure the cast get on stage at the right time with the right props, and ensuring scene changes happen as they should.

Ultimately, it’s our job to look after the day-to-day running of the show, and make sure it runs as smoothly as it did on opening night!

Josie Benson as Tanya Mazz Murray as Donna Gemma Goggin as Rosie. Photo by Brinkhoff Moegenburg.Josie Benson as Tanya, Mazz Murray as Donna, Gemma Goggin as Rosie. Photo by Brinkhoff Moegenburg.

2. My favourite thing about my job is…

I work with an amazing bunch of people at the very top of their game, and together we get to provide pure escapism to over 1000 people every night. And I get paid for it!

I’ve been working on Mamma Mia! for quite a long time now (over 13 years!) and I still get goosebumps when I nip out front to watch bits of the performance and see audience members of all ages captivated by what’s happening on stage.

I also love all the extra, unusual things we get to do when we’re not performing at the Novello Theatre. We’ve appeared on This Morning a few times over the years, and I once got to sit on the sofa with Holly & Phil! When Mamma Mia! performed at the Royal Opera House for the Olivier Awards in 2014, I was charged with looking after Benny Andersson’s accordion and Björn Ulvaeus’ guitar – that was nerve-wracking! And at BBC Radio 2’s Thank You For The Music concert in Hyde Park in 2009, I stood on the side of the stage with Kylie Minogue and watched thousands sing along to Dancing Queen!

3. My least favourite thing about my role is…

The working hours can be a bit anti-social at times, especially during rehearsal periods, so catching up with friends can sometimes be tricky!

I also hate saying goodbye to people when they leave the show. We usually have a cast change once a year, and I’m always a blubbering mess during the curtain call on the last night! Thankfully the audience don’t have to see my face! We have a saying at Mamma Mia! – “You never really leave the island!” – and it’s true!

Mazz Murray as Donna and ensemble. Photo by Brinkhoff Moegenburg.Mazz Murray as Donna and ensemble. Photo by Brinkhoff Moegenburg.

4. If I wasn’t a Stage Manager, I would be…

Something to do with animals. Or events. Or radio. Or Eurovision. Or food. Radio coverage of Crufts… live from the food tent. With a bit of ABBA. Bingo.

5. The show is perfect for families because…

Foreign holidays have been in short supply recently. You may not be able to get to a Greek island, but we’ve got the next best thing!

At its core, Mamma Mia! is a story about family and friendship, set against the backdrop of an idyllic island paradise. It’s got comedy. It’s got choreography. It’s got lycra. And its got a lot of ABBA! What’s not to love?!

Nathan Matthews backstage at Mamma Mia!

6. My earliest memories of theatre are…

My mum used to take me to the Half Moon Theatre in Mile End (sadly now a pub) most Saturdays to watch their kids shows. I think I can remember seeing Annette Badland playing a cook in the stage adaptation of Allan Ahlberg’s Happy Families, but I might be wrong!

I used to go to Theatre Royal Stratford East and the Hackney Empire every Christmas and watch their brilliant pantomimes! I can also vividly remember seeing The Wind in the Willows at the National Theatre in 1990 and I loved every second of it! The late, great Richard Briers played Ratty, with David Bamber as Mole and Griff Rhys Jones painted head-to-toe in green as Mr Toad.

I remember meeting Henry Goodman and Imelda Staunton after seeing Guys & Dolls at the National in 1996 and they managed to convince me that I was named after Nathan Detroit. It wasn’t true, but I believed them!

7. I always knew/didn’t know I wanted to work in theatre…

The first West End musical I saw was Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the London Palladium in 1991 starring Jason Donovan and Linzi Hateley and I knew I’d found my happy place. I’ve since worked with both of them (Jason in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and Linzi in Mamma Mia!) and they’re absolute legends. So I guess I owe it all to them! And my mum, obvs, for taking me to the theatre as a kid!

Emma Mullen as Sophie Jack Danson as Sky. Photo by Brinkhoff Moegenburg.Emma Mullen as Sophie, Jack Danson as Sky. Photo by Brinkhoff Moegenburg.

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

Care less about what you think other people think of you. Follow your own path. Sun In hair lightener won’t work.

9. In my spare time I like to…

I love watching films in independent cinemas. Sadly, many of them have closed over the years, but there are still some beautiful picture-houses left in London and across the country, and I always try and see unusual films in these gorgeous buildings. I also spend a lot of my spare time listening to the radio. I produce and co-host The Curtain Up Show on Resonance FM, which promotes theatre across the capital. And I must admit, I do enjoy busman’s holiday, so you’ll probably find me in a theatre on my day off!

Alexandros Beshonges as Pepper and ensemble. Photo by Brinkhoff Moegenburg.Alexandros Beshonges as Pepper and ensemble. Photo by Brinkhoff Moegenburg.

10. If I could have a superpower for a day, I would choose…

I haven’t travelled as much as I’d like to, so I guess if I could fly faster than the speed of light, I’d be able to visit more exotic destinations!

I wish I could speak other languages. Not exactly a superpower, but the French, German and Latin I learnt at school has faded from my little grey cells. Learning a new language now would be quite a feat!


If this interview has got you feeling inspired to book yourself a trip to the sun-soaked islands of Greece (in Theatreland!), book your tickets to see Mamma Mia! now. It’s a great way to dust away those Autumn/Winter cobwebs and will have you and your family dancing and singing all the way home.

Want to know more about the cast of the show? Check out our Tell Us In 10 with Emma Mullen who plays the role of Sophie Sheridan.

Related Article: Tell Us In 10: Emma Mullen from Mamma Mia!
In today’s Tell Us In 10, we’re talking to Emma Mullen who plays Sophie in the iconic Mamma Mia! playing at the Novello Theatre.

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