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Nicholai La Barrie, Associate Director at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre

Tell Us In 10: Nicholai La Barrie, Associate Director at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre

Hira Desai

By Hira Desai First Published 5 August 2021, Last Updated 5 August 2021

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’re talking to Nicholai La Barrie, Associate Director at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre. Nicholai’s theatre work includes; The Tina Turner Musical (West End) as Resident Director, Liar Heretic Thief (Lyric Hammersmith Theatre) and Portrait For Posterity (Arcola Theatre) to name just a few.

His most recent project includes Heart Of Hammersmith which will run at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre from 12-14 August and will be the theatre’s first large-scale production play in its 125-year history. Inspired by true stories from West London, the play tracks immigrant arrivals, million-pound homes and social housing sitting side by side, the rise of gentrification and the shadows left by the Grenfell tragedy, the changing of attitudes, facing of tragedies and the rallying of a resilient community. 

Created with The Young Lyric Community Company, the powerful play explores and celebrates West London through all of its hardships and triumphs and the vibrant individuals who make it what it is. 

Find out more about Nicholai and Hearts Of Hammersmith below…

1. My route into theatre was…

I started as an actor when i was10 years old. I grew up in Trinidad and Tobago, my parents didn’t want me to hang out in the area we grew up in so sent me to every after-school activity there was from football to swimming, to learning to play the recorder, anything that kept me in school or away from the block. Theatre was the one that stuck.

2. The thing I love the most about my job is…

The stories, the magic of them, the fact that you can be sat in a room of brick and mortar and be anywhere in time or space. That I get to be involved describing and asking questions about who we are as human beings on this planet.

Heart Of Hammersmith company members in rehearsals (Photo credit: Nahwand Jaff)

3. My favourite show (that isn’t one I worked on) is…

I saw a show at the Globe called ‘Otra Tempestad’, Another Tempest , and it was all in Spanish and they took all the ghostly characters from Shakespeare’s plays and put them on Prospero’s island. It was crazy and all movement based and done by a Cuban theatre company. It blew my mind. It was all these characters not knowing where they were, mad at Prospero and trying to get off the island. It was wild and brilliant. Also, I don’t speak Spanish but that didn’t matter, it was so well played.

4. The hardest part about my job is…

Working with the team to create, programme and develop work for the seasons. there are so many wonderful shows and artists to work with, the hardest part is putting it together and leaving out some shows that you think are amazing.

Community Chorus, Heart Of Hammersmith. Photo credit: Nahwand Jaff)

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

What? Other than being the Associate Director at the Lyric, ha ha ha. I made a show at the Lyric called Liar, Heritic, Thief. We made it in 10 days and seeing it performed for the first time was really special because we all felt that we had worked so hard and the show was sweet and tender. It blew us all away.

6. On my days off I like to…

Hang out with my family, they are pretty cool. We like being around each other, so we do stuff.

Delson Weeks, Patricia Mantuano, Wes Bozonga in rehearsals for Heart Of Hammersmith. (Photo credit: Nahwand Jaff)

7. My daily work rituals include…

Reading , I read a lot. A nap if I can, they are the future, I don’t know if you know, and finding some time to be silent.

8. My inspiration is…

The people I work with, they are so talented and they make me want to work harder and better.

Heart Of Hammersmith company members in rehearsals (Photo credit: Nahwand Jaff)

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

Say yes.

10. Why is Heart Of Hammersmith different to other shows, what can we expect?

It’s big, and spans nearly a hundred years, and there are really wonderful set pieces in there that are so beautiful. It’s also the story of a community and a family that is being pushed and pulled. There is joy and heartbreak, and everyone living and loving each other so fiercely. It’s a ride that you will have to hold on to your seats for.

If the above has inspired you to see Heart Of Hammersmith, check out the trailer and grab your tickets to see this unique, powerful play beloe.


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Heart Of Hammersmith Lyric Hammersmith Theatre Nicholai La Barrie

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