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Tell us in 10: Nicholai La Barrie, Director of Young People at Lyric Hammersmith Theatre

Eleni Cashell

By Eleni Cashell First Published 28 August 2019, Last Updated 2 September 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. From how their colleagues would describe them and alternative careers, to their Theatreland idols, we want to know it all!

Answering our questions this week is Nicholai La Barrie, Director of Young People at Lyric Hammersmith Theatre.

1. My route into theatre was…

I started off at Lilliput Children’s Theatre when I was 10 years old. It was a way for my parents to get me to do stuff, because the area I lived in wasn’t particularly nice and they didn’t want me hanging out with the boys in the area.

I did everything. Football, basketball, hockey, tennis, recorder, music, everything they wanted me to do after school, I did. But theatre stuck because I walked into a room with a bunch of people who asked me questions that I didn’t have answers for… so I thought, “right, I’m staying and I’m going to get them the answers.”


2. My West End idol is…

Andrew Lloyd Webber at the Olivier Awards 2017 with Mastercard ceremony (Photo: Getty/Jeff Spicer)

I think Andrew Lloyd Webber might be the closest thing I have to a West End idol, because of his commitment to what theatre is and what it has been.

3. My colleagues would describe me as…

Loud. And… less funny than I think I am.


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

Rent. It was the first West End show I ever saw, and it’s brilliant. I want to direct it.

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

Some of the guys I used to teach when I was younger are now in real positions of power and influence in UK theatre.

There are a few people I worked with when I first started off at Oval House who are big players in the industry now, with Olivier Awards and other accolades – and that makes me really proud of them. They committed to theatre and stuck to it – some of whom would never have stepped on a stage if they hadn’t come to the Oval House at that moment in time.

6. The hardest part about my role is…

Balancing resources with the desire for excellence in terms of working with young people and young artists.


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

A marine biologist.


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

I have Gold Medals in Narrow Sword and Broadsword, and Tai Chi Form, and was on the British Tai Chi Team.


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

Breath. Take deep breaths.


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

Don’t worry so much…


Find out more about the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre on our dedicated venue page.


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