Having made her professional stage debut in the touring production of Jesus Christ Superstar, Nikki Gerrard is currently appearing as Beggar Woman in another of Bill Kenwright’s musicals, Scrooge, which is making its seasonal visit to the West End at The London Palladium.
Nikki took time out to answer a few questions about herself and her career.
When did you first get interested in the performing arts?
Well, my parents met at Mountview and have been involved in theatre throughout my life so I guess I didn’t really stand a chance!
You trained at the Sylvia Young Theatre School and the Guildford School of Acting.
What are the most memorable moments from your training?
At Sylvia’s it was the chance to perform in the West End that was the most exciting. We did one big show a year and at 10 years old, that was thrilling. At GSA it was getting to play the part of Desiree Armfeldt in A Little Night Music that I remember most fondly. It remains my favourite show!
Can you tell us about your professional stage debut?
I was age 12 and it was for Bill Kenwright in the tour of Jesus Christ Superstar! I was one of the kids when the tour came to London and it was very exciting to be part of a huge show and inspired me to keep pursuing my dreams.
You have performed in numerous theatrical productions. Which ones are your career highlights to date, apart from Scrooge?
Listen to My Heart is very special to me. It’s a song cycle by David Friedman and it’s wonderful stuff. I made lifelong friends out of the people involved.
You performed as the principal vocalist on board the Seabourn Odyssey. What is it like performing on a cruise yacht?
It’s great fun! A chance to perform, sight-see and socialise for seven months and get paid… tremendous! The cruise industry has changed and improved so much over the last 20 years from what I understand and I found it to be a wonderful experience.
You are a successful solo cabaret artist. What do you enjoy most about singing with the audience ‘up close’?
You’re in it together! I love feeling that you’re having an effect on your audience and that’s sometimes lost in larger venues. I find cabaret a wildly fulfilling experience and something I can see myself doing for a long time to come. I’ve learned a lot about myself!
Most actors have various accents and dialects that they can do. Which one is your best and how have you perfected it?
Ha! I suppose it would be my Geordie accent… I’ve had to perfect it recently for auditions and it’s just practice, practice, practice!
You have released an album – ‘This Time Around’ – What can you tell us about it?
Well, it started as a simple demo project and grew beyond all expectations. I was very grateful to Dress Circle for taking it on and very proud of myself that it was all my own work. I have plans for another…watch this space!
Can you tell us about when you toured the UK with Tommy Steele in Dr Dolittle?
It was a great show and the chance to work with Tommy again was wonderful. I made some tremendous friends on that show and got to play all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures!
You have toured with Scrooge – what is it that you enjoy most about the musical?
It’s just so heart warming! Everybody knows the story of A Christmas Carol and this is such a wonderful musical retelling that families enjoy. I love that the show is filled with great Dickensian characters and it’s such fun to perform!
You are currently appearing as ‘Beggar Woman’ in the musical Scrooge at the London Palladium. How does your character fit into the storyline?
Well…I suppose she represents the poverty of the time which Dickens felt very strongly about.
Which song do you like most in the show?
‘Thank You Very Much’ is a corker! Great fun!
Why do you think that Scrooge is such a successful musical?
Because it tells a well-loved story that reminds everyone to be grateful for what they have!
What is it like appearing in a show alongside a legend such as Tommy Steele?
It’s an honour. He really is a legend on stage and in person and we learn a lot from him.
Why should everyone come along to see the show and not some other musical?
Because it’s Christmas!
Have you any message for those that are following your career?
Yes… don’t stop! I’m super grateful to anyone who supports me and my work and there’s more to come.
Interview by Neil Cheesman who you can follow on Twitter @LondonTheatre1
Updated 11th October 2014