Q & A with Nichola McAuliffe | Great Expectations

Great Expectations
Bromley’s Churchill Theatre
Tue 29 – Sat 2 June

Great Expectations Nichola McAuliffe


Q & A with Nichola McAuliffe

Star of stage and screen, Nichola McAuliffe, stars as Miss Havisham in the touring production of Great Expectations, coming to Churchill Theatre Tue 29 May – Sat 2 June.


Hi Nichola! Can you tell us a bit about this production of Great Expectations?

The production is a new adaptation taken from the book, performed by eight actors on a set that is in no way a literal representation of the places Dickens conjures up. Anyone – like me – who is a devotee of the David Lean film will be surprised and delighted by the appearance of characters not mentioned in the film. But all the favourites are there as well, Magwitch, Joe Gargery, Jaggers, Wemmick etc.


What challenges did you face with bringing such an iconic character such as Miss Havisham to life on stage?

The main challenge is looking like someone who hasn’t seen the sun for a decade as I’m a sun worshipper! So after applying the make-up, I look like a badly distempered wall.


Why is it, do you think, that people love the story of Great Expectations?

I think it’s Dickens’ ability to portray humanity with humour and compassion. No matter how unpleasant a character is, you can understand their behaviour. Also, the story shows how the lure of money and social ‘elevation’ can blind us to the greater importance of honesty and happiness. In the same way, as we lose sight of the importance running water and a roof over our heads when the broadband goes down or the trains are late.


Do you have a favourite Dickens novel?

Not a full-length novel. Christmas Carol is the one I never tire of, in every manifestation.


You are a writer yourself (McAuliffe has written two novels as well as several plays and a children’s story titled Attila, Loolagax and the Eagle). Do you prefer writing or acting?

I have no preference although temperamentally I enjoy the solitude of writing more than the social pressures of being an actor.


You are known for your role in Surgical Spirit, the films Tomorrow Never Dies and Chéri as well as your extensive stage work. What has been your career highlight to date?

Goliath by Bryony Lavery – 19 characters, male and female of all ethnicities and regions of Britain and just me playing them through three inner-city riots of the 1990s. Winning and being nominated for 10 acting and writing awards but winning the Pointless Celebrities trophy which is in the middle of the piano.


Great Expectations is being performed at The Churchill Theatre Bromley from Tue 29 until Sat 2 June. Tickets are available from the box office on 020 3285 6000 or via their website churchilltheatre.co.uk

Tue – Sat 7:30PM, Thu & Sat 2:30PM
Tickets £18.00-£30.00. Under £18s £11.50. Concessions £2.00 off Tue – Thu. Senior Special £5.00 off Thu Mat. Premium Seats & Meal Deal Available.

Photo Credit: Lisa Roberts