There’s got to be a first time for everyone, even West End stars. Here’s the low-down on actor, writer, director and magician Andy Nyman and his first key show-biz experiences.
My First audition
Was for an ITV series called ‘The Firm’. It was in 1987 and I was in my final year of drama school. It was to play the part of an Italian lad who was in an East End firm. I got the job, but because I didn’t have an equity card I wasn’t allowed to do it. Needless to say I was gutted.
My First job (acting or non-acting)
Doing a paper round in Leicester for the free paper the ‘Leicester Advertiser’.
My First death scene
I’ve now been killed quite a few times on screen, but my very first was for an NBC movie called ‘Uprising’ about the Jewish uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto. I played a Jewish policeman turned resistance fighter, I went down in a blaze of glory. I was set on fire by flamethrower, but came billowing out of a building, covered in flames, and took a Nazi down with me. Excellent.
My First magic trick
A classic trick known as either ‘Dizzy Dots’ or ‘Spot Paddles’.
My First bad review
I honestly, truly try not to remember them, far too damaging.
My First experience of terrifying people
It was at ‘Chai ‘81’ Jewish summer camp where I first met Jeremy Dyson (my co writer and co-director on Ghost Stories). We staged a fake Séance for the girls in the next dorm. They went nuts, screaming and crying. Hooked from then on in.
My First celebrity encounter
I can’t remember my first, but going to see Mike Yarwood live at the Theatre Royal Nottingham when I was a boy, had a huge effect on me. I couldn’t believe one of my heroes was actually there in front of me.
My First visit to a West End theatre
Hard to say as my wonderful parents took us to the theatre all the time, but my greatest memory was coming from Leicester to see Barnum at the Palladium. Seeing the Circus acts outside the theatre before you went in felt incredible and the show and Michael Crawford were simply sensational.
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Andy Nyman is co-writer, co-director and co-star of Ghost Stories at the Duke of York’s Theatre with Jeremy Dyson. He is co-creator and director of Derren Brown’s television and stage shows and star of stage and screen including TV drama Dead Set and movie Severance.