Nicky Swift (1991-98) – A Career in Musical Theatre



It’s been eighteen years since I left MTGS, though in some ways it only feels like a few! I went straight to Birmingham University and got my music degree, followed by a post grad year at The Royal Academy Of Music (musical theatre course). It was always the route I wanted to go, but along the way I was met with a number of people who tried to discourage me from such an unsteady career! Don’t get me wrong, a career in the performing arts is hard.really hard, and you have to want to do it more than anything else in the world. There are constant knock backs and people will criticise you to your face about your singing/acting/dance but, along the way, you develop a thick skin and when you do get offered a job, you forget the tougher days. It’s hard work but if you believe in yourself you can achieve anything in life.

I’ve been lucky, I have an incredibly supportive family, friends and partner. I’ve been fortunate enough to work pretty consistently in the business, from a two year stint at Les Miserables in the West End to shorter jobs up in Liverpool at the Everyman Theatre and The Royal Court, (the latter which incidentally has another ex MTGS girl working as casting director). I’ve worked on Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth, TV appearances, Buddy the musical, Cats (back in the day when I could still kick my leg high enough!) and now I’m touring the UK in Footloose the musical where I’m playing one of the leads. I get to see a different city every week, I get to catch up with old school friends along the way and perform to a wider variety of audiences. In this show I also get to play the piano, flute and sax as we are not only the actors on stage but we are also the band. These days my casting bracket has changed.  I’ve gone from playing the smaller character parts, or understudying the principal roles to being cast as the ‘mum’ parts….yes, I’m now at that awkward age, I’m embracing it.  These parts are usually more interesting anyway… at least that’s what I tell myself! My life is full, I have made tremendous friends over the years and continue to make more as I go from job to job, every day is different and I am hugely grateful for that.

In November I will take two months off, I will rest my voice, have some family time, join my partner on his tour for a while and actually have some ‘me’ time….after 11 months of doing a high energy show like Footloose, seven very fast costume changes per show 8 times a week, playing the sax whilst roller skating and dancing for an entire 80’s megamix at the end of the performance, I think I need a rest!