Nigel Harman on bringing Glengarry Glen Ross to Surrey

PUBLISHED: 10:49 06 February 2019 | UPDATED: 10:49 06 February 2019

Nigel Harman (Photo by Stephan Fleet)

Nigel Harman (Photo by Stephan Fleet)


Nigel Harman is probably best known for his stint in EastEnders, but the Purley-born performer has been busy making a name for himself on the stage as both an actor and director ever since. This February he returns to Surrey for the opening of his latest play Glengarry Glen Ross at Woking’s New Victoria Theatre

What do you play in Glengarry Glen Ross?

I play Ricky Roma who is a master salesman; he’s got the gift of the gab, can talk the hind legs off a donkey and charm the birds from the trees. He also has a very colourful use of the English language and when we meet him he is doing incredibly well in a sales competition where we see him in his pomp, but it all starts to slightly unravel in the second half.

What do you enjoy about playing Ricky Roma?

He is absolutely assured about everything he does, doesn’t have any doubts and has a real ‘to the victor, the spoils’ attitude. He’s also one of those people who tells people exactly what he thinks of them and it’s a bit like that daydream people in offices sometimes have about what they would really like to say to their boss. Ricky doesn’t think about that, he just does it.

What drew you to the play?

It’s one of the best contemporary American plays of the last 40 years and David Mamet is a fantastic writer so it was easy to say yes to.

You once described theatre as your first love, what do you enjoy about performing on stage?

I just like that it’s live and that the cast and the audience are in a room together and what happens on each particular night is unique. Obviously the words are always the same, but the energy can be completely different from night to night and each audience is unique so the whole experience is subtly different, and I really enjoy that.

Do you enjoy being an audience member yourself?

Yes I love going to see live theatre. I recently went to see The Jungle in Brooklyn and that was an amazing piece of theatre.

You grew up in Surrey – do you like coming back to perform here?

I do still come to Surrey a lot as I live in West London which is not too far away, but it will be fun to be performing there.

Do you enjoy going on theatre tours?

This is actually my first time on a theatre tour, but I think it’s really important to take plays to people’s home towns. I think that always expecting people to travel to London to see the best work is prohibitive in terms of expense and that us travelling to the audiences is probably the way round it should be.

What have been your favourite stage roles to date?

I did a production of Three Days of Rain in the West End in 2009, which I loved and I was lucky enough to play Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls and Lord Farquaad in Shrek the Musical. But I’ve loved all of the roles I have played because I never would have taken them on if I didn’t.

You have also taken on the role of theatre director with Shrek the Musical and Big Fish in London – is this something you hope to do more of in the future?

I’m hoping to keep doing it alongside acting. I don’t have any strict plans, but I do have some directing projects that may be coming into fruit shortly. I want to do more acting too as I’m really enjoying it. But I do think acting is a part time job and with the economic climate in the country the way it is we are all earning less and less money and getting less work. So, I think actors need to be able to do different things, especially if you want to stay acting your whole life. 

Glengarry Glen Ross will play at New Victoria Theatre, Woking from Thursday 14 – Saturday 16 February 2019 with tickets starting from £14.90. For tickets head to atgtickets/woking or call the Box Office on 0844 871 7645. The show will also be heading to Richmond Theatre from 15 – 20 April 2019.

Latest from the Surrey