World famous production War Horse proves magical for Hackney actor

London 2015

WAR HORSE London 2015 - Credit: Archant

A actor has joined the cast of a major West End production and spoken of the drama, intensity and passion of the play.

Nick Figgis

Nick Figgis - Credit: Archant

Nick Figgis, 34, who is part of the boating community along Grand Union Canal in Hackney, has been acting in War Horse since March in a variety of roles.

The play is based on Michael Morpurgo’s classic novel of the same name, which follows a boy’s extraordinary bond with a horse during the First World War.

Nick said: “The central relationship in the play is between this horse and boy. It’s about friendship and all this other awful stuff happens and tears them apart but that friendship is the thing that keeps them both going; it’s an extraordinary, beautiful piece of theatre.

“I play various roles including Friedrich, and that’s the way it works with War Horse because you have cast of 40, we all move round roles and cover different roles.”

Nick has been acting for 20 years but still stressed the importance of maintaining concentration and physical fitness in a show that runs eight times a week.

He said: “It is thrilling anyway just being on stage like that in a theatre that is full with really appreciative audiences; you get a lot of feedback from the audience, you can feel it and you get a lot of energy.

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“We are extraordinarily lucky and also this cast is a really strong ensemble; we like each other, everybody gets on.

“As there is 40 people, if you are having an off day you can get that energy from other people.

“The unique thing about War Horse is because it is such a big cast, everybody gets a period of holiday and once it’s up and running the cast is never the same. So you will be performing with a different actor who brings something different which keeps you on your toes and keeps it exciting.”

He added: “You have to be alive and ready to jump in at the last minute. It’s very full on and you haven’t really got the option of dropping the ball.

“Every cog in the wheel has to be turning to keep the momentum of the show up, it’s got a real life of its own.

“That thing of sustaining it is definitely a challenge and I guess emotionally engaging every night with a part is something you have to be very open to doing.

“But the interesting thing about doing a part for so long is how surprising it is finding new things – someone will deliver something to you in a new way and you can bounce off that. It’s just a great script, the horses are so magical and so life-like it’s hard to tire of it.”

Nick also said living in Hackney helped him find peace and quiet away from the bustle of the West End.

He said: “It is like you are slightly out of the city but you are still in Hackney. It remains an inspiring place to be, with a mix of people and so many different cultures and walks of life which are all getting on pretty well. It’s a really cool place.”

War Horse continues at the New London Theatre, further information can be found at