Nicholas Skilbeck

Nicholas Skilbeck Portrait


Current and forthcoming credits include: TINA (London, Hamburg, Broadway); FOLLIES (National Theatre, Revival). 

Credits include: FOLLIES (Royal National Theatre); CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (Theatre Royal Drury Lane, New York and US Tour); TRAVELS WITH MY AUNT; GYPSY (Chichester Festival Theatre & West End); KATE BUSH: BEFORE THE DAWN (Hammersmith Apollo); CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (Theatre Royal Drury Lane); SWEENEY TODD (Adelphi); SISTER ACT (London Palladium); HAIRSPRAY (Shaftesbury); BILLY ELLIOT (Victoria Palace); MAMMA MIA! (Prince Edward); ACORN ANTIQUES (original workshop); CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG (London Palladium); PEEPSHOW (Frantic Assembly and Lamb, Lyric Hammersmith); CATS (New London); and onstage with Victoria Wood in VICTORIA WOOD- AT IT AGAIN (Royal Albert Hall, UK Tour and ITV); CATS (New London Theatre)

As a Composer Credits Include: ASYLUM (Queen Elizabeth Hall); AFFAIRS OF THE HEART (Helsinki Theatre Dance Company); HELL BENT (International Tour) all for Nigel Charnock Company; MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING and TWELFTH NIGHT for the Ludlow Festival. 

Nick is the co-author of the book THE SINGING AND ACTING HANDBOOK - GAMES AND EXERCISES FOR THE PERFORMER (published by Taylor and Francis).

He produced the TINA Original Cast Recording (2019), GYPSY London Cast Recording (2015), was Associate Producer on the SWEENEY TODD London Cast Recording (2012), and Conductor on the Original Cast Recording of SISTER ACT(2009).

Nick is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music. He was the first person in the field of Musical Theatre to be awarded the fellowship. 

25 February 2019

‘A perfect show.’ ★★★★★ FOLLIES returns to the National Theatre

‘A perfect show.’ ★★★★★ FOLLIES returns to the National Theatre

Stephen Sondheim’s FOLLIES returns to the National Theatre to rave reviews across the board, highlighting the outstanding work of MLR Creatives, Nigel Lilley (Music Director and Conductor), Nick Skilbeck (Music Supervisor) and Paule Constable (Lighting Designer.)

The Stage ★★★★★ 

‘Cooke’s staging remains one of the most impressive things to have graced the Olivier for some time, making full use of the depth and height of the space; the production as a whole is a majestic undertaking, haunting, emotionally textured and impeccably designed by Vicky Mortimer, and lit, by Paule Constable; bleak, but brilliant.’ 

What’s on Stage ★★★★★

‘When Dominic Cooke's production of Stephen Sondheim's Follies first landed on the Olivier stage it scooped up virtually every award going. Now it's back, substantially recast, slightly reworked, and – amazingly – it glistens more brightly than ever.’  

‘On Vicki Mortimer's glimmering set, which covers the ruins of a battered old theatre with a glint of remembered magic, filling the dusty chairs and bare walls with the silver and gold of the elaborate Follies costumes, and the tugging loveliness of Paule Constable's shadowy lighting, past and present come together in soul-baring encounters that fracture and then, tentatively, heal broken lives.’

The Telegraph ★★★★★

‘This Sondheim revival is a perfect show.’

Broadway World UK  ★★★★★

‘Sondheim's score is nostalgic, familiar; it is as if your own memories are singing for you, and how beautiful they sound. Nigel Lilley's orchestra is in fine form, dishing out hot tunes just as fast as the dancers can catch them.’

The Express  ★★★★★

'Do not miss this show. It is perfection.' 

London Theatre ★★★★★

‘That constant pull between the past and present defines both James Goldman's wonderful impressionistic book and Dominic Cooke's haunting production, with its sets by Vicki Mortimer, lighting by Paule Constable and above all pitch-perfect period choreography by Bill Deamer.’ 


19 April 2018

TINA proves to be ‘simply the best’ at the Aldwych Theatre

TINA proves to be ‘simply the best’ at the Aldwych Theatre

This new bio-musical based on the life and career of Tina Turner opened in the West End on Tuesday evening. It features 23 of her most iconic songs, and MLR’s Nicholas Skilbeck provides musical supervision, arrangements and additional music to the production. 

The Telegraph ★★★★★

“slickly choreographed, beautifully designed and roof-raisingly well-sung”

“this jukebox musical boxes clever… We Don’t Need Another Hero comes to carry a raw emotional charge”

The Guardian ★★★★

“a heady celebration of triumph over adversity and a whirlwind performance by Adrienne Warren that left the audience breathless.”

The Independent ★★★★

“The songs are used beautifully, whether to drive the plot forward or drench it in mood – or both.”

The Stage ★★★★

It’s irresistible. Everything is just so perfect and glossy”

“[Adrienne Warren] has the slight rasp at the edge of her voice, which can draw down into quietness and tenderness or open wide into pure, belting power. [She] provides so many spine-tingling moments”

The Times ★★★★

“heart and soul, as well as more than a bit of rock’n’roll.”

17 April 2018

Nicholas Skilbeck speaks to The Stage

Nicholas Skilbeck speaks to The Stage

One of the West End’s most in-demand musical directors, Nicholas Skilbeck’s recent work includes FOLLIES and the TINA THE MUSICAL, the new show based on the life of pop icon Tina Turner. In this interview he tells Nick Smurthwaite at The Stage how talking to Tina inspired him…

Because Tina Turner’s concerts were so energetic and unique, Skilbeck’s job was to bring together that epic quality of her live performance with the intimacy of being in a West End theatre as well as delivering a coherent narrative. 
“So we had to develop a way of juxtaposing two forms – the concert and the narrative. If it works, you should be able to move seamlessly from the narrative device into the concert format.” 

A fellow of the Royal Academy of Music, Skilbeck was always eclectic when it came to his musical tastes. “I knew from an early age that I preferred music that interacted with other forms. Even as a student at the Royal Academy I never aspired to being a concert pianist or anything like that. I’d be listening to new wave, punk or pop on my Walkman and then playing Debussy and Rachmaninov at college.”

Last year he made his (self-taught) conducting debut with the Broadway production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. “Surprisingly it wasn’t scary, which is maybe how you know you’re meant to be doing something. I’d happily go back to conduct Tina on Broadway if the opportunity arose. I loved my time there with Charlie.

Nicholas’ advice for his MD students is to “stand up for music, to strive to be the music expert in the room, and make sure it is an equal partner in the triumvirate of music, dance and drama.” 

Read the full interview here:

13 March 2018



GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY has been nominated for an Outstanding Achievement in Music award for the original orchestrations and arrangements by Simon Hale, along with nominations for Best New Musical, Best Actress in a Musical, Best Actor in a Musical and Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical. Currently playing in the West End after transferring from the Old Vic. 

FOLLIES has also been nominated for an Outstanding Achievement in Music award for The Orchestra, under the music supervision of Nicholas Skilbeck and music director Nigel Lilley, as well as Best Lighting Design for Paule Constable. It also received a further seven nominations including Best Director and Best Musical Revival, and played at the Olivier, National Theatre until January 2018.

ANGELS IN AMERICA received a nomination for Best Lighting Design for Paule Constable, her second nomination in this category, and also received nominations for Best Revival, Best Actor and Best Director amongst others for its run at the Lyttleton, National Theatre.

ON THE TOWN received a nomination for Best Musical Revival after running at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre with Lighting Design by Howard Hudson.

07 September 2017

FOLLIES opens at the National Theatre

FOLLIES opens at the National Theatre

FOLLIES, by Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman, is directed by Dominic Cooke in the Olivier at the National Theatre. Nick Skilbeck is the Music Supervisor, Nigel Lilley is the Music Director & Conductor and Paule Constable is the Lighting Designer. 

The Artsdesk ★★★★★

“Music supervisor Nicholas Skilbeck and conductor Nigel Lilley have elicited the best possible work; there are stunning contributions from some of the best wind and brass in the business”

“evocatively lit by Paule Constable”

“You leave giddy with the richness and complexity of it all. one of the great classics of the musical theatre is magnificently vindicated.”

The Independent ★★★★★

"The hairs on the back of my neck were begging for mercy for they got barely a moment’s peace, what with the thrilling sound of the orchestra (under Nigel Lilley’s fantastic musical direction)"

"jaw-droppingly great"

The Guardian ★★★★★

“It is quite simply breathtaking.”

“a production that perfectly captures the sustained emotional arc of Sondheim and Goldman’s musical”

“Sondheim's showbiz stunner returns in breathtaking style”

Time Out ★★★★★

“’Follies' is no folly but a perfect, devastating evocation of the pain of looking back”

“There's nothing like a Stephen Sondheim musical to make you wonder what the hell everybody else is playing at. Revived with considerable expense, a lot of style…frankly extraordinary”

The Telegraph ★★★★★

“Unmissable, really.”

“the opulent spectacle of the night”

The Stage ★★★★★

“This isn’t just triumphant, it’s transcendent”

“Every 10 minutes or so there's another stunner of a set piece, sung impeccably”

The Financial Times ★★★★★

"an outstanding revival — spectacular, sassy, sorrowful and ultimately deeply sad. It’s as robust as an old trouper and as delicate as a cobweb, a brilliantly sustained reverie, superbly performed."

"the 21-piece orchestra bring the spectacle, while revealing in it the hollowness of fame and the damaging veneration of youth."

Broadway World ★★★★★

“it's thrilling, heartrending and utterly vital.”

“Nigel Lilley's magnificent brassy orchestra”

“Sondheim super-fans will certainly consider it worth the wait, but for the dedicated and uninitiated alike, it's simply spectacular theatre”

WhatsOnStage ★★★★

“establishes the greatness of Follies once and for all”

“Its strength lies less in its spectacle than in the calibrated detail”

The Evening Standard ★★★★

“lending clever pastiche with passages of uncomfortable introspection, it’s a genuinely fascinating study of the dangers of nostalgia.”

“real emotional weight — eloquent about desire, fantasy, illusion and regret”

The New York Times  

"musical director Nigel Lilley’s 21-strong orchestra delivers the score with unusual luster: the brass section, by way of example, sends Buddy’s revelatory “The Right Girl” soaring"

"I’m not sure I’ve ever come across a “Follies” that carries the punch of the current staging"


"Guess that’s why they call him God"

If the foursome all realize how much they’ve been faking, they also come to see that the whole world’s a ruse. Divine"


02 May 2017



MLR's Nicholas Skilbeck returns as Musical Supervisor