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National Theatre Blog

Ten questions for… Adam Gillen

Adam Gillen as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, background Sarah Amankwah, Hammed Animashaun as Venticelli.

On this day in 1791, the real Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart passed away, leaving behind him a too-short lifetime’s worth of music and the inspiration for Peter Shaffer’s play, Amadeus. 225 years later, we interviewed Adam Gillen, who is appearing as the composer in the current production of Amadeus.



  1. Who do you play in Amadeus?
    I play Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
  2. Is there a scene you particularly enjoy performing? 
    Probably the scene at New Year’s Eve as it’s beautifully bonkers, everybody’s in it and the music’s amazing. 
  3. And do you have a favourite line in the show? 
    ‘Music is easy, it’s marriage that’s hard.’
  4. Do you have any pre-show rituals? 
    Honey, lemon and ginger tea – and a nap.
  5. What would be your dream role? 
    Other than this one, Richard III. 
  6. Who is your backstage hero? 
    Ruth, my dresser, because she knows what’s coming next even if I don’t.
  7. Where’s your favourite spot in the National Theatre? 
    The canteen at lunch when everyone’s on one big table. 
  8. What’s the most memorable on-stage moment you’ve seen or been part of that has made a lasting impression on you? 
    Breaking a breeze block wall with a sledgehammer in my first ever play which was at the Cottesloe. It was pretty satisfying and I couldn’t believe they let me actually do it. Feels so much better to actually do something than just to pretend. 
  9. What advice would you give to aspiring actors? 
    Try and trust the fact that nobody can do it quite like you, work hard and keep going. 
  10. Finally, could you describe Amadeus in three words?  
    Epic, thrilling, fun.



Amadeus is now playing in the Olivier Theatre, with best availability from February. Visit the ​Amadeus page.

NT Live will broadcast Amadeus live to cinemas on 2 February, with Encore screenings in selected venues. Find your nearest NT Live venue and book.