Member Spotlight March 2024 - Nicole-Lily Baisden

Member Spotlight March 2024 Nicole-Lily Baisden (West End Performer)

Festivals would not be able to happen without their wonderful performers. That’s why for the first time in our member spotlight, we are highlighting a previous performer who has progressed into a successful professional career in musical theatre.


Nicole-Lily Baisden is a West End performer who has already gained a wealth of experience in some of the best-known musicals. She appeared as Nabulungi in the Book of Mormon’s UK and international tour, the beloved musical, Anything Goes and her most prominent role has come in 42nd Street where she played Peggy Sawyer.

Nicole-Lily gained widespread praise for her performance in Anything Goes starring alongside Bonnie Langford and Kerry Ellis. The Evening Standard praised her performance calling it a “meltingly sweet, major stage debut.”

The performing arts festival movement helped Nicole-Lily gain the necessary experience to captivate audiences in the West End. Her years of experience at festivals including Ealing Festival of Music, Dance, Speech and Drama, Maidenhead Festival of Music and Dance and Chesham Arts Festival all shaped Nicole-Lily to become the success she is today.

It gives you a snippet of what performing life can be like.

Nicole-Lily, who is a graduate of ArtsEd, an independent performing arts school in London, grew up performing at BIFF festivals around the country, honing her craft which would one day lead her to the West End. “It was so much fun, and I loved getting into that team spirit, working together, putting on group dances, trios and just going out and performing.” Nicole-Lily reminisces.

“I feel like it’s given me such good skills going out into the professional industry because, from a young age, I was used to going out and performing in front of an audience. I was dealing with those nerves and excitement.” Nicole-Lily adds. “At some points, I was doing 18 different dance routines during the festival. Being able to retain information, to switch from a Song & Dance, to a ballet solo, to a tap solo, and being able to change all of that up really helped”.

Nicole-Lily notes the importance of festivals to her development and laying the groundwork for her life in the professional arts. “It gives you a snippet of what performing life can be like. It teaches you how to perform in front of audiences and that’s a huge thing. I think being able to perform in front of a 2000 seat theatre is really daunting but if from a young age you’ve been used to going out to a room full of strangers, it gives you that confidence”.

What I’ve learned is that me on stage is very different from me in my everyday life.

Taking on the prestigious role of Hope Harcourt in Anything Goes has been one of the most important milestone of Nicole-Lily’s career so far. “That was an amazing show to be part of! It was one of the first shows to open after lockdown. Anything Goes was a show I’d wanted to do for years. I love old classic musicals."  

The musical was revived in 2021 for a London run and a UK tour soon followed. Nicole-Lily played the key role of Hope Harcourt in the show which sold out in its final run at the Barbican. The show was filmed and released in cinemas and for the BBC.

Hope Harcourt is a wealthy heiress who falls in love with Billy J Crocker on board a cruise liner from New York to London. “At first glance she just looks a little bit like a sad, stroppy young woman who doesn’t want to marry.” Nicole-Lily explains.

“But then when you dive more into it, you see that she has this wicked sense of humour. She’s really funny, she’s really playful and it’s really nice to find all those different elements of her and bring that out in the performance”.

There’s a lot for Nicole-Lily to bring to this exciting role. “What I’ve learned is that me on stage is very different from me in my everyday life. You almost have to put on that persona to go out and perform in front of all those people.”

I find it so inspiring sitting there watching all these young performers doing what I did for so many years.

Nicole-Lily still finds the time to be involved with the festival movement, helping out at the Ealing Festival of Music, Dance, Speech and Drama where her mum, Yvonne,  is also involved.

I find it so inspiring sitting there watching all these young performers doing what I did for so many years. It’s really nostalgic to look back and see where I started from. It’s been great to just be able to talk to people.

“A lot of people come up to me and ask me for any advice I have. It’s really nice to give that back, to know that I’ve been in their position and gone into the professional side of it”.

Nicole-Lily shares her encouraging advice to young performers who may have days that haven’t gone as well as they might have wanted.

“At some festivals you might have a great time and you feel on top of your game, and then at other festivals you might feel that you didn’t do as well that time. Never give up! Keep persevering, keep working hard and pay attention to all the critiques that the adjudicators are giving you. That’s my number one thing. Make sure you can take the critiques and work on them.”

You can watch Anything Goes – The Musical Film featuring Nicole-Lily Baisden on BBC iPlayer

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