McAuliffe is a patron of Action for Children's Arts, an organisation dedicated to the promotion of creative arts among children under 12.
Between 1989 and 1995, she starred as obstreperous surgeon Sheila Sabatini in the ITV sitcom Surgical Spirit, her most high-profile acting role to date. More recently, she appeared in the long-running soap opera Coronation Street between 2001 and 2002.
She has also had a number of stage roles and was awarded the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 1988 (1987 season) for "Best Actress in a Musical" for Kiss Me, Kate. She also appeared as the evil Baroness Bomburst in the West End production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium. She was nominated for a 2003 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role or Musical of 2002 for her performance in the production. Other stage appearances have included Oedipus the King.
McAuliffe provided the voice of James Bond's BMW in the 1997 film Tomorrow Never Dies. Other TV roles were in The Sound of Drums, a Doctor Who episode screened on 23 June 2007, and in My Family as the judge in episode Life Begins at Fifty.
In 2009, McAuliffe appeared in the film Cheri (film) with Michelle Pfeiffer. Nichola appeared as the Wicked Fairy at the Yvonne Arnuad Theatre, Guildford, in Sleeping Beauty alongside Sarah-Jane Honeywell and Shane Lynch.
McAuliffe has also published two novels, The Crime Tsar, based loosely on Macbeth; and A Fanny Full of Soap, a comic novel about the pre-West End run of a stage musical plus a children's story, Attila, Loolagax and the Eagle, both in 2003. She is also a contributor to newspapers such as the Daily Mail.
In 2012. McAuliffe, a winner in 2001 for her performance in Bed Among the Lentils was this year again named best actress (the only person to win the nomination twice) in the Stage Awards for Acting Excellence at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. She appeared in Maurice’s Jubilee, which she also wrote, a comic play, staged at the Pleasance, which tells the story of an elderly man at the end of his life who is preparing to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, McAuliffe also plays his nurse.
- Nichola McAuliffe's author microsite at Bloomsbury Publishing
- Nichola McAuliffe at the BBC Comedy Guide
- Nichola McAuliffe Question and Answer interview
- Nichola McAuliffe at the Internet Movie Database