Desmond Barrit

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Desmond Barrit
Born Desmond Brown
(1944-10-19) 19 October 1944 (age 71)
Morriston, Swansea, Wales, U.K.
Occupation actor
Years active 1979 –
Awards Helen Hayes Award
Outstanding Supporting Performer in a Non-Resident Production
1997 A Midsummer Night's DreamBottom

Desmond Barrit (born 19 October 1944) is a Laurence Olivier Award winning, Welsh actor, best known for his stage work.


Barrit was born on 19 October 1944 in Morriston, Swansea, Wales.

For some years he was a regular in repertory at the Grand Theatre, Swansea.

He has also starred in productions of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and has appeared at the Chichester Festival Theatre, and the Royal National Theatre. More recently he appeared in The History Boys at Wyndham's Theatre portraying the general studies teacher, Hector, made famous by Richard Griffiths in the film version.[1]

On 7 July 2008, he took over the role of The Wizard from Nigel Planer in the West End production of Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre. Originally set to begin 9 June, his performance had to be postponed to undergo an operation.[2] He played his last performance on 9 May 2009 and was replaced by Sam Kelly. Barrit returned to the role for select performances in July and August 2009 while Kelly was out on medical leave. He shared the part with understudy Sean Needham.

His next stage appearance was in the Glyndebourne Festival Opera production of The Fairy-Queen, where he combined the singing role of the drunken poet with the spoken role of Bottom - a part he has also played in its Shakespearian original.

In 2009 he directed a version of The Rise and Fall of Little Voice at Sheringham Little Theatre, which he patronises, featuring his former Wicked co-star Caroline Keiff in the title role.

Beginning 12 December 2011, he returned to Wicked, reprising his role of the Wizard, taking over from Clive Carter. He ended his third return engagement with the show on 7 July 2012 (four years after his debut), and was replaced three weeks later by Keith Bartlett.[3]

In November 2012 starred as Falstaff in the RSC production of The Merry Wives of Windsor at Stratford-upon-Avon.


Selected theatre credits[edit]

The Habit of Art The Fairy Queen (Glyndebourne/Paris/New York); Wicked (West End); The History Boys; Stuff Happens; A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum; Mountain Giants; The Recruiting Officer; The Wind in the Willows; Three Men on a Horse; Jacobowsky and the Colonel; The Magistrate (National Theatre); 'Falstaff' in Henry IV Parts 1 & 2 (Olivier nomination); A Midsummer Night's Dream (Helen Hayes Award); The Comedy of Errors (Olivier Award); King Lear; The Man Who Came to Dinner; The Tempest (Clarence Derwent Award); Twelfth Night; Macbeth; The Constant Couple (RSC); The History Boys; Accidental Death of an Anarchist; Real Inspector Hound/Black Comedy; Dubarry; The Scarlett Pimpernel; Eurydice; Three Men on a Horse; The Lair; A View from the Bridge; This is a Chair; Then Again; The Chinese Wolf; The Three Musketeers; HMS Pinafore; Twelfth Night (London); The Merchant of Venice; On the Razzle; Fortune's Fool (Chichester Festival Theatre); My Fair Lady (Hollywood Bowl); She Stoops to Conquer (Royal Exchange, Manchester), The Birthday Party (Royal Exchange, Manchester) and Therese Raquin (Helen Edmundson's adaptation, Theatre Royal, Bath).

Selected television roles[edit]

Year Programme Role Other notes
1979 Follow the Star Shepherd First television role
1991 Agatha Christie's Poirot: The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor Samuel Naughton
1998 Alice Through the Looking Glass Humpty Dumpty
1999 A Christmas Carol Ghost of Christmas Present Television film
Oliver Twist Mr. Flinders Television mini-series
2001 Midsomer Murders Jonathan Eckersley-Hyde
2007 Northanger Abbey Mr Allen


  1. ^ Rees, Jasper (2007-12-31). "The History Boys: The school trip of a lifetime". London: The Telegraph online. Retrieved 2008-07-31. 
  2. ^ "Desmond Barrit to Join Wicked in June". 2008-03-24. Archived from the original on 2008-04-01. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  3. ^