2014-15 Ensemble

Herbie Barnes

Toronto, ON

Last updated: September 30, 2014

Before they arrived at the NAC for rehearsals, we asked a few questions to the members of the 2014-15 Ensemble about themselves.

1)      What are you working on over the summer?
I have been acting at 4th Line Theatre playing Doctor Thomas Barnardo in Doctor Barnardo’s Children and I have directed and taken over the role in Darrell Dennis’ one man show, Tales of an Urban Indian in Hannibal, Missouri.

2)      What are you looking most forward to when you arrive at the NAC?
Building a team of performers who challenge one another… and drinking beer with them.

3)      How did you get involved in acting?
I’ll try and make this quick but the story goes like this. I always wanted to be an actor – my plan was to make it to the big leagues in baseball, then drift over into movie stardom (didn’t happen). But in grade four the high school teacher from the local high school came to my public school to do workshops with her students and the students at my school. At the end of the day she came to me and said I want to teach you, come to my school when you are old enough. So I did but she was gone. At the school another teacher took me under her wing and sent me out to workshops and shows and so my whole high school life I was taking classes and doing shows until I saw Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing (a show I later did at the NAC in 1991). In the program they listed a theatre company close to my Rez. I went in to that theatre and the artistic director there was the director of Dry Lips. He hired me to do the show that fall and when touring it to Toronto, Thomson Highway saw the play and hired me for my next play. That’s the quick story. 

4)      What’s the most interesting thing that has happened to you on stage?
So much stuff has happened, my lord. I think standing in the wings holding the script of a play I never rehearsed about to go on because the actor didn’t show up for the show. Lucky for the audience and me he ran in just before my entrance. Playing Bilbo Baggins to a theatre audience that was all around me and a four-year-old young lady telling me “Get back in there, Mister!!” when asked if I should go back and find my friends in the Misty Mountains. Even doing Doc Barnardo this summer, a child truly engrossed in the play screamed at me because she was so mad at my character and she was convinced that I was doing it for money and not for the love of the children. 

Raised in: Toronto, ON | Based in: Toronto, ON

For the NAC: 

Copper Thunderbird (co-production with Urban Ink Productions).


Herbie Barnes has played many roles throughout his 20 year career both on stage and on film. His best-known stage roles include Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit (Manitoba Theatre for Young People); a Wikershame Brother in Sussical The Musical. Directing credits include The HobbitThe Remember (Manitoba Theatre for Young People); Someday and Dinky (Native Earth); Tales Of An Urban Indian (Public Theatre NYC/Autry theatre LA); Sexy Laundry (Persephone Theatre); Where the Blood Mixes (Theatre Northwest). 

Herbie’s play Russell’s World was honoured to be the first play to be asked to the Magnetic North Theatre Festival without having been produced first.  


Film/TV:  Acting credits include Dance Me Outside and The Rez.

Writing credits include Buffalo Tracks and Tipi Tales, a show that also uses his performing talents as a puppeteer and voice talent.

Directing credits include Reprezenting in Fort Chip, and was a shadow director on The Rez.

As a teacher he has spent time in inner city high schools, private schools, universities, and many theatre companies.

NAC media featuring Herbie Barnes