Interview: Stand By actor Nalini Chetty

15 Mar 2022

We caught up with actor Nalini Chetty, who plays Rachel in Stand By, to hear about her role, the show and how she feels to be treading the boards again. Stand By, by Scottish Theatre Producers, is on at Platform on Thu 17 March - book tickets here.

1) Which role do you play in Stand By - tell us a bit about your character?

I play Rachel, the only woman in the van. She has 9 years service and has previously worked in CID. She handles herself with amazing composure in face of most of the challenges of the job. But she has to pick her battles with her colleagues - and somewhat repress her personal life.

2) What stands out to you about the show/storyline?

I was drawn to the authenticity that Adam (the writer of piece, who also plays Chris) had brought to the script. Adam was in the police for 7 years and there was something refreshing in reading a theatre script that had a televisual feel, but also had elements of Greek tragedy and ensemble feel. Also, I found it incredibly funny!

3) How does it feel to be back in theatre again after the last few years of lockdowns and restrictions?

It's great. For me, the rehearsal room is quite often the bit I love most. It's particularly strange getting used to physical proximity and contact again after years of standing meters apart in a mask. It can be hard to relax into that, but it's wonderful. I'm very happy that folk are coming back to live performance, it's been so missed.

4) Have you learned anything / gained insight into what it’s like being a police officer?  

I suppose the job is less exciting than you see on TV drama - there is a mixture of dealing with things that are mundane, tricky, ridiculous, and tiring. Then in amongst that there are some really extreme things. The dysfunction and flaws of the organisation don't surprise me, but my empathy has grown for the individuals within the organisation that are there for the right reasons.  

5) Why should people come and see Stand By?

They will be totally drawn into the world of the characters and their predicament. In an intimate piece like this you live the experience with the characters. This will be just over an hour of being WITH these four individuals - who although flawed, are charming in their own way- in this high stakes’ situation. I think that feeling is quite intoxicating!

6)  What’s next for you?

I'm presenting a podcast for BBC Radio Scotland - it's called 'The Reveal'. It's a programme that peeks into weird and wonderful lives/ hobbies and livelihoods around Scotland.

I'm also in a new Val McDermid crime drama for ITV. It's called ‘Karen’ Pirie and is out in the Autumn.


Nalini graduated from The University of Bristol with a B.A hons in Drama: Theatre, Film & Television in 2003. She later trained as an actor at The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School graduating in 2009.

Nalini works extensively in theatre, television and radio, and in Scotland she is best known for the role of Zinnie Hassoun, series regular in BBC Scotland’s River City.

Nalini started her acting career in 2006 appearing in the award-winning production of David Grieg’s Yellow Moon (TAG/ Citizens Theatre) which earned a TMA award and toured to New York with Brits off Broadway.  As a writer she has written for Channel 4, Radio 4, BBC One Scotland and for Scottish Theatre.

[Image Credit: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan]



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