Currently appearing in the musical City of Angels at the Donmar Warehouse in the West End, Barks admits she wasn’t driven by a desire to become famous, but by the thrill of performing in front of audiences.Yet, she didn’t know anyone who had become an actress on the island so it wasn’t an obvious career choice.
“I’ll see somebody texting, or smiling on their phone on the tube and I think, 'Oh I wonder what’s going on with her,’ or I see a couple of lads arguing and I’ll wonder what’s led them to that point’. The people that you might walk past on the tube or see running for the train - the film will split off and follow their story line for a bit.” She’ll also be in The Devil’s Harvest, opposite Max Irons, son of Jeremy.
They play a couple who are torn apart by Stalin’s starvation of the Ukraine, known as the Holodomor, in the early 1930s. You put it out there and they respond and that gives you energy, you give them energy.
A vegan stint lasted 40 days but the demands of a busy schedule and socialising, she says, make that lifestyle too challenging.
Barks also follows political debate and “really wanted to go into politics” as a girl.
Barks is enjoying the mix of film and musical theatre. “When you’re on stage you’re projecting to the back of the theatre so everything has to be bigger. It’s an instant buzz on stage, you always leave the theatre feeling ecstatic and like, 'I want to do it again’.
Sometimes you can’t sleep.’’ When she’s not working, Barks loves to cook and bake.“In the Isle of Man we have our own government so when I was younger I found it fascinating seeing how one simple change could affect so many people in a positive or negative way.In the back of my mind I was like, 'I could be a politician’, but I wouldn’t make a very good one.” What does she think of David Cameron? I do think he is doing a good job.” But she’s a fan of Boris Johnson. One, he does make me laugh, but two, the Boris bikes are something I use whenever I can, they’re so much fun.Roles in Cabaret and as Eponine in Les Miserables followed before she was eventually cast as Nancy herself.And then, in a brilliant coup de theatre, Mackintosh appeared on stage as Barks and the cast were taking their bows at the end of Oliver! He announced she had been chosen to star as Eponine in Tom Hooper’s Hollywood version of Les Miserables.“There just wasn’t a doubt in my mind that it was what I was going to do,’’ says Barks, now.