MGC today announces the full cast for the world première of Marcelo Dos Santos’ new play Backstairs Billy which looks at a pivotal moment in the 50 year relationship between the Queen Mother and her loyal servant William “Billy” Tallon. Joining the previously announced Penelope Wilton as the Queen Mother and Luke Evans as Billy, are Emily Barber, Iwan Davies, Ian Drysdale, Ilan Galkoff, Eloka Ivo, Michael Simkins, Nicole Sloane, with David Buttle, Amy Newton, Keanu Adolphus Johnson, Georgie Rhys and Jacob Ethan Tanner. Michael Grandage’s production opens at the Duke of York’s Theatre on 7 November, with previews from 27 October, and runs until 27 January.

In the company’s continued commitment to providing access for all in the West End, there will be £10 tickets available at every performance across the run. For further information, and to register for the initiative: Since MGC’s creation in 2011 the company has led the way in defining a cheaper seat policy across the West End, prioritising accessibility, and to enable as wide and diverse an audience as possible to experience West End Theatre.

The production reunites Grandage with Wilton – they previously collaborated on productions of The Chalk Garden, John Gabriel Borkman and Hamlet; and with Evans who performed at the Donmar twice under Grandage’s Artistic directorship, in Small Change and Piaf. Also, Marcelo Dos Santos was an MGCfutures Bursary recipient from 2019 – a charity established by Grandage to support theatre makers across all aspects of the industry. Following their introduction via the bursary programme, MGC commissioned Dos Santos to write Backstairs Billy.

Director: Michael Grandage; Set Designer: Christopher Oram;
Costume Designers: Christopher Oram and Tom Rand; Lighting Designer: Ryan Day;
Music and Sound designer: Adam Cork; Wigs, Hair & Makeup Designer: Carole Hancock;
Casting Director: Jacob Sparrow; Associate Director: Sophie Drake; Costume Supervisor: Mary Charlton

Set in 1979, when strikes are bringing the country to its knees and Britain is about to seismically change under Margaret Thatcher, it is business as usual for the Queen Mother and her loyal servant Billy inside Clarence House. Receptions are in full swing and the champagne is flowing as the two worlds start to collide with dizzying consequences.

Marcelo Dos Santos is an award-winning Latinx British-Brazilian-Australian writer. His play Feeling Afraid as If Something Terrible is Going to Happen (Francesca Moody Productions) won a Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2022, and transfers to the Bush Theatre with Samuel Barnett in November. Other work includes Lionboy (Complicité, UK & New York & International tour), Subverts (Royal Court Theatre – as part of Living Newspaper), Trigger Warning (co-creator, Camden People’s Theatre – recipient of the Jerwood Home Run Award Commission), The End of History (High Hearted Theatre & Soho Theatre at St Giles in the Fields Church), New Labour (RADA), Cheer Up is Only the Beginning (co-writer, Liverpool Playhouse), Lovers Walk (co-writer Southwark Playhouse).

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