MGC today announces 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. Michael Grandage directs Penelope Wilton as the Queen Mother and Luke Evans as Billy, with further casting to be announced shortly. The production opens at the Duke of York’s Theatre on 7 November, with previews from 27 October, and runs until 27 January. Public booking for the production opens today.
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: www.michaelgrandagecompany.com. 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 audience as possible to experience West End Theatre.
Michael Grandage said today “It is always a great moment to celebrate the birth of a new comedy in the West End and particularly from an important new voice such as Marcelo Dos Santos. I am thrilled to be working again with Penelope Wilton and Luke Evans alongside a cast of twelve other actors as we bring an exciting new play to the stage this autumn and over the Christmas period ahead.”
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.
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.