The production is set to begin performances at the Duke of York’s theatre from the 27th October.

It has been announced that Michael Grandage will direct Luke Evans and Penelope Wilton in Marcelo Dos Santos’ new play Backstairs Billy at the Duke of York’s Theatre until the 27th January 2024.

The production reunites Michael Grandage with Penelope Wilton and Luke Evans, having 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. Wilton will play the Queen Mother, with Luke Evans as Billy, with further casting yet to be announced.

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.

Michael Grandage said: “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 creative team behind this world premiere production includes: 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 and Costume Supervisor: Mary Charlton.

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. 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.

Penelope Wilton’s theatre credits include: Taken at Midnight – Olivier Award for Best Actress (Chichester Festival Theatre and Theatre Royal Haymarket), A Delicate Balance, Heartbreak House (Almeida Theatre) and Hamlet (Donmar West End).

The news of the production marks the return of Luke Evans to the stage for the first time in 15 years. For television, his work includes Echo 3, Nine Perfect Strangers, Pembrokeshire Murders, The Angel of Darkness, The Grand Tour, The Alienist, and The Great Train Robbery; and for film, Good Grief, Our Son, Pinocchio, Crisis, Murder Mystery, Angel of Mine, Midway, Anna, MA, State Like Sleep, 10 X 10, The Fate of the Furious, Beauty and the Beast and Professor Marston and The Wonder Woman.

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