Theatre News

Full cast for Backstairs Billy with Luke Evans and Penelope Wilton confirmed

Wilton plays the Queen Mother and Evans her loyal butler in the new play

Luke Evans and Penelope Wilton, photos supplied by the production

The Michael Grandage Company has revealed the complete cast for the world premiere of Marcelo Dos Santos’ play Backstairs Billy, exploring a significant moment in the 50-year relationship between the Queen Mother and her loyal servant, William “Billy” Tallon.

Joining previously announced Penelope Wilton as the Queen Mother and Luke Evans as Billy are Emily Barber (Annabel Maud/Lady Astlebury) who reunites with Evans after The Alienist, Iwan Davies (Gwydion), Ian Drysdale (Kerr), Ilan Galkoff (Young Billy), Eloka Ivo (Ian), Michael Simkins (Mr Harrington-Bahr/Hugo McCoyd), Nicole Sloane (Mrs Harrington-Bahr/Lady Adeline), with David Buttle, Amy Newton, Keanu Adolphus Johnson, Georgie Rhys, and Jacob Ethan Tanner.

Michael Grandage’s production is set to open at the Duke of York’s Theatre on November 7, with previews starting on October 27 and running until January 27. In line with the company’s ongoing commitment to accessibility in the West End, £10 tickets will be available for every performance throughout the run.

The production marks a reunion between Grandage and Wilton, who previously collaborated on productions including The Chalk Garden, John Gabriel Borkman, and Hamlet. Additionally Evans performed twice at the Donmar during Grandage’s artistic directorship, in Small Change and Piaf. Dos Santos was a recipient of the MGCfutures Bursary in 2019, a charity established by Grandage to support various aspects of the theater industry. Following their introduction through the bursary program, MGC commissioned Dos Santos to write Backstairs Billy.

The creative team also includes set designer Christopher Oram, costume designers 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.

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Backstairs Billy

Performances begin: 27 October 2023