The Understudy - new online radio play

London theatre news: Thursday 14 May 2020

Online - Radio play

A new online radio play - The Understudy - will be raising funds for the theatre industry with broadcasts on 20 and 27 May 2020.
The Understudy - online radio play produced by the Lawrence Batley Theatre

Graphic Design by Chris Clegg

A new radio play - The Understudy - is set to air in two acts on Wednesday 20th May and Wednesday 27th May.

The aim of the online play is to raise funds for the theatre industry which, as you will already appreciate, is facing a devastating impact from the Covid-19 health crisis.

The Understudy will be brought to the airwaves by LBTV, a digital programme of events from the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield, West Yorskhire.

The venue will split proceeds of the project with charities including:

the Theatre Development Trust (SOLT and UK Theatre)

Acting for Others and

Equity Charitable Trust.

Coming together at a time that matters most, the radio play features a stellar line-up of actors including ...

Stephen Fry

Russell Tovey

Emily Atack

Sheila Atim

Layton Williams

Sarah Hadland

Mina Anwar

Jake Ferretti

Sasha Frost

Marie Lawrence

James McNicholas

Lizzie Muncey

with further casting to be announced.

The cast and creative team involved in The Understudy will take part completely in isolation and actors will record their lines at home, with an exceptional sound design team bringing everything together.

The public will be able to tune in to listen to The Understudy by buying a ticket, and proceeds will go to help individuals and organisations struggling because of Coronavirus.

The cost of tickets is £5, with a single ticket allowing you to listen to both acts of the play.

Based on the novel by the best-selling author David Nicholls, The Understudy tells the story of an underdog - a failed husband, a failing father, a failing actor, and the impossible choice he's going to have to make between stealing the show and stealing another man's wife.

Directed by Giles Croft, this is a stage adaptation written by Henry Filloux-Bennett that was originally commissioned by The Lowry.

The sound, music and effects will be brought to life by Alexandra Faye Braithwaite, Annie May Fletcher and Sophie Galpin.

Stephen Fry commented ...

"I am just so delighted to be working on Henry Filloux-Bennett's superb adaptation of David Nicholls's The Understudy.

I do hope lots of you will listen in and combine a good time with support for our wonderful theatre industry."*


David Nicholls said ...

"I've always had a soft spot for The Understudy and was hugely excited to see it come to life on a new online stage, and with such a great team.

So much is changing, at such speed and I'm full of admiration for the way it's now being reimagined.

I can't wait."

A spokesperson for SOLT and UK Theatre added ...

"We welcome this initiative and are delighted that money raised will be donated to support theatres across the country - particularly outside London where the industry needs it most.

It has never been more vital that our industry pulls together, and it is fantastic to see artists and performers using creativity and ingenuity to help support the theatre workforce through this difficult time."


Actor Stephen McQueen has just landed a dream West End role.

Well, that's not quite true - he's going to be understudying film star (and 12th Sexiest Man in the World) Josh Harper in the brand-new show 'Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know', but still …

Whilst he's waiting for his time to shine, he reflects on his career - one that has spanned everything from (non-speaking) Rent Boy 3 in 'The Bill' to his recent starring role as Sammy in the (low-budget) regional tour of 'Sammy The Squirrel's Seriously Silly Safari'.

With this new job Stephen's stage career may be destined for the dizzying heights, but not everything is going quite as well.

Stephen's wife left him two years ago, wondering if he'd ever grow up; his daughter wonders when he'll get an actual job; worst of all, he's starting to fall for the leading man's wife.


Act 1: Wednesday 20th May 2020

Act 2: Wednesday 27th May 2020

Running time: 2 hours

Cost: £5 - only 1 ticket is required to watch both acts


Stephen Fry

Russell Tovey

Emily Atack

Sheila Atim

Layton Williams

Sarah Hadland

Mina Anwar

Jake Ferretti

Sasha Frost

Marie Lawrence

James McNicholas

Lizzie Muncey

Note: further casting to be announced.


Writer - Henry Filloux-Bennett

Director - Giles Croft

Sound and Music - Alexandra Faye Braithwaite with Annie May Fletcher and Sophie Galpin

Produced by Lawrence Batley Theatre with support from Anthology Theatre


Lawrence Batley Theatre

The Understudy - website

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