Everything you need to know about the 'Death of England' plays

Learn all about a major theatrical event: the first time ever that all three Death of England plays have been programmed together in the West End.

Marianka Swain
Marianka Swain

For the first time ever, audiences can see all three of Clint Dyer and Roy Williams’s acclaimed Death of England stage plays in one season in the West End. Death of England: Michael, Delroy, and Closing Time are playing in rep at London’s @sohoplace, and with a fantastic new cast.

Paapa Essiedu, Thomas Coombes, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, and Erin Doherty star in these blazingly brilliant state-of-the-nation dramas. The trio are interconnected, with overlapping characters, places, events, and themes, so it’s most rewarding to see them all, but you can also catch them individually and have a richly absorbing experience.

Check out our guide to the Death of England plays ahead of planning your trip.

Book Death of England: Michael tickets on London Theatre.

Book Tickets CTA - LT/NYTG

Book Death of England: Delroy tickets on London Theatre.

Book Tickets CTA - LT/NYTG

Book Death of England: Closing Time tickets on London Theatre.

Book Tickets CTA - LT/NYTG

What is Death of England about?

Overall, this series of plays is about modern life: from family, race, class, and national identity through to Brexit, Black Lives Matter, the pandemic, and more. But Dyer and Williams cleverly tackle those huge subjects through the prism of a few individual people’s experience, drawing us into their riveting stories.

Death of England: Michael is a monologue shared by the titular white, working-class character. His dad has just died suddenly, but it soon transpires that theirs was a complex relationship: his father, an East End flower-stall holder and football fanatic, was a racist Leave-supporter, while Michael secretly voted Remain and his best mate, Delroy, is Black. But that inheritance might not be so easy to escape.

We pick up the narrative in a second monologue, Death of England: Delroy. Now we hear from Michael’s mate, who is just as complex: a Brexit-supporter, and a once-successful bailiff who has spiralled into unemployment and drinking. He’s in a relationship with Michael’s sister Carly, but when she goes into labour, police racial profiling means he might not make the birth.

Finally, it’s over to the women in Death of England: Closing Time. This two-hander features Carly and Delroy’s Jamaican mum, Denise, whose joint business (a florists and a West Indian takeaway) has sadly tanked. They are both, we come to learn, partly to blame, but there are other factors at work too, from the pandemic to the cost of living crisis. Can they find a way to reconcile?

Michael premiered at the National Theatre in February 2020, followed by Delroy in November 2020, and Closing Time in October 2023, also at the National.

All three pieces are fiercely funny, stingingly topical, and empathetic to the flawed people at their heart, who are trying to do their best in difficult circumstances – although they sometimes get in their own way.

Death of England Michael - LT - 1200

Can I see one show or do I need to see all three?

You can absolutely see just one of these shows. They were previously programmed as individual plays at the National, and worked brilliantly like that. It might help to read up on some of the backstory if you see either Delroy or Closing Time, just so you learn a bit more about the characters mentioned, but it’s not essential.

However, if you can, it’s well worth trying to catch all three. This is the first time that audiences have had that opportunity – they’ve never been programmed in a rep season before, so this is a real West End theatre event.

You’ll find so many connecting threads between them, from references to the various characters through to similar themes, ideas, jokes, and language. At the National, there were also clever similarities in the staging and design.

Since the plays were written during such an extraordinary period of British history, together this series helps us make sense of the past few years and how these major events have affected our lives. Through one family, we get a sense of what’s happened to a whole nation. As we’re now in an election year, it feels vital to look back as we prepare to go forward.

How does the rep programming work?

Basically, it means that @sohoplace is putting on all three Death of England plays this summer and autumn, but the theatre is staggering their start times.

So, you can see Death of England: Michael from 15 July, Death of England: Delroy from 23 July, and Death of England: Closing Time from 22 August. They’re all running until 28 September.

That gives you plenty of time to catch the whole series, beginning with the earliest play (Michael) and finishing with the latest (Closing Time). You definitely want to see them in the right order if you can, otherwise the chronology of the overall story will be muddled.

Death of England Delroy

How long are the Death of England plays?

Death of England: Michael and Death of England: Delroy are both 1hr 30, with no interval. Death of England: Closing Time is 1hr 50, with no interval.

Who stars in the Death of England plays in the West End?

In the premiere productions, the plays featured Rafe Spall (Michael), Michael Balogun (Delroy), and Sharon Duncan-Brewster and Hayley Squires (Closing Time) – with the magnificent Duncan-Brewster stepping in last minute after Jo Martin withdrew due to illness.

In the 2024 run, Thomas Coombes stars in Death of England: Michael. His recent work includes the much-talked-about Netflix series Baby Reindeer, Luther: The Fallen Sun, and plays such as Blue/Orange at Birmingham Rep.

Paapa Essiedu stars in Death of England: Delroy. His many TV credits include I May Destroy You (Emmy nomination), Gangs of London, and The Lazarus Project, while on stage he won plaudits for his Hamlet for the RSC, A Number at the Old Vic, and The Effect at the National Theatre and The Shed in New York.

Erin Doherty joins a returning Duncan-Brewster for Death of England: Closing Time. Doherty impressed as Princess Anne in The Crown and in psychological thriller Chloe, and, on stage, in The Crucible at the National Theatre. Duncan-Brewster’s wide-ranging credits include the Dune and Star Wars franchises, as well as Top Boy and Sex Education.

Death of England Closing Time - LT - 1200

Who is in the Death of England creative team?

The plays are a joint effort between Clint Dyer and Roy Williams. Dyer (who also directs) is the Deputy Artistic Director of the National Theatre – his recent productions include Othello and the Bob Marley musical Get Up, Stand Up!.

Previous work by the Olivier-nominated and Bafta-winning playwright Williams includes Sucker Punch and Sing Yer Heart Out For The Lads.

The set and costumes are co-designed by Sadeysa Greenaway-Bailey (Tambo and Bones, The Odyssey) and ULTZ (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Olivier winner and Tony nomination for Jerusalem).

How do I book tickets for Death of England?

The three Death of England plays are on sale now!

Either use this guide to decide which you’re most excited to see, or do the triple and take advantage of this unique theatrical event: see them all.

Book Death of England: Michael tickets on London Theatre.

Book Tickets CTA - LT/NYTG

Book Death of England: Delroy tickets on London Theatre.

Book Tickets CTA - LT/NYTG

Book Death of England: Closing Time tickets on London Theatre.

Book Tickets CTA - LT/NYTG

Photo credit: the stars of Death of England @sohoplace. (Photos courtesy of production)

Originally published on

22 August 2024 - 28 September 2024

Grieving the loss of the family shop with their dreams destroyed, Denise and daughter-in-law Carly and left to pick up the pieces of their relatives’ mistakes.

Book tickets
15 July 2024 - 28 September 2024

A family in mourning. A man in crisis.

Book tickets
23 July 2024 - 28 September 2024

Unapologetically upwardly mobile and working as a bailiff, Delroy’s life spirals out of control on one surreal day as he races to get to the hospital where his girlfriend Carly is about to give birth.

Book tickets

Subscribe to our newsletter to unlock exclusive London theatre updates!

  • Get early access to tickets for the newest shows
  • Access to exclusive deals and promotions
  • Stay in the know about news in the West End
  • Get updates on shows that are important to you

You can unsubscribe at any time. Privacy Policy