Michael Balogun replaces Giles Terera in new National Theatre show

Chris Wiegand
·2 min read

Giles Terera has withdrawn from the upcoming National Theatre production Death of England: Delroy after undergoing emergency surgery. The monologue, which reopens the National’s Olivier theatre later this month, will now be performed by Michael Balogun who has been understudying the role.

In a statement, the National said that Terera, best known for his Olivier-winning performance as Aaron Burr in Hamilton, is recovering well and that his illness was not Covid-19 related. He requires a six-week recuperation period so will not appear in the production, a sequel to Clint Dyer and Roy Williams’ Death of England, which finished its run shortly before the Covid-19 pandemic shut theatres around the UK in March.

Balogun’s character, Delroy, is the best friend of Michael, played by Rafe Spall in the original play. Williams told the Guardian earlier this year that the sequel finds Delroy asking himself: “How British am I as a black man?”

The Olivier theatre has been significantly remodelled as an in-the-round space to fit a socially distanced audience of almost 500. Williams and Dyer, who also directs, will become the first black British dramatists to have a full-scale production of their play in the Olivier.

Balogun graduated from Rada in 2017 and his previous prominent roles include Macduff, opposite John Simm’s Macbeth, at Chichester Festival theatre in 2019. He has also starred in the UK tours of Barber Shop Chronicles and People, Places and Things.

In a tweet, Terera said he was “beyond sad not to get the chance to play Delroy” and that he was sending power and love to Balogun.

Death of England started out as a short drama commissioned by the Guardian and the Royal Court theatre for a series of filmed “microplays” in 2014.