Actors’ fury as mystery London QC pays £10,500 to appear as Broadway extra

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By Thomas Connelly on

“How would he feel if I offered him money to turn up as his clerk in a key trial?”


Mystery still surrounds the identity of a top QC who paid £10,500 to tread the boards as an extra in Manhattan’s iconic theatre district, with an actors’ guild raging about the paid-for pass to the big time purchased by the lawyer.

The elusive barrister’s bid — made during a fund-raising event run by Islington’s Almeida Theatre — is just shy of some criminal sets’ pupillage awards.

Gaining a spot in the background of Mike Bartlett’s King Charles III, the anonymous male barrister made his stage debut earlier this month. Jetting into New York, the QC — who won’t have helped the fat cat lawyer perception — attended the Music Box theatre on Broadway for his big performance.

However the barrister’s presence was not without controversy.

According to The Guardian, a meeting was held between those cast members who are part of the US performers’ union Actors’ Equity.

Voting on whether to sanction the silk turned aspiring thespian’s appearance, the group harboured concerns over whether it was appropriate for wealthy individuals to effectively buy their way on to the stage. Seemingly overcoming their doubts, the cast eventually voted by 11 to six in favour of the cameo.

Speaking to the newspaper’s theatre critic Michael Billington, one actor, who wished to remain anonymous said:

How would the QC who’s appearing in King Charles III react if I offered him money to turn up as his clerk in a key trial? I imagine he would feel professionally insulted.

While it remains to be seen which area of law our mystery barrister practises, Legal Cheek would assume our legal luvvie — with money to burn — would operate in one of the more affluent areas, such as commercial law.

Actors’ Equity told Legal Cheek:

We don’t have any information about the individual who purchased the walk-on as part of Almeida Theatre’s fundraising efforts.

Meanwhile, the Almedia Theatre — presumably keen not to reveal the identity of their generous benefactor — didn’t respond to Legal Cheek’s request for comment.