Tom Swarbrick 10pm - 1am
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attend West End musical for Royal Foundation
25 February 2020, 20:14
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have attended a special performance of West End musical Dear Evan Hansen in aid of their Royal Foundation.
The couple visited the Noel Coward Theatre on Tuesday evening to watch the show, which tackles mental illness in teenagers, and raise money for their charity.
Speaking to the cast after the show, Prince William said he had taken on a rollercoaster of emotion watching the Tony award-winning musical about the agonies of youth.
William told the cast and crew that the show was "amazing" when he and Kate went backstage after the performance.
The show's title character struggles to fit in and make friends at school and the musical tackles some dark topics such as teenage suicide and relationships.
He told the cast: "To do a production about mental health, it was like 'how is this going to work?'
"It could go either way. It could be too serious or it is too thin. You nailed it.
"You had the humour and the normalisation of it. You had the sincerity and the authenticity.
"There were so many emotions and feelings and you had the spectrum of it.
"You had the whole rollercoaster of how you feel."
William and Kate asked the British actors how they managed to keep up their American "twang" throughout the performance, and also about how the musical had increased their personal interest in mental health issues.
The Duchess of Cambridge wore an Eponine tweed dress with a pair of silver Jimmy Choos, which she also sported at the BAFTAs.
They have long championed mental health charities, with the Duke leading Heads Up, a campaign using football to promote mental wellbeing.
It continued the work of their Heads Together project, which brought eight mental health charities together to fundraise and “tackle mental health issues head on.”
The show's title character struggles to fit in and make friends at school in a musical which tackles the agonies of youth along with dark topics such as teen suicide, depression and relationships.
Before taking their seats, the couple had a quick chat with some of the talent behind the show, including composers Justin Paul, Benj Pastel and author Steven Legend along with show producer Stacey Mindich.
In a personal message, William said mental health is an issue that he and Kate "care passionately" about.
In the message, which was printed on the back of the programme for the show, the duke also said he and Kate were "pleased that Dear Evan Hansen is helping to start important conversations between parents and teenagers about this important subject".
He also spoke of his pride that Shout, a mental health support service launched by the Royal Foundation, is one of four not-for-profit partners of the show.
In his message, William said the aim is to try to help "tackle the stigma and change the conversation around mental health" through the Heads Up and Heads Together initiatives.