News: Original Theatre Company presents new online commission – Apollo 13 by Torben Betts

Original Theatre Company, the production company behind the critically acclaimed lockdown productions of Sebastian Faulks’s Birdsong Online and Louise Coulthard’s Watching Rosie, are delighted to present a new commission by Torben Betts, Apollo 13: The Dark Side of The Moon.  The production will be available to watch via from 7.30pm on Thursday 8 October until Thursday 31 December 2020. 

Marking 50 years since the launch of the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission and based, in part, on actual transcripts, this new online play is a captivating re-telling of one of the greatest space stories of all time.  Stranded 205,000 miles from earth in a crippled spacecraft, astronauts Jim Lovell, Fred Haise and Jack Swigert fight a desperate battle to survive.  77 hours into their mission they lose all communications with earth as they pass around the dark side of the moon. Apollo 13: The Dark Side of The Moon explores the outer limits of faith, hope and the power of the human spirit.

The play interweaves the dramatic events of 1970 with a present-day account by the two surviving astronauts, Lovell and Haise.

Torben Betts said, “I was delighted when Alastair asked me to write a new play about the ill-fated voyage of Apollo 13 which took place fifty years ago. I have long been a bit of a space nerd and like many last summer I was transfixed by all the various TV specials about the 1969 moon landings. Letting my imagination spend so much time floating around in space to write this has been a welcome relief from the situation on the ground at the moment and has also helped me put things in a little bit of perspective. “

Co-director Charlotte Peters said, “Having explored a new genre with our recent production of Birdsong, it’s really exciting to be pushing the online-film boundaries further with this original adaptation of Apollo 13, both in terms of new filming techniques and inventive movement. I can’t think of a better project to bring to this medium, as it interweaves an out-of-this-world true story with familiar themes of isolation, helplessness and an irrational sense of hope.”

Apollo 13: The Dark Side of The Moon stars Christopher Harper (Holby City, Coronation Street) as Jim Lovell, Michael Salami (Hollyoaks, Just a Couple) as Fred Haise, Tom Chambers (Father Brown, Casualty) as Jack Swigert, Philip Franks (Heartbeat, Darling Buds of May) as Present Day Lovell, Willie Jonah (The Two Popes, The Iron Lady) as Present Day Haise, Jenna Augen (Episodes, The Night Watch) as Capcom and Poppy Roe (A Serial Killer’s Guide to Life, Royal Matchmaker) as Patricia Cooper.

Apollo 13: The Dark Side of The Moon will be directed by Alastair Whatley and Charlotte Peters, designed by David Woodhead, edited by Tristan Shepherd, with sound design by Dominc Bilkey, original music composed by Sophie Cotton, movement direction by Simon Pittman and casting by Ellie Collyer-Brisow CDG.

The online production of Apollo 13: The Dark Side of The Moon is produced by Original Theatre Company and runs Thursday 8 October – Thursday 31 December 2020. To book tickets visit

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