Tom Holland greets cheering crowds from theatre balcony after first Romeo & Juliet performance SuperNayr

Tom Holland waved to crowds gathered outside the Duke of York’s Theatre in London on Monday (13 May) following the first preview of Jamie Lloyd’s Romeo & Juliet production.

Holland stars as the romantic lead in Shakespeare’s classic romance opposite Francesca Amewudah-Rivers as Juliet.

Shortly after the performance concluded, Holland and his co-stars were filmed walking out onto the theatre’s balcony where large crowds were gathered outside to see the Spider-Man actor.

Amewudah-Rivers was seen whispering in Holland’s ear, after which he yelled out to the crowd: “Thank you so much! We love you all!”

Previews of the show were scheduled to open on Saturday; however, they were delayed “due to the technical aspects of the production needing further preparation”, a press representative stated.

Holland has been urged to speak out in support of his co-star following the torrent of racist abuse she received after her casting was announced in February.

Amewudah-Rivers is best known for playing Blessing in the Jack Whitehall comedy TV series Bad Education. She also played Gifty in Jocelyn Bioh’s play School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play at the Lyric Hammersmith theatre last year.

Last month, more than 800 Black female and non-binary actors, including Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atim and Marianne Jean-Baptiste, signed an open letter in solidarity with Amewudah-Rivers.

“The racist and misogynistic abuse directed at such a sweet soul has been too much to bear,” it read.

“For a casting announcement of a play to ignite such twisted ugly abuse is truly embarrassing for those so empty and barren in their own lives that they must meddle in hateful abuse.”

Tom Holland and Francesca Amewudah-Rivers in ‘Romeo & Juliet’ promo (Jamie Lloyd Company )

The letter followed a statement issued by the Jamie Lloyd theatre company condemning the “barrage of deplorable racial abuse”.

Director Lloyd called Amewudah-Rivers “an exceptional young artist”.

Before his Marvel role, Holland got his break on stage playing the title role in Billy Elliot: The Musical at Victoria Palace Theatre.

The 27-year-old actor went on to appear as Peter Parker in several Marvel Cinematic Universe films, including his own trilogy: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) and Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021).

While the MCU’s fourth Spider-Man film has been confirmed, Holland has expressed concerns over the project’s plotline.

“Until we’ve cracked it, we have a legacy to protect,” he said. “The third movie was so special in so many ways that we need to make sure we do the right thing.”

Romeo & Juliet opens at the Duke of York’s Theatre on 23 May and runs until 3 August.

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