Stage Swap

The Big Issue Foundation, in partnership with WhatsOnStage Awards, has developed Stage Swap, where West End performers swap the stage for the street and sell The Big Issue for 2 hours. West End Performers such as Alison Steadman and Haydn Gwynne, below, have joined us and grown their understanding of, as well as shown their support for, hard working Big Issue vendors. You can read more on our Reflections from Stage Swap page.

On Friday 24th October we held our largest Stage Swap to date thanks to the wonderful West End Equity deputies.  23 performers from 10 different productions took their chance to join a seller outside their production’s theatre. As David Oakes (pictured) tweeted “Despite standing by my photo (outside Shakespeare in Love) the red Big Issue jacket coupled with social preconceptions rendered me INVISIBLE”.

We have been thrilled and moved at the genuine interest that those who have taken part in Stage Swap have shown for our vendors and our work.  As we move into the second year of partnership we are launching an appeal to raise funds, as well as continuing to raise awareness, for our work in two ways.

  1. We are launching an appeal for items or experiences with a theatreland theme that could be offered in an online auction or raffle. Read more about this here.
  2. We are asking for donations towards our work to help provide support to our London based vendors over the first three months of 2015. January to March is typically the toughest time on the streets as the good will of Christmas has passed and the weather can be at its worst.

The Big Issue Foundation offers vendors support to get back into mainstream housing, healthcare, banking and society.  Please make a donation below to show your support for their journeys, and select Stage Swap as your reason for donating. Thank you.

One-off donation

This is what our guest vendors had to say about the day:

Alison Steadman:

A great experience, I learned a lot. I’d be happy to talk to encourage other people to take part.  It made me really think about people who are homeless.

Watch Alison explain why she thinks others should take part.

Haydn Gwynne:

Even in such a brief time I got a sense of the highs and the lows of trying to sell The Big Issue (a really good magazine by the way!).

Listen to Haydn explain Stage Swap and encourage her fellow performers to get involved.

Sign up now!

If you are a West End Performer who wants to become one of the charitable actors or performers taking part in an upcoming Stage Swap please email

If you would like to register for updates on our exclusive photos, videos and articles on future Stage Swap please complete the form below:

Stage Swap

Photos by Andy Commons -

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