James Corden Delays London Play to Let Audience Watch England Soccer Shoot-Out: ‘A Collective Experience’

Corden's performance started 10 minutes late so that those in attendance could watch an important soccer match

<p>Alan Chapman/Dave Benett/Getty </p> James Corden in 2024

Alan Chapman/Dave Benett/Getty

James Corden in 2024

The show must go on, whether it's James Corden's play or an important soccer match.

On Saturday, July 6 ahead of the evening performance of The Constituent, the actor and his costars, Anna Maxwell Martin and Zachary Hart, decided to delay their play's start to watch a major moment in England's soccer game against Switzerland.

The audience members at the Old Vic Theatre as well as the cast and crew of the political drama were able to watch the penalty shoot-out that took place during the Euros quarter-finals. England wound up defeating Switzerland 5 to 3 on the penalty shots and secured a place in the semi-finals.

Corden, 45, told The Guardian about the shared experience, recalling the night's turn of events. “When it got to extra time, we put on our costumes," he said.

"The extra time finished about three minutes before the play was due to begin. We thought: ‘Oh man, this is tough but we’ve got to start.' "

<p>Alan Chapman/Dave Benett/Getty</p> James Corden (left), Anna Maxwell Martin and Zachary Hart in 2024

Alan Chapman/Dave Benett/Getty

James Corden (left), Anna Maxwell Martin and Zachary Hart in 2024

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Corden and his castmates heard the audience start cheering and realized that everyone had been watching the soccer match, which led to them deciding to have a watch party with the audience. “It wasn’t the time to start a serious play about serious issues," the former talk show host said of the energy in the venue at the time.

"So me and Anna and Zach went out on stage with an iPad and were commentating [on the shoot-out]. It was really wonderful, alive, a glorious collective experience," he continued.

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In a video shared with The Guardian, Corden, Maxwell Martin and Hart cheered onstage when the penalties were complete. The actors appeared relieved when England won the stressful shoot-out and were able to get on with their show.

The Cats actor called it "One of my favorite moments that I’ve ever had really.” The Constituent wound up starting only 10 minutes late, which the crowd seemed to be content with as a compromise to be able to see the soccer team's victory.

<p>Dave Benett/Getty </p> James Corden in 2024

Dave Benett/Getty

James Corden in 2024

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Corden also noted that their Saturday evening performance was their second go at the play that day following a 2:30 p.m. matinee, so getting into character after the shoot-out wasn't a challenge.

"But I wonder if it would have been different if we’d lost,” he reflected.

The star has a noted affinity for soccer and has expressed his fandom for West Ham United on X (formerly Twitter) as well as invested in the Angels City Football Club.

The Constituent runs through Sept. 10.

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