Skip to Content

The Starman by William Johnston

'The Starman, The Superhero and The Wizards' by William Johnston

'The Starman, The Superhero and The Wizards' is a script written by transplant patient William Johnston based on his own experience of dialysis, transplant and organ donation. William has developed his script over the past year under the mentorship of award-winning playwright and producer Shannon Yee, which has culminated in this 'work-in-progress' readthrough of the play.

We initially planned for the readthrough to take place in a theatre, in front of an invited audience, but due to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, we pivoted our approach to develop an innovative online performance. The project aims to raise awareness and educate audiences of the realities of living with chronic disease and the importance of organ donation, and to encourage patients with chronic illness, including kidney disease, to explore the arts as a beneficial component of their rehabilitation by engaging with the performance and providing feedback on their experience.

The play begins with Will (The Starman), waiting to discover if he is to receive a kidney. He is in a room on the 11th floor of the Belfast City Hospital accompanied by his wife Joy and his 8 year old daughter Grace, and is being admitted by Nurse Jayne. The following acts of the play include a testimony from Avril, the mother of Lindsey, a 17 year old organ donor (The Superhero) and an interview with James, a transplant surgeon (The Wizard), exploring how organ donation truly is the Gift of Life.

The play examines the physical and psychological challenges confronted by patients on dialysis waiting for a transplant, and the impact these challenges have on overall quality of life and family relationships and dynamics.

The play has been made available to watch in it's entirety during Organ Donation Week 20 - 26th September 2021.


Mary Lindsay as Nurse Jayne

Sarah Lyle as Grace

Stephen Beggs as James Gibson

Shaun Blaney as Will

Elaine Duncan as Joy

Cathy Brennan-Bradley as Avril

Directed by Richard Lavery, Artistic Director, Accidental Theatre

Funded by Arts Council of Northern Ireland