Claire Foy and Matt Smith will star in a socially-distanced play on stage in an empty Old Vic theatre.

The Crown stars will reprise their roles as a couple wrestling with the dilemmas of the planet in Duncan MacMillan’s play Lungs.

The pair made their Old Vic debuts in the play to sell-out crowds last year and will now return to the theatre to revive the production in front of a virtual audience watching live at home.

It will be part of Old Vic: In Camera, which will also include a series of rehearsed play-readings streamed live from the stage with the empty auditorium as a backdrop.

The project is an attempt to revive the theatre’s box office revenue, which was wiped out by the coronavirus crisis.

The theatre, which is a registered charity, does not receive a regular public subsidy and artistic director Matthew Warchus has said it is in a perilous position as a result of the pandemic.

Each performance in the series will be available for up to 1,000 people to replicate the theatre’s usual audience capacity size and tickets will be priced as they are in the auditorium from £10 to £65, but all seats at home will offer the same view of the show.

Lungs will be performed over several days in June, with dates to buy tickets announced soon, as well as other performances in the series.