What is Towel Day?
A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have– Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Towel Day is a worldwide celebration of writer Douglas Adams held each year on 25th May. When Adams died in 2001, fans across the world celebrated his life by carrying a towel with them for the day after one of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’s central tenets, “always know where your towel is.” Since then Towel Day has been an annual celebration and has even been celebrated as far as the International Space Station by astronaut Tim Peake.
To find out more about Towel Day and celebration events visit towelday.org
And Stand Up for Towel Day?
After failing to find a Hitchhiker’s themed gig or even somewhere to purchase a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster in London, producer and comedian Rachel Wheeley decided to take matters into her own hands. In 2017, she gathered a group of fellow comedians, Douglas Adams fans, and people associated with Adams’s work in the basement of a bookshop on Tottenham Court Road and Stand Up for Towel Day was born.
Since then we have come together each year to continue to celebrate the legacy of Douglas Adams with a variety of comedy acts and talks to raise money for Save the Rhino.
Rachel is a comedian and MC. She has written for Newsjack, The News Quiz, and Listen Against. She has appeared on the BBC’s Podcast Radio Hour as well as Reasons to be Cheerful, Worst Foot Forward, and Thank Book For podcasts. Her own science podcast, Level Up Human, was commissioned by the Wellcome Trust in 2016 and is now in its second series.
In 2018 she was shortlisted for the BBC New Comedy Award.
Rachel founded Stand Up for Towel Day in 2017 and has hosted it every year since. In 2021 she also hosted the first digital Douglas Adams Memorial Lecture.
Nell first attended Stand Up for Towel Day in 2017 as a fan, returning in 2018 as a bowl of petunias. She now helps Rachel by sending annoying technical questions to the acts and making sure everyone is on time.
She is a theatre maker and producer who has been commissioned to create work for the likes of the Royal Air Force Museum and National Trust. She has also produced several short films including the award winning Where You Are and Socially Distanced Dirk as part of 2021’s Douglas Adams Memorial Lecture.
She is the founder and Artistic Director of Shedlight Stories, a company committed to telling real life stories from history that often get overlooked, particularly those of women, people of colour, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
We are very fortunate to have had a whole host of amazing acts and guests at Stand Up for Towel Day.
This includes those involved in the making various versions of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy such as Geoffrey McGiven, David Learner, Dirk Maggs, Mitch Benn, and Kevin Jon Davies, and Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency producer Arvind Ethan David.
We have also been joined by those who knew and worked Douglas such as John Lloyd, Martin Smith, and Will Adams, as well as members of Douglas’s family.
You can see the full line ups of each of our gigs here.
You can also learn more about our regular performers here.
The Stand Up for Towel Day, Stay In for Towel Day, and Douglas Adams Memorial Lecture artwork and logos are designed by the incredible Trystan Mitchell of The Big Foot Studio.
Videos & Photography
We have had several photographers across the years including Steve Cross, Michael Conterio, Tim Drury, and Ian Bowkett. Photo credits are labelled throughout this website.
“Improbability Archivist”, documentary director, and former SFX animator, and editor of 42: The Wildly Improbable ideas of Douglas Adams, Kevin Jon Davies is responsible for all the archive and production footage for Stand Up for Towel Day.
For Save the Rhino
We are grateful for the support we have received from Save the Rhino, in particular Adam Shaffer and David Hill.
You can find out more about our connection to Save the Rhino here.