Rehearsal photos of The Audience starring Helen Mirren at the Gielgud Theatre.

Helen Mirren in rehearsals for The Audience at the Gielgud Theatre. Photo: Johan Persson

Helen Mirren in rehearsals for The Audience at the Gielgud Theatre. Photo: Johan Persson

Some productions are hyped as “greatly anticipated” and some actually deserve the badge. In the last few years it’s hard to think of a new West End play that has created such a buzz as The Audience, the latest work by The Queen and The Deal scriptwriter Peter Morgan.

Morgan returns to the subjects of Her Majesty The Queen and government in this new play set during the Queen’s weekly audiences with her Prime Ministers.

Directed by Stephen Daldry, fresh from managing the success of the opening and closing ceremonies at London’s Olympic games, The Audience sees Helen Mirren put her crown back on as The Queen, following her Oscar winning movie performance as the monarch.

She is joined by a solid line-up of talent to play her prime ministers through the ages, including Michael Elwyn as Anthony Eden, Haydn Gwynne as Margaret Thatcher, Robert Hardy as Winston Churchill, Richard McCabe as Harold Wilson, Nathaniel Parker as Gordon Brown, Paul Ritter as John Major and Rufus Wright as David Cameron. The Equerry is Geoffrey Beevers and the role of Young Elizabeth will be played by Bebe Cave, Maya Gerber and Nell Williams.

The Audience kicks off at the Gielgud Theatre from 15 February 2013.

Photos by Johan Persson.

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