Veteran stage actor Robert Hardy has pulled out of Peter Morgan’s The Audience following an accident in which he fell and cracked his ribs. Hardy’s understudy, David Peart, will play the role of Winston Churchill on a temporary basis until the producers find a permanent replacement. The Audience opens at the West End's Gielgud Theatre on March 5 and will play a limited engagement through June 15.
Starring Oscar winner Helen Mirren, The Audience spans 60 years and tells the story of Queen Elizabeth II (Mirren) and the 12 Prime Ministers who served under her reign. Every week, the Queen sits down with England’s Prime Minister for a private meeting at Buckingham Palace. The Audience is an inside look at these secretive meetings.
Directed by Stephen Daldry, the play also stars Hadyn Gwynne as Margaret Thatcher and Paul Ritter as John Major, Richard McCabe as Harold Wilson, Nathaniel Parker as Gordon Brown, Rufus Wright as David Cameron, Geoffrey Beevers as The Equerry and Bebe Cave as Young Elizabeth. The cast also features Maya Gerber, Nell Williams, Jonathan Coote, Ian Houghton and Charlotte Moore.
As previously reported, The Audience will be broadcast in the U.S.and movie theaters across the world on June 13 through the National Theatre Live.