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The Audience - Gwynne, Hardy and Ritter join cast

Haydn Gwynne

Casting Update

HAYDN Gwynne (as Margaret Thatcher), Robert Hardy (Winston Churchill) and Paul Ritter (John Major) will join Helen Mirren (The Queen) in the world premiere of Peter Morgan’s The Audience, which runs at the Gielgud Theatre from March 5 (previews from February 15) to June 15, 2013.

For sixty years, Elizabeth II has met each of her twelve Prime Ministers in a weekly audience at Buckingham Palace – a meeting like no other in British public life – it is private. Both parties have an unspoken agreement never to repeat what is said. Not even to their spouses.

The Audience breaks this contract of silence and imagines a series of pivotal meetings between the Downing Street incumbents and their Queen. From Churchill to Cameron, each Prime Minister has used these private conversations as a sounding board and a confessional – sometimes intimate, sometimes explosive.

Haydn Gwynne reunites with director Stephen Daldry, having played Mrs Wilkinson in the world premiere of Billy Elliot The Musical, a role she later recreated on Broadway where she won the Outer Critics’ Circle Award and Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Actress in a Musical.

Her other recent theatre roles include Queen Elizabeth I in Richard III (Sam Mendes’ The Bridge Project), Susan in Becky Shaw (Almeida Theatre) and Mrs Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor (Greg Doran’s Royal Shakespeare Company production). She can currently be seen on tour playing Stephanie Abrahams opposite William Gaunt in Duet for One.

Gwynne’s screen credits include Midsomer Murders, The Great Game, New Tricks, Dalziel and Pascoe, Consenting Adults and Drop the Dead Donkey (TV); Hunky Dory, These Foolish Things, Remember Me and The Pleasure Principle (film).

Paul Ritter, recently seen at the National Theatre in Marianne Elliot’s sell-out production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, has also appeared at the National in The Hothouse, The Reporter, The Coast of Utopia, Howard Katz and Coram Boy. His other theatre credits include Troilus and Cressida and The White Devil (RSC), The Norman Conquests and The Birthday Party (West End) and Accidental Death of An Anarchist (Donmar Warehouse).

On television, Ritter can currently be seen in Channel 4’s Friday Night Dinner. His other screen credits include The Function Room, Vera, Great Expectations, Land Girls, The Night Watch and Lark Rise to Candleford (TV); Complicit, The Eagle, Nowhere Boy, Quantum of Solace, On a Clear Day, The Libertine and The Nine Lives of Tomas Katz (film).

Theatre, film and television actor Robert Hardy has previously played Churchill seven times including Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years and most recently in Celui qui a dit Non in Paris in French. His extensive theatre career includes four seasons in Stratford for the Royal Shakespeare Company and two seasons at the Old Vic.

In the UK and US his theatre credits include Hamlet, Henry V, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and King Lear, while in the West End he has appeared in Rosmersholm, The Rehearsal, A Severed Head, The Constant Couple, Habeas Corpus and Dear Liar amongst others.

Hardy’s film credits include The Shooting Party, The Far Pavilions, Paris by Night, War and Remembrance, Sense and Sensibility, Mrs Dalloway, The Titchborne Claimant ,The Spy Who Came in From the Cold and four Harry Potter films (as Cornelius Fudge). He also played Siegfried Farnon in the television adaptation of James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small and was made a CBE in the 1981 Queen’s Birthday honours.

Further casting for The Audience will be announced shortly.

Read more about The Audience.