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The Audience - Stephen Daldry directs Helen Mirren

Dame Helen Mirren in The Queen

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

STEPHEN Daldry will direct Helen Mirren 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.

In turn, the Queen can’t help but reveal her own self as she advises, consoles and, on occasion, teases.

From young mother to grandmother, these private audiences chart the arc of the second Elizabethan Age. Politicians come and go through the revolving door of electoral politics, while she remains constant, waiting to welcome her next Prime Minister.

Helen Mirren has won international recognition for her work on stage, screen and television. For her portrayal of Elizabeth II in The Queen, by Peter Morgan and directed by Stephen Frears, she received an Academy Award®, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild Award and a BAFTA. On television, she played the title role in Elizabeth I, winning Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG Awards.

Mirren began her career playing Cleopatra for the National Youth Theatre. She subsequently joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, starring in such productions as Troilus and Cressida and Macbeth and, in 1972, she joined Peter Brook’s theatre company and toured the world. Her other theatre credits include A Month in the Country, Dance of Death, Mourning Becomes Electra and Phèdre.

Mirren’s breakthrough film role came in 1980 in John Mackenzie’s The Long Good Friday. She went on to star in The Madness of King George, for which she received an Oscar nomination and the Best Actress honours at the Cannes Film Festival, Gosford Park, for which she received her second Oscar nomination as well as two SAG Awards for Best Supporting Actress and Ensemble Cast, Calendar Girls and The Last Station, for which she received Oscar, Golden Globe and SAG nominations for Best Actress.

Mirren has recently finished production on Sacha Gervasi’s latest film, based on Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho by Stephen Rebello, in which she stars as Hitchcock’s wife alongside Anthony Hopkins. She will also star alongside Al Pacino in Phil Spector for HBO.

As well as winning an Emmy and three BAFTAs for playing Jane Tennison in the multi award-winning series Prime Suspect, her other television credits include Losing Chase, for which she won a Golden Globe Award, The Passion of Ayn Rand, for which she won an Emmy Award, Door to Door and The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone.

In 2003, Helen Mirren became a Dame of the British Empire.

Peter Morgan is an international award-winning writer for stage, screen and film. As well as receiving Oscar and BAFTA nominations for his screenplay for Stephen Frears’ The Queen, Morgan has won a host of international awards including Golden Globe, British Independent Film and Evening Standard British Film Awards.

His last play, the award-winning Frost/Nixon, received critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. The subsequent film adaptation garnered five Oscar nominations, including Best Screenplay. His many other film credits include the award-winning The Last King of Scotland, The Damned United, the upcoming Rush, directed by Ron Howard, as well as his current project about the life of Hugh Hefner for Warner Bros entitled Playboy.

Morgan’s extensive television credits include the critically acclaimed The Deal, the first part of his Tony Blair Trilogy (BAFTA Award for Best Drama), The Special Relationship and Longford.

Stephen Daldry started his career at the Sheffield Crucible Theatre and directed extensively in Britain’s regional theatres. In London, he was Artistic Director of the Gate Theatre and the Royal Court Theatre where he headed the £26million redevelopment. He has also directed at the National Theatre, the Public Theatre in New York and transferred many productions both to Broadway and the West End.

His production of Billy Elliot the Musical is currently playing in London and on tour across the US having previously played on Broadway, in Sydney, Melbourne, Chicago and Toronto. In 2009, the production won ten Tony Awards including Best Musical, more than any other British show in Broadway history.

His four films Billy Elliot, The Hours, The Reader and his most recent film, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close together received 19 Academy Award® nominations and two wins.

Daldry was Creative Executive Producer of Ceremonies for the London Olympic Games.

Produced in the West End by Matthew Byam Shaw for Playful Productions, Robert Fox and Andy Harries, The Audience will be designed by Bob Crowley, with lighting by Rick Fisher, sound by Paul Arditti and video by Ian William Galloway.

Tickets are on sale now – from the box office on 0844 4825130 or online at theaudienceplay.com/.

Chariots of Fire continues at the Gielgud Theatre until February 2, 2013.