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Photo credit: Elizabeth McGovern (Photo by Simon Annand)

Elizabeth McGovern to adapt and star in ‘AVA: The Secret Conversations’

She will portray the Academy Award-nominated actress Ava Gardner.

Sophie Thomas
Sophie Thomas

Elizabeth McGovern will star in her brand new play, AVA: The Secret Conversations, portraying Ava Gardner. McGovern adapted the book of the same name too, with Ava: The Secret Conversations at Riverside Studios from 14 January - 16 April. 

Ava Gardner was a 1940s Hollywood starlet, often appearing in films alongside Humphrey Bogart and Clark Gable. During her film career, her roles were overshadowed by marriages to Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw and Frank Sinatra. In AVA: The Secret Conversations, audiences will learn more about Ava's life away from the spotlight, as well as the process it took to create the 2013 novel. 

McGovern will play Ava Gardner in AVA: The Secret Conversations. Speaking about the original source material, she said: "I was drawn to The Secret Conversations to begin with by my fascination with Ava Gardner. There is something in her character that goes beyond physical beauty: an unselfconscious combination of humour, intelligence, warmth and humility that the camera was able to capture and we can still enjoy today. But also, the conversations were mostly unadulterated, and , without coming to any pat conclusions, reveal the price she paid for fame, the toll it took on her life." 

McGovern returns to the London stage, having previously starred in The Starry Messenger at the Wyndham's Theatre opposite Matthew Broderick

Boardwalk Empire's Anatol Yusef will play Peter Evans, the journalist Ava hired to write her autobiography. Gabby Delall directs AVA: The Secret Conversations alongside design by 59 Productions, costume design by Fotini Dimou, lighting design Elliot Griggs and sound design by Ella Wahlström.

AVA: The Secret Conversations is at Riverside Studios from 14 January - 26 March.  

Photo credit: Elizabeth McGovern (Photo by Simon Annand)

Article Updated: 19 November 2021

Originally published on

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