Robert Hardy withdraws from The Audience - injured

Edward Fox has replaced Robert Hardy who has had to withdraw from The Audience, a new play by Peter Morgan, directed by Stephen Daldry, which opens at the Gielgud Theatre 5 March 2013, following previews from 15 Feb - booking to 15 June 2013.

A press statement says, "Hardy, 87, recently suffered a fall and cracked some ribs, yet continued to perform at all of the preview performances last week. Over the weekend he has decided that a schedule of eight performances a week over a long run is not sustainable and he has therefore reluctantly decided to stand down. The Producers would like to thank Robert Hardy for his extraordinary contribution to the production and they wish him a speedy recovery. "

Edward Fox will now play the role of Winston Churchill. Fox is famed for his performance as Edward VIII in Thames Television's Edward and Mrs Simpson. He won a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor in Joseph Losey's The Go Between and was 'The Jackal' in Day of the Jackal directed by Fred Zinnemann. His many other film credits include A Bridge Too Far (for which he was also awarded a BAFTA). His theatre credits include Knuckle (David Hare's first play to appear in the West End), The Family Reunion at the Vaudeville, A Letter of Resignation, The Chiltern Hundreds, The Old Masters, Four Quartets, Legal Fictions. In 2003 Edward Fox was awarded an OBE.

The Audience continues to feature Helen Mirren (Queen Elizabeth II), Haydn Gwynne (Margaret Thatcher), Paul Ritter (John Major), Michael Elwyn (Anthony Eden), Nathaniel Parker (Gordon Brown), Rufus Wright (David Cameron), David Peart (James Callaghan), Geoffrey Beevers (The Equerry ), Jonathan Coote, Ian Houghton, Charlotte Moore.

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 unsspoken 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.

It is designed by Bob Crowley, sound by Paul Arditti, and produced by Matthew Byam Shaw for Playful Productions, Robert Fox and Andy Harries.

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