UK regional premiere of Peter Morgan’s The Audience which is directed by Sam Hodges and opens at Nuffield Southampton Theatres on 30 May, running until 22 June, reveals rehearsal images.

With SS Mendi, a co-production with Isango Ensemble, opening this week at Royal Opera House, Director of Nuffield Southampton Theatres, Samuel Hodges, today announces the full cast for a new staging of Peter Morgan’s The Audience. Samuel Hodges directs Lizzie Hopley as Margaret Thatcher and Bobo MacDonald, Paul Kemp as all other Prime Ministers, Sharon Singh as The Equerry and Fay Burwell and Maddie Farmer share the role of Young Elizabeth, joining the previously announced Faye Castelow as Queen Elizabeth II. The production opens on 30 May, with previews from 24 May, and runs until 22 June.

65 Years. 13 Prime Ministers. One Queen.

For 65 years, the Queen has met her Prime Minister every week in an Audience at Buckingham Palace. Both parties agree never to repeat what is said. Not even to their spouses.

What is discussed? What secrets are shared? Does her Majesty have her favourites?

Sometimes intimate, often confessional, occasionally explosive, The Audience imagines the private moments that define a changing Britain. One head of state. Endless heads of government. This play asks where the real power lies.

Nuffield Southampton Theatres Director Samuel Hodges directs an intimate and re-worked production of the smash hit play from Peter Morgan, the writer of the critically acclaimed TV series The Crown and the Oscar award winning film The Queen.

Samuel Hodges, Director of Nuffield Southampton, said today, “This is a play that interrogates where power lies. Is it in the parade of middle aged, almost entirely male prime ministers or the unchanging, unwavering woman they meet with? For that reason I knew I wanted to cast one actor to play all of the male PMs from the start.

I’m really pleased to have such a strong local presence in the cast with Sharon, who grew up minutes from our new theatre, and both of our young Elizabeths from the local area, one a member of our youth theatre.”

Peter Morgan’s other work for theatre includes Frost/Nixon. His television work includes The Crown, The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, The Jury, The Special Relationship, Longford, Colditz, Henry VIII and The Deal; and for film, Rush, 360, Hereafter, State of Play, The Damned United, The Other Boleyn Girl, The Last King of Scotland and The Queen.

Faye Castelow plays Queen Elizabeth II. Her theatre credits include The Rover, The Witch of Edmonton, The White Devil, The Roaring Girl (RSC), Man and Superman, After the Dance, Time and the Conways (National Theatre), Nijinsky, The Deep Blue Sea (Chichester Festival Theatre), How to be Another Woman (Gate Theatre), Mountain Hotel and The American Clock (Orange Tree Theatre). Her television credits include Pure and Rellik.

Lizzie Hopley plays Margaret Thatcher and Bobo MacDonald. Her theatre credits include The Taming of the Shrew (US tour), Roaring Girls (RSC), Tis Pity She’s a Whore (international tour), Abigail’s Party, Twelfth Night (UK tour) and Six Characters in Search of an Author (Young Vic). For television, her credits include The Long Song, Little Boy Blue, Luther, Call the Midwife and Randall & Hoprick Deceased II; and for film, Day of the Flowers, Jane Eyre, Nowhere Boy and Pierrepoint: The Last Hangman.

Paul Kemp plays the Prime Ministers: Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Winston Churchill, Anthony Eden, John Major and Harold Wilson. His theatre credits include Imperium (Gielgud Theatre), Richard III (Arcola Theatre), Wendy and Peter Pan (RSC), Ghost Stories (Arts Theatre), The Lady in the Van (UK tour), Seven Year Twitch, How to be Happy (Orange Tree Theatre), The Lady form the Sea (Royal Exchange Theatre), The Crucible (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), My Wonderful Day (Stephen Joseph Theatre/59E59, New York/UK tour), Woman in Mind (Stephen Joseph Theatre/Vaudeville Theatre). For television his credits include Maxwell, The Trial of Tony Blair, Life on Mars; and for film, When Saturday Comes.

Southampton’s Sharon Singh plays The Equerry. Her theatre credits include Arabian Nights (Hoxton Hall), The Game of Love and Chai (Tara Arts/UK tour), Death of Kings, The Misanthrope (Conservatoire National Supérieur D'art Dramatique), Cyrano de Bergerac (New Vic Theatre), Hamlet (Bussey Building), Titus Andronicus, Othello (UK tour) and Holes (Arcola Theatre); and for television, Vera.

Samuel Hodges is Director of Nuffield Southampton Theatres (NST). His productions for NST include The Shadow Factory, Dedication - Shakespeare and Southampton, and The Glass Menagerie. Previously he founded the HighTide Festival Theatre in 2007 and was the Artistic Director for five years, during which time he produced over 25 new plays, co-producing with the National Theatre, The Old Vic and the Bush Theatre, amongst others. Between 2012 and 2014, he ran the Criterion Theatre in London's West End, for whom he curated a late-night programme and a one-off summer season of new work to celebrate the London Olympics.

Nuffield Southampton Theatres is one of the UK’s leading professional theatre companies. The company is led by Samuel Hodges, supported by a team of associates: directors Blanche McIntyre, Natalie Abrahami and Michael Longhurst, playwright Adam Brace, choreographer Drew McOnie and poet Inua Ellams. NST develops and produces work with some of the UK’s most exciting and dynamic regional theatres. NST’s awards include Best Director at UK Theatre Awards 2013 for The Seagull, Regional Theatre of the Year at The Stage Awards 2015, Best Design at UK Theatre Awards 2015 for The Hudsucker Proxy and the 2017 Renee Stepham UK Theatre Award for Best Presentation of Touring Theatre for Fantastic Mr Fox. In 2018 NST was nominated for three awards in the UK Theatre Awards 2018 - Best Design for The Shadow Factory; The Renee Stepham Award for Best Presentation of Touring Theatre for A Streetcar Named Desire, and Achievement in Marketing and Audience Development for the NST City opening campaign.

NST City is Nuffield Southampton Theatres new venue which opened in Southampton’s city centre in 2018. The theatre’s programme runs alongside NST Campus situated on the Highfield Campus at the University of Southampton.

Nuffield Southampton Theatres is an Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation and a registered charity, receiving additional core funding from the University of Southampton and Southampton City Council.

Nuffield Southampton Theatres
NST City, Above Bar Street, Guildhall Square, Southampton, SO14 7DU

Box Office: 023 8067 1771
Monday – Friday: 10am – 6pm
Saturday: 10am – 4pm

NST AT A GLANCE
The Audience
NST City
24 May – 22 June 2019
Press night: Thursday 30 May, 7pm

A Thousand Splendid Suns
NST City
25 June – 6 July 2019
Press night: Wednesday 26 June, 7pm

One Man, Two Guvnors
NST Campus
1 – 12 October 2019
Guest Night: Tuesday 1 October
Press Night at New Wolsey Theatre: Tuesday 10 September, 7pm

Cinderella The Musical
NST City
23 November 2019 - 5 January 2020
Press Night: Friday 29 November, 7pm

Pride and Prejudice* (*Sort Of)
NST City
16 - 28 March 2020
Guest Night: Tuesday 17 March
Press Night at Bristol Old Vic: 12 September 2019

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