Join The Audience with the Queen at the Barn Theatre in Welwyn Garden City

Amanda Sayers as Margaret Thatcher, Suzie Major as Queen Elizabeth II, and Mel Powell as Winston Churchill in The Audience

Amanda Sayers as Margaret Thatcher, Suzie Major as Queen Elizabeth II, and Mel Powell as Winston Churchill in The Audience, which can be seen at the Barn Theatre in Welwyn Garden City. - Credit: Simon Wallace / MeltingPot Pictures

There will be more than one audience in the Barn Theatre when its next production takes to the stage.

Opening in Welwyn Garden City on Friday, November 12, The Audience is the dramatised account of the Queen’s weekly meetings with eight of her successive 12 Prime Ministers.

British playwright and screenwriter Peter Morgan is probably now best known for The Crown, his multi award-winning Netflix series which follows the life of the Royal Family from 1947 into the 21st century.

But before that, he struck box office gold with The Queen, his 2006 film starring Helen Mirren and based on the Royal Family’s response to Princess Diana’s death.  

He followed it in 2013 with The Audience, which premiered at the Gielgud Theatre, again starring Helen Mirren.   

For this Barn production, Linda Dyne directs Suzie Major, in a reprise of her royal role in the Barn’s 2017 sell-out production of Handbagged.

The young Queen Elizabeth, from 11 years to 23, is played by the ever-versatile Tammy Wall, last seen in Barn Studio’s production of Class.

During her long reign, Queen Elizabeth II has met each of her prime ministers in a weekly audience at Buckingham Palace to discuss government matters – a meeting like no other in British public life.

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These meetings are held in an audience room in her personal apartments and are entirely private.  

Both parties have an unspoken agreement never to repeat what is said. Not even to their spouses.

But this brilliant play breaks the contract of silence and imagines a series of pivotal meetings between Downing Street incumbents and their Queen.

From Winston Churchill, played by Mel Powell, to David Cameron (Alasdair Woodgate) each Prime Minister has used these private conversations as a sounding board and a confessional, sometimes intimate, sometimes explosive.

Set between 1952 and 2013, Morgan’s fictional account of Her Majesty’s relationship with eight of her Prime Ministers is revealed, as well as her eye-opening thoughts on her younger self and her fears for the future, now more poignant than ever.

The Audience runs in the Barn main house from Friday, November 12 to Saturday, November 20 at 8pm, with a matinee on the final day of its run at 2.30pm.

Tickets cost £13 and are available from the box office, 01707 324300, or online at www.barntheatre.co.uk

If you’d prefer to attend a performance with a more socially distanced audience, matinee and Monday tickets are sold to a maximum of half capacity. At these performances households are seated separately in the auditorium.

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