The play’s producers have also announced that Hardy will be joined in the cast by Haydn Gwynne and Paul Ritter as former Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major.
Hardy has made a subsidiary career of playing Britain's wartime leader. His appearance as Churchill in The Audience will be the eighth time he has performed the role, having first essayed it in Churchill: The Wilderness Years on TV and most recently in the French language play Celui Qui a Dit Non in Paris.
Aside from his major sideline as the cigar-chomping statesman, the highest-profile roles from Hardy's long career are Siegfried Farnon in the BBC's long-running All Creatures Great and Small and Cornelius Fudge in the Harry Potter films.
Gwynne’s casting as Thatcher reunites her with The Audience director Stephen Daldry, for whom she played Mrs Wilkinson in the original London cast of Billy Elliot. She won Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Actress in a Musical on its Broadway transfer. She can currently be seen on tour playing Stephanie Abrahams in Duet for One.
Ritter recently appeared at the NT in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. His other NT credits include The Hothouse and The Reporter. For the RSC his credits include Troilus and Cressida and The White Devil. He can currently be seen in Channel 4’s Friday Night Dinner.
Morgan’s Oscar-winning film The Queen also starred Mirren as Elizabeth II. In The Audience he traces the Queen’s entire sixty-year reign via the device of ‘eavesdropping’ on her weekly private audiences with all twelve of the Prime Ministers who have served during that time.