Mirren to play the Queen again

Actress Helen Mirren will play the role of the Queen for a second time, this time in a stage play.

Actress Helen Mirren. Picture: AFP

LONDON - Oscar-winning actress Helen Mirren will play the role of the Queen again - this time in a stage play from the screenplay writer of The Queen, producers said on Friday.

Dame Helen will star in Peter Morgan's The Audience, opening in London in 2013. The play traces 60 years of weekly "audiences" or meetings at Buckingham Palace between the monarch and her prime ministers.

Britain has had 12 prime ministers during the Queen's 60-year reign, and the play imagines some of the pivotal private meetings that took place as the Queen, who ascended to the throne at age 25, matured from young womanhood to elder stateswoman, producers said in a statement.

Stephen Daldry, the man behind the stage musical and movie Billy Elliot, will direct.

Morgan was Oscar-nominated for his screenplay for 2006 movie The Queen, which traced royal and political reaction to the sudden death in a car crash in 1997 of Princess Diana.

Mirren, 67, won an Oscar, a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild award and a BAFTA for her portrayal of the Queen. She also won a raft of awards from playing Queen Elizabeth I in the 2005 British television series Elizabeth I.

_The Audience _will open in previews at the Gielgud Theatre on 15 Feb 2013, and is scheduled to run until June.