Helen Mirren, Oscar-winning star of Stephen Frears's 2006 film, The Queen, this week played Elizabeth II at a reading of a new play by Peter Morgan, according to the Daily Mail. Morgan wrote the screenplay for Frears's film.

On Tuesday evening Mirren returned to the character in a reading of The Audience, a play about the monarch's relationships with her Prime Ministers. The Mail reports that the piece is “still a work in progress”.

The version read this week features Winston Churchill, Harold Wilson, Margaret Thatcher, James Callaghan and John Major, although Morgan has apparently not yet decided which characters will ultimately feature in the finished play. Gordon Brown and David Cameron are in the offing for inclusion.

Mirren played the title role in Jean Racine's Phèdre at the National Theatre in 2009, the production that launched the theatre's NT Live scheme.

Billy Elliot The Musical director Stephen Daldry is in negotiations to direct The Audience, which is it rumoured will open in the West End next year. Bob Crowley is in talks about designing the show.