Former National Theatre artistic director Richard Eyre helms the Hampstead Theatre's production of The Last of the Duchess, Nicholas Wright's new play based on Caroline Blackwood’s 1995 book about the last days of Wallace Simpson.

The production, which stars Anna Chancellor alongside Olivier Award winner Sheila Hancock, Angela Thorne, John Heffernan, Jasmina Daniel, Conrad Asquith and Helen Bradbury, opens at the Hampstead on 26 October (previews from 20 October) where it runs until 26 November 2011.

An American divorcee who became the Duchess of Windsor after marrying and necessitating the abdication of Edward VIII, Blackwood was originally commissioned to write an article about Wallace Simpson, who died in 1986, for the Sunday Times in 1980.

The Last of the Duchess focuses on her attempts to organise interviews, while being obstructed by the Duchess’ lawyer Maitre Suzanne Blum (Hancock), who Blackwood (Chancellor) accused of essentially imprisoning the royal in her villa in Paris’ Bois de Boulogne.

The Hampstead Theatre recently released photos showing Sheila Hancock and Anna Chancellor in rehearsal for the upcoming production.

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Anna Chancellor in Rehearsal for The Last of the Duchess. Photo credit: Johan Persson


Anna Chancellor in Rehearsal for The Last of the Duchess. Photo credit: Johan Persson


Sheila Hancock in Rehearsal for The Last of the Duchess. Photo credit: Johan Persson


Sheila Hancock in Rehearsal for The Last of the Duchess. Photo credit: Johan Persson