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Elizabeth McGovern to adapt and star in Ava Gardner stage production

The new play opens in January

Elizabeth McGovern
© Simon Annand

AVA: The Secret Conversations will have its world premiere at the Riverside Studios in January.

Adapted and starring Elizabeth McGovern (Downton Abbey), the piece is based on the book by Peter Evans and Ava Gardner and will chronicle Gardner's life as one of Hollywood's greatest stars in the '40s and '50s.

The book was published the year after Evans' death in 2013, with the stage show imagining the collaboration between Evans and Gardner while also flashing back through Gardner's life.

McGovern comments, I was drawn to The Secret Conversations to begin with by my fascination with Ava Gardner. There is something in her character that goes beyond physical beauty: an unselfconscious combination of humour, intelligence, warmth and humility that the camera was able to capture and we can still enjoy today. But also, the conversations were mostly unadulterated, and, without coming to any pat conclusions, reveal the price she paid for fame, the toll it took on her life. I wanted to explore this for selfish reasons. I feel qualified to draw from my own experience in order to explore the subject."

The piece has design by 59 Productions, with further creatives to be revealed.

AVA: The Secret Conversations runs from 14 January to 16 April.

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