Hardy, 87, recently suffered a fall and cracked some ribs, yet continued to perform at all of the preview performances last week. Over the weekend the actor decided that a schedule of eight performances a week is not sustainable.
Hardy’s understudy, David Peart, will continue in the role of Winston Churchill until a replacement has been found.
The producers, according to a press statement, "would like to thank Robert Hardy for his extraordinary contribution to the production and they wish him a speedy recovery."
Director Stephen Daldry added, “Robert is one of theatre’s great actors and for him to have accepted this challenge at his age speaks of his courage and commitment to the theatre. That he feels unable to continue is a great sadness to us all but we respect his decision and wish him a return to full health and strength very soon.”
The production, which began previews Feb. 15, will officially open March 5.
The Audience is produced in the West End by Matthew Byam Shaw for Playful Productions, Robert Fox and Andy Harries.
For more information visit theaudienceplay.com.