Democracy (2003)

Synopsis The Production Photographs Reviews


Democracy takes us into a world of political intrigue, espionage and betrayal . Based on real life events during the final months in office of the charismatic West German Chancellor Willy Brandt, this political tale unfolds as suspicions rise of a Stasi spy infiltrating his inner circle. Tensions mount as Brandt’s precarious coalition government is pushed to its limits.

Text from 2012 Revial of the play at the Old Vic.


Casting Announcement at What’s On Stage.


Interview with Michael Frayn about Democracy, hosted at the National Theatre.
Interview with Michael Frayn about the historical events behind the play, from The Guardian, 6 September, 2003.

About Michael Frayn:

Michael Frayn

Image: Getty, New Statesman

Michael Frayn’s other plays include Noises Off, The Two of Us, Alphabetical Order, Donkeys’ Years, Clouds, Balmoral, Make or Break, Benefactors, Copenhagen and Afterlife.

He has also published eleven novels, including Skios and Spies which won the Whitbread Novel Award, and has written several screen plays including Clockwise starring John Cleese.

Text from 2012 Revial of the play at the Old Vic.


Still available from the National Theatre

The Production

Michael Frayn’s Democracy was winner of the Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle best play awards, and nominated for an Olivier Award in 2003.
Roger Allam received an Olivier nomination for Best Actor.



Democracy premiered, in this production at the National Theatre (Cottesloe), on 9 September, 2003 (previews from 30 August). It played until 30 December, 2003.

Democracy is a play in two acts. Sessions were approximately 2 hours and 35 minutes, with one 20 minute interval. Times: Tuesday through Saturday at 8:00pm, with matinees Wednesday and Saturday at 2:00pm, Sunday at 3:00pm. Tickets were £10 – £25.

Cast and Creatives:

Roger Allam Willy Brandt
Conleth Hill Günter Guillaume
Nicholas Blane Hans-Dietrich Genscher
Paul Boughton Ulrich Bauhaus
Jonathan Coy Horst Ehmke
Christopher Ettridge Günther Nollau
Glyn Grain Helmut Schmidt
Paul Gregory Reinhard Wilke
Steven Pacey Arno Kretschmann
David Ryall Herbert Wehner
Writer Michael Frayn
Director Michael Blakemore
Set Design Peter J Davison
Lighting Design Mark Henderson
Sound Design Neil Alexander
Costume Design Sue Willmington
Company Voice Work Patsy Rodenburg


Space dictates that we have only included photos featuring Steven Pacey.

Production Photographs:


Conleth Hill and Steven Pacey

"Democracy" On Stage in London

Conleth Hill and Steven Pacey in Democracy
Photograph: Robbie Jack, available from Corbis.


Conleth Hill and Steven Pacey in Democracy
Photograph: Marilyn Kingwill, available from TopFoto.


Steven Pacey as Arno Democracy
Photograph: Marilyn Kingwill, available from TopFoto.

Two additional Photographs from Geraint Lewis, taken 9 September, 2003:
Conleth Hill and Steven Pacey
Conleth Hill and Steven Pacey

Rehearsal Photographs:


Steven Pacey
Photograph: Conrad Blakemore (from Theatre Programme)


“With strong support from … Steven Pacey as Guillaume’s control”

Charles Spencer, The Telegraph

“the smoothly fanatic spymaster played by Steven Pacey”

Benedict Nightingale, NY Times

“pale, humorless controller, well played by Steven Pacey”


Photograph: The Guardian
2 September Londong Theatre Archive Alan Bird not rated
7 September The Observer Neal Ascherson not rated
10 September What’s On Stage Reaction to Press Night not rated
10 September The Guardian Michael Billington ****
10 September The Daily Mail
(no longer available online)
Michael Coveny not rated
11 September The Telegraph Charles Spencer not rated
11 September The Independent
(no longer available online)
Paul Taylor not rated
12 September BBC Newsnight
Download VIDEO
discussion panel not rated
14 September The Independent on Sunday
(no longer available online)
Johann Hari not rated
14 September The Sunday Times
(no longer available online)
Victoria Segal not rated
20 September Curtain Up Lizzie Loveridge not rated
22 September Newsweek International
Vol. 142 Issue 12, p70
(no longer available online)
Tara Pepper not rated
23 September Playbill Robert Simonson not rated
27 September The Spectator Toby Young not rated
28 September NY Times Benedict Nightingale not rated
29 September The New Yorker John Lahr not rated
18 October Theatre Journal
Volume 56, Number 2, May 2004, pp. 308-309
Peter B. Young not rated
30 November Washington Post
(no longer available online)
Peter Marks not rated
undated Theatreguide London Gerald Berkowitz not rated
undated British Theatre Guide Philip Fisher not rated

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Please note: The term Democracy as well as all associated graphics, logos, and/or other tradermarks, tradenames or copyrights are the property of the Michael Frayn and the National Theatre and are used herein for factual descriptive purposes only. We are in no way associated with or authorized by the owners and neither that entity nor any of its affiliates have licensed or endorsed us to sell tickets, goods and or services in conjunction with their events.

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