West End star Clare Foster will star in two plays by Tom Kempinski at the Bolton Octagon. Duet for One and Separation will be directed by Elizabeth Newman and it will be the first time that they have been performed together with the same cast.

Clare Foster in The Octagon Theatre's production of A Streetcar Named Desire.
Clare Foster in The Octagon Theatre's production of A Streetcar Named Desire.
© The Octagon

Duet for One was inspired by the life of professional cellist Jacqueline Du Pri, who contracted multiple sclerosis in 1972 and consequently had to give up her remarkable career. The play follows the character Stephanie Abrahams, played by Foster, whose story mirrors the experiences of Jacqueline Du Pri's. In a series of witty, intimate and frank conversations between Abrahams and a kind but uncompromising therapist Dr Alfred Feldmann, (played by Rob Edwards), Kempinski portrays one woman's fight for life and her extraordinary journey along the way.

Foster will also play Sarah Wise in Separation, which follows a young American actress as she begins a love affair through a series of transatlantic telephone calls, when she calls an English agoraphobic playwright for permission to perform his play.

Foster has previously appeared at the Octagon in Love on the Dole (2010) and A Streetcar Named Desire (2010), where she picked up a nomination ‘Best Actress in a Leading Role' at the MEN Awards (2010). She has also played numerous roles in the West End, including Merrily We Roll Along (Menier Chocolate Factory, 2012) and Avenue Q (Wyndham's Theatre, 2006), which was nominated for an Olivier Award in the category of ‘Best Ensemble'.

Her film credits include the blockbuster film Les Miserables (2012), in which she performed alongside Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman. Following her time at the Octagon Theatre, Foster will go on to perform in the lead role in the major Broadway musical Guys and Dolls as part of Chichester's 2014 season to mark its reopening.

Edwards will play Joe Green, the English playwright, in Separation. He has recently appeared at the Octagon in the world premiere production of Secret Thoughts by David Lodge, which was awarded ‘Best New Play' at the 2011 Manchester Theatre Awards. He also performed in Alan Bennett's classic farce Habeas Corpus. Other stage credits include The Double at Theatre Royal Bath (2012) and Love Story at Chichester Festival Hall (2010). He received an Olivier Award nomination for ‘Best Actor' in a Musical playing the role of Scar in the West End musical The Lion King in 2000.

Duet for One and Separation are being performed in repertoire at the Octagon Theatre from 10 April – 10 May.