Suranne Jones is to star in a stage version of Virginia Woolf's time travelling, gender swapping comedy Orlando – the opening production of the new Spring – Summer 2014 Season at Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre.

Orlando
Orlando
© Royal Exchange Theatre

She takes the title role in Sarah Ruhl's stage adaptation of Woolf's ground-breaking novel which runs at the Exchange from 20 February - 22 March.

Best known for playing Rachel Bailey in ITV police drama Scott and Bailey and her long-running role as Karen McDonald in Coronation Street - Suranne was last seen at the Royal Exchange in Blithe Spirit in 2009.

Woolf's novel about sex, love, and history romps across continents and centuries, telling the story of young nobleman Orlando who woos and wins the hearts of grand and fallen women. Among his conquests are Russian royalty, Queen Elizabeth I and a Spanish dancer.

Betrayed by his one true love and hounded out of England, he falls asleep for seven days, wakes up as a woman and has to find her way back home in a journey that takes almost four hundred years.

The production is directed by Max Webster, (whose previous Royal Exchange credits include the hugely successful To Kill a Mockingbird last year) and includes a strong emphasis on live music and visual elements.

Talking about the production, he said: "Orlando is one of the strangest and most beautiful books ever written and in this skilful and funny adaptation Virginia Woolf's extraordinary story is brought to vibrant new life."

The production is designed by Ti Green and the cast also includes Thomas Arnold, Molly Gromadzki, Richard Hope, Tunji Kasim and Hetti Price.

The creative team is completed by Charles Balfour (lighting), Isobel Waller-Bridge (sound designer and composer), Liz Ranken (movement) and Vicki Amedume (aerial choreography).