Full casting has been announced for the Old Vic's revival of Brian Friel's Dancing at Lughnasa, which runs from 5 March to 9 May 2009 (previews from 26 February), in the recently reconfigured main house CQS space.

Joining the previously announced principals Niamh Cusack, Andrea Corr, Michelle Fairley and Susan Lynch (See News, 22 Oct 2008) are Simone Kirby (Cat On a Hot Tin Roof, Don Carlos), Finbar Lynch (Not About Nightingales, The Hothouse), Peter McDonald (Channel 4's Green Wing, Nocturne) and Jo Stone-Fewings (The 39 Steps, The Country Wife).

Set in 1930s rural Ireland, Dancing at Lughnasa paints a touching portrait of the loves and losses of the five Mundy sisters. After first being seen at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, the play had its UK premiere at the National in 1990 before transferring on to the West End and Broadway, winning Best Play prizes at the Evening Standard, Laurence Olivier and Tony Awards. This is its first major London production since.

Dancing at Lughnasa is directed in-the-round in the Old Vic's new CQS Space (which was created in the main house for the recent run of Alan Ayckbourn's The Norman Conquests) by Anna Mackmin, who recently directed David Eldridge's Under the Blue Sky in the West End. It's designed by Lez Bortherston, with lighting by Paule Constable and choreography by Scarlett Mackmin.  


In other play casting updates:

  • Linda Bassett (pictured), best known for her roles in films including The Calendar Girls and East Is East, will lead the cast of the Royal Court's forthcoming production of Marius von Mayenburg's new play The Stone, which runs from the 9 to 28 February (previews from 5 February) in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs. The play, which examines the secrets of a house as it passes from owner-to-owner over a 60 year period, runs as part of the Court's Off the Wall season of new plays about Germany. The cast also includes Loo Brealey, Jonathan Cullen, Amanda Drew, Justine Mitchell and Helen Schlesinger. It's directed by Ramin Gray and designed by Johannes Schutz.

  • Full casting has been announced for the forthcoming Northern Broadsides/West Yorkshire Playhouse production of Othello, which stars comedian Lenny Henry in the title role (See Photos, 2 Oct 2008). The cast of twelve includes long-standing Northern Broadsides performer Conrad Nelson as Iago and Jessica Harris as Desdemona. The cast also includes Rachel Jane Allen, Matt Connor, Andy Cryer, Fine Time Fontayne, Simon Holland Roberts, Maeve Larkin, Chris Pearse, Richard Standing and Broadsides' artistic director Barrie Rutter, who also directs. The tour kicks off at West Yorkshire Playhouse from 18 February to 14 March (previews from 14 February).
  • - by Theo Bosanquet