Yasmina Reza's award-winning comedy Art embarks on a new UK-wide tour this month. The 12-week schedule begins on 26 February 2001 at High Wycombe's Swan Theatre and continues until 19 May to Crawley, Milton Keynes, Stoke, Wolverhampton, Belfast, Llandudno, Bradford, Woking, Bristol, Torquay and Manchester.

Barry Foster, Roger Lloyd Pack and Nigel Havers - who starred in last year's sell-out tour - return to play three friends who fall out over a modern art painting. Foster is Mark, Havers is Serge and Lloyd Pack is Yvan.

All three actors are veterans of both theatre and film, but are probably best known for their television credits which include: for Foster, Van Der Valk; for Lloyd Pack, Only Fools and Horses and The Vicar of Dibley; and for Havers, Don't Wait Up and Dangerfield. Havers has also performed in Art in the West End.

The London production has now rolled on to its 17th cast and fifth year at the West End's Wyndham's Theatre. Since the original cast of Albert Finney, Tom Courtenay and Ken Stott, the show has continually attracted starry casts for its three-month stints. Richard Griffiths, Henry Goodman, David Haig, Anton Lesser, Tom Mannion, Art Malik, Ken Campbell and Warren Mitchell have all featured as have comedians Frank Skinner and Jack Dee in their acting debuts. Imported American casts have also brought the likes of Patrick Duffy, Richard Thomas, Judd Hirsch, George Wendt and Stacy Keach to the West End.

Art has won both the Evening Standard and Olivier Awards for Best Comedy, while a simultaneous New York production won the Tony and New York Critics Circle Awards for Best Play. It is translated by Christopher Hampton. The national tour is directed by Rachel Kavanaugh, based on the original direction of Matthew Warchus, and designed by Mark Thompson. It is produced by David Pugh Ltd and Sean Connery.

- by Terri Paddock