English Touring Theatre's world premiere production of Peter Gill's The York Realist (pictured) will transfer to the West End after a successful regional tour and its current extended month-long season at the Royal Court Theatre. The play opens on 8 March 2002 for a limited six-week season to 20 April at the Strand Theatre, where it replaces the long-running bio-musical Buddy, which finishes on 3 March after nearly 12 and a half years in the West End.

Set in York in the early 1960s, The York Realist, which is also directed by Gill, centres on the relationship between middle class Londoner John, who's come to York to work as assistant director on a staging of the Mystery plays, and the working class George, who's acting in the production. John wants George to leave his home and family and move to London with him.

The York Realist stars two familiar young television faces in Richard Coyle (Jeff from BBC 2's Coupling) and Lloyd Owen (from BBC1's Hearts and Bones). Both also have numerous stage credits. Coyle appeared recently in A View from the Bridge at the Leicester Haymarket, while Owen's theatre credits include Closer (West End), Splash Hatch on the E Going Down (Donmar Warehouse), The Way of the World (Royal Exchange) and Edward II (with Joseph Fiennes at the Sheffield Crucible).

Coyle and Owen are joined in the York Realist cast by Felix Bell, Ian Mercer, Wendy Nottingham, Caroline O'Neill and Anne Reid. The production is designed by William Dudley, with lighting by Hartley TA Kemp and music by Terry Davies.

As an author, Gill's plays include Kick for Touch, Friendly Fire, Mean Tears, Small Change and another new play, Original Sin, which will be presented next year at the Sheffield Crucible as part of a celebratory retrospective of the playwright's career. As a director, Gill's many productions include the current National Theatre revival of Luther by fellow 1950s "angry young man" of the Royal Court, John Osborne.

Also this month, English Touring Theatre opens its latest production, Ibsen's Ghosts, which launches its UK-wide tour in Malvern on 6 February 2002. Following Malvern, Ghosts, directed by Stephen Unwin, will continue until 20 April to nine other stops - Ipswich, Warwick, Salford, Chester, Blackpool, York, Cambridge, Greenwich and Guildford.

- by Terri Paddock