Miranda Richardson is following in the footsteps of film stars Kevin Spacey, Juliette Binoche, Liam Neeson and, most recently, Klaus Maria Brandauer and Cate Blanchett to tread the boards for the Almeida Theatre. The British star, twice nominated for Oscars, will appear with the American actress Glenne Headly in Wallace Shawn's Aunt Dan and Lemon at the fringe theatre's home venue in Islington, north London. The production opens 5 May (previews from 29 April) and runs until 5 June 1999.

In the acerbic comedy, Lemon, a frail young woman, relives her strange and subversive relationship with the darkly charismatic Aunt Dan . Aunt Dan and Lemon was first presented at the Royal Court Theatre in 1985 and subsequently at Joe Papp's Public Theater in New York.

Richardson, who plays 'Aunt Dan', was last seen on the London stage three years ago in another Wallace Shawn play, The Designated Mourner, at the National Theatre. Other theatre work includes Edmund, A Lie in the Mind and Etta Janks for the Royal Court, The Changeling and Mountain Language for the National, and Robert Wilson's production of Virginia Woolf's Orlando for the Edinburgh International Festival. Her film work includes Damage, Dance with a Stranger, The Apostle, Tom and Viv, Empire of the Sun and The Crying Game.

Headly, who plays 'Lemon', is a founder of Chicago's renowned Steppenwolf Theatre Company where her credits include Born Yesterday, Miss Firecracker Contest and Absent Friends. In New York, Headly has appeared on stage in Arms and the Man, Balm in Gilead, The Philanthropist and Extremities. Her film work includes Mr Holland's Opus, Dick Tracy and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

Actor and playwright Wallace Shawn wrote his first play, Four Meals in May, in 1967. His other plays include The Fever, The Hotel, A Thought in Three Parts and Marie and Bruce. The Designated Mourner, starring Richardson, was directed by David Hare at the Royal Court in 1996 and was subsequently made into a film.

Aunt Dan and Lemon is directed at the Almeida by Tom Cairns whose work includes Cloud Nine, A Delicate Balance, The Lady from the Sea and The Crucible as well as various opera productions. Aunt Dan and Lemon is designed by Cairns and Robin Rawstorne, with costumes by Amy Roberts, lighting by Wolfgang Gobbel and sound by John A Leonard.

In other Almeida news, James McDonald will direct Martin Crimp's new version of Marivaux's erotic comedy The Triumph of Love and Michael Grandage will direct Marlowe's The Jew of Malta. Both productions will first be presented during the Almeida s summer residency in Malvern and tour briefly before appearing in Islington in September and October, respectively.