Eve Ensler is to extend her own season of performances in her play The Vagina Monologues, before giving way to an all-star cast for a further two weeks. Despite initial forecasts that the show would definitely close as scheduled on 3 June, Ensler will now continue until 17 June. This is expected to be the final time that Ensler will perform the monologues herself.

From 19 June until 1 July, Maureen Lipman, Edie Falco and Sophie Okonedo will share the stage for a fortnight's run of the production. The Vagina Monologues, which is currently playing to packed houses and wide acclaim at the New Ambassadors Theatre, has a history of special guest involvement. Whoopi Goldberg, Susan Sarandon, Cate Blanchett and Kate Winslet are among the actresses who have featured in Ensler's campaigning V-Day events on both sides of the Atlantic.

Lipman is one of Britain's most renowned actresses, having worked across a wide range of cinema, theatre and television. Her film credits contain Educating Rita and Gumshoe, whilst notable TV appearances include Smiley's People, and Agony for which she was BAFTA-award nominated for Best Actress. On stage, she has appeared most recently in Peggy for You and the National's Oklahoma!.

Okonedo recently starred in the Royal Court's I Just Stopped By to See the Man, and she has also taken two leads at the National Theatre in Troilus and Cressida and Money. Falco, who originates from Brooklyn, won an Emmy for her role as a Mafia wife in the acclaimed television drama The Sopranos. On Broadway, Falco starred in Side Man, a performance which brought her a Theatre World Award and a Drama Desk Award. The show, with Falco, later transferred to the West End.

Prior to its popular 1999 London season at the King's Head Theatre, The Vagina Monologues had already been a hit in New York, with an Off-Broadway run winning Ensler an Obie Award.

- by Gareth Thompson