The Old Vic has confirmed details for its autumn/winter programme, which will see Hollywood actor-turned-artistic director Kevin Spacey (pictured) taking to the stage again to take the title role in a new Trevor Nunn production of Richard II (See News, 10 Feb 2005), and, as previously tipped (See The Goss, 21 Apr 2005), the return of Ian McKellen’s Widow Twankey in a Christmas re-run of Aladdin.

Richard II will run from 13 September to 26 November 2005. It will be the third successive production that Spacey himself will star in, following National Anthems and the current revival of The Philadelphia Story, which has just been extended to 3 September (See Today’s Other News).

The production mark Spacey’s UK Shakespearean debut and the first time that Nunn – a former artistic director of both the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre whose previous acclaimed Shakespeare productions include last year’s Hamlet at the Old Vic – has directed this particular history play. Richard II also makes good on Spacey’s promise to return to the classics in his second season as artistic director of the theatre.

Aladdin will run from 6 December 2005 to 22 January 2006. Ian McKellen made his panto dame debut as Widow Twankey when the show was first seen at the Old Vic this past Christmas. Although he’s confirmed to reprise his roles, further casting – which previously featured Roger Allam, Maureen Lipman, Sam Kelly and Joe McFadden – has not been confirmed. Bille Brown’s new version of the pantomime is directed by Sean Mathias and designed by John Napier. It features a new song written especially for the show by Old Vic trustee Elton John.

- by Terri Paddock