Maxine Peake, Paul Hilton and Tom McKay are expected to star in a new play by an unknown playwright in the West End – in just a matter of weeks. Although no official announcement has yet been made, according to the Observer newspaper, the trio will lead the cast when the as-yet unnamed production - the winning play of Channel 4’s upcoming reality TV programme The Play's The Thing as decided by producer Sonia Friedman, playwrights’ agent Mel Kenyon and actor Neil Pearson - receives its world premiere at the West End’s New Ambassadors Theatre on 22 June 2006 (previews from 12 June). Neither the author nor any details of the play, including the title, can be released before they are revealed on the four-part TV series, airing from 12 June (See News, 28 Apr 2006). Over 2,000 aspiring playwrights submitted their work for the competition, with Friedman narrowing the candidates down to 30 with the help of some professional play readers and the panel deciding on the final ten, who went through workshops before being whittled down to three, and finally one winner. Peake is best known for her roles in TV series Shameless, Messiah and Dinnerladies, but she has also starred in many stage productions including Miss Julie at the Haymarket, Mother Theresa is Dead at the Royal Court, and The Cherry Orchard and The Relapse at the National. Hilton’s credits include Mourning Becomes Electra at the National, for which he received an Olivier Award nomination. McKay has appeared on stage in Macbeth at the Almeida, and Henry V and Mother Clap’s Molly House at the National.