Loose Women presenter Lisa Maxwell joins the cast of Chicken, which opens at Trafalgar 2 on 25 June. In her first straight theatre role Maxwell plays Lina, wife to Wendall (Craig Kelly), who along with his childhood friend Floyd (George Georgiou), is grooming a sickly rooster for an illegal cockfight in an attempt to make ends meet.

Written by New York playwright, Mike Batistick, the play is directed by Sam Neophytou and co-produced by Amy Tez and Inner City Productions. Having opened off Broadway in 2008, Chicken receives its UK premiere in this production.

Casting has been announced for the Finborough Theatre’s production of Merrie England. Written for the Savoy Theatre in 1902, the light opera explores romantic entanglements at the court of Queen Elizabeth I as she visits Windsor for a May Day celebration. This rediscovery production celebrates the Queen's Diamond Jubilee as well as the 150th anniversary of birth for the composer, Edward German.

The cast consists of Sammy Andrews, Alexander Beck, Jamie Birkett, Daniel Cane, Luke Courtier, Stephen Darcy, Virge Gilchrist, Tom Giles, Rachel Holbrook, Nichola Jolley, Christopher Killik, Ruth Leavesley, Brendan Matthew, Michael Riseley, Jody Ellen Robinson, Gemma Sandzers, and Rhys Saudners.

Directed by Finborough regular Alex Sutton, with musical direction by Eamonn O'Dwyer, Merrie England runs at the Earl's Court venue on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays from 27 May.

Kirsty Woodward joins the cast of Kneehigh and West Yorkshire Playhouse's stage adaptation of Steptoe & Son. Joining Mike Shepherd and Dean Nolan as Albert and Harold, the production's title roles, Woodward plays The Woman. Woodward performs regularly with Kneehigh and appeared at the RSC in 2011 in Romeo and Juliet, American Trade, Julius Caesar and A Winter’s Tale.

Steptoe & Son, which is adapted and directed by Emma Rice, opens at the Asylum, Cornwall on 21 August before transferring to the West Yorkshire Playhouse from 14 September ahead of a UK tour.