Following its West End success earlier this year with the Timothy West-led King Lear, English Touring Theatre returns to Shakespeare in its tenth anniversary season with a major new staging of Romeo and Juliet. It opens at York's Theatre Royal on 8 September 2003 before continuing, to ten further venues, until 6 December.

In the new production, set in post-war Verona, the star-crossed young lovers are played by Adam Croasdell (Antigone, Perfect Days on stage, The Project, Peak Practice on TV) and Laura Rees (currently in Brand with Ralph Fiennes in the West End).

They're joined by an accomplished 15-strong cast, which includes Richard Avery (Montague, apothecary), Pepe Balderrama (Benvolio), Michael Cronin (Friar Lawrence), OT Fagbenle (Mercutio), Anna Francolini (Lady Capulet), Colin Haigh (Prince Escalus), Neil McCaul (Capulet), Tunde Oba (Paris), Ita O'Brien (Lady Montague), Robert Styles (Tybalt), Oliver Wood (Balthasar) and Marjorie Yates (Nurse).

Romeo and Juliet is directed by ETT artistic director Stephen Unwin and designed by Sara Perks, with costumes by Mark Bouman, lighting by Malcolm Rippeth and music by Olly Fox. Presented in association with York's Theatre Royal, the production will also visit Aberdeen, Norwich, Malvern, Oxford, Glasgow, Blackpool, Coventry, Salford, Cambridge and Brighton.

In addition to King Lear - which had an extended run at the Old Vic in spring 2003 - ETT's recent award-winning productions have included Ghosts starring Diana Quick and the premiere production of Peter Gill's The York Realist, starring Lloyd Owen and Richard Coyle. The latter transferred to the Royal Court and on to the West End's Strand Theatre, winning this year's Critics Circle Award for Best New Play (See News, 4 Feb 2003).

Romeo and Juliet is the third production mounted as part of the company's tenth anniversary year, following King Lear and the revival of Ibsen's John Gabriel Borkman, which starred Michael Pennington.

- by Terri Paddock