Stage and screen veterans Sian Phillips (pictured), Angela Thorne and Rosemary Leach will come together this autumn to star in a major new touring production of Rodney Ackland's The Old Ladies. The psychological thriller opens at Peterborough's Key Theatre on 30 September 2003 before continuing, until 29 November, to eight further venues.

Adapted from the novel by Hugh Walpole, The Old Ladies centres on impoverished 1920s pensioners Lucy and May, who have rooms in an old house. Upstairs, Agatha plots to shatter their friendship, little by little, manipulating the careful fabric of Lucy and May's lives.

Phillips' many stage credits include Pal Joey, A Little Night Music, Marlene as well as Divas at the Donmar and, most recently, My Old Lady in the US, while on screen she's best remembered for I, Claudius. Leach's recent stage credits include Dark Corners, Kingfisher, Pastime and Night Must Fall while on screen she's been seen in Down to Earth, Buccaneers, Berkeley Square and Whatever Happened to Harold Smith.

Thorne is currently touring the UK, opposite Tony Britton, in Old World and has also been seen on stage recently in Communicating Doors, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Quartet. She's also known for television roles in To the Manor Born, Three Up Two Down and Cold Comfort Farm.

The Old Ladies is directed by author Rodney Ackland's lifelong collaborator Frith Banbury who, at 91 years old, is the country's oldest consistently working director. It's presented by TEG Productions.

Following Peterborough, the tour calls at Richmond, Chelmsford, Cambridge, Coventry, Poole and Woking with further venues to be confirmed.

- by Jake Brunger