Controversial former Blue boyband member Lee Ryan (pictured) will make his stage acting debut in The Pretender Agenda, a new play which will run at the New Players Theatre for five weeks from 28 August to 27 September 2008 (previews from 26 August).

Set in modern London, The Pretender Agenda revolves around six thirty-something colleagues whose lives change irreparably over the course of one scandalous evening. The piece is written and directed by Christopher Manoe who describes it as “one brilliantly disastrous office party that reveals secrets lurking beneath the respectable façade with the same dark subtlety as Mike Leigh’s classic Abigail’s Party.

While in Blue, singer and songwriter Lee Ryan courted controversy when he said the 9/11 terrorist attacks were not as important as the number of elephants who died annually died through poaching. Since leaving the band in 2005, he’s released his eponymous debut album and singles including “Army of Lovers” and “Turn Your Car Around”, voiced one of the characters in the animated film Ice Age 2: The Meltdown and appeared in reality TV show Hell’s Kitchen.

In The Pretender Agenda, Ryan will appear familiar TV faces Lucy Benjamin (EastEnders, X Factor – Battle of the Stars), Vincenzo Pellegrino (Casualty, Hobly City), Sue Devaney (Dinnerladies, The Royal), Ben Jones (Doctors, Spooks, Echo Beach and Emily Aston (Coronation Street, Heartbeat) as well as Scott Hinds.

The play is co-produced by the New Players Theatre and INC Productions Ltd. The cast of The Pretender Agenda will launch the production and the theatre’s new autumn/winter season – including the Actors’ Company’s annual repertory, which this year will see John Osborne’s A Patriot for Me and Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba presented in rep from 2 October to 1 November – at a red carpet event at the New Players next Tuesday, 22 July 2008.

- by Terri Paddock