Gillian Anderson, star of TV's X-Files, will make her West End debut this autumn. As previously tipped in The Goss (See 1 May 02), the American actress will appear in Michael Weller's What the Night Is For, which is now confirmed to open in November 2002 - though exact dates, a venue and, last but not least, Anderson's co-star have yet to be finalised.

In What the Night Is For, Anderson plays Melinda, a married woman who, after many years, reunites with her ex-lover who's also married. He comes to her hotel room for dinner - and one passionate night of honesty and deceit, hope and regret. Exploring attitudes towards modern marriage and infidelity, the play asks: How do you know you're really with 'the one'?

Anderson is best known as FBI Special Agent Dana Scully in TV's cult sci-fi hit The X Files, which finished filming its ninth and final series earlier this year; while her film credits include The X Files Movie, The House of Mirth and Playing by Heart. Before her screen successes, Anderson trained as a stage actress in the States. Her last major stage appearance was a decade ago in a US production of Christopher Hampton's The Philanthropist. She has also previously appeared on stage in benefit performances of Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues and the Richard Rodgers centenary charity gala "Some Enchanted Evening".

Though New York-born, author Weller started his career in the UK at the Edinburgh Festival and, in 1969, at London's Royal Court with his play Cancer, later renamed Moonchildren. Weller's other plays include Loose Ends, 23 Years Later, Spoils of War and Lake No Bottom.

What the Night Is For will be directed by John Caird and designed by Tim Hatley, with lighting by Paul Pyant - the same creative team behind the current multi award-winning production of Humble Boy. It is presented in the West End by Brigid Larmour and Nick Salmon of Act Productions, co-produced by Sonia Friedman.

Commenting on the project, Act's Larmour said: "We are thrilled that Gillian has chosen to appear in What the Night Is For. She is an actor of real emotional honesty, which should make this a really electrifying evening in the theatre."

Confirmation of a venue and precise opening dates for the premiere production are expected by early September 2002.

- by Terri Paddock