The Royal Court kicks off its new autumn season tonight with the world premiere My Zinc Bed, written and directed by David Hare. This will be followed in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs by the return of Gary Mitchell's The Force of Change and a new work by Stephen Jeffries, directed by Richard Wilson. The Jerwood Theatre Upstairs meanwhile will stage the world premiere of Caryl Churchill's Far Away as well as new work by David Eldridge and various up and coming young writers.

In My Zinc Bed, which stars British film star Julia Ormond as well as Tom Wilkinson and Steven Mackintosh, a successful Internet entrepreneur employs a poet who then has an affair with his young wife. The production is designed by Vicki Mortimer with lighting by Rick Fisher and sound by Paul Arditti. It opens tonight, following previews from 7 September, and continues to 28 October.

The Force of Change, Mitchell's second play to be staged at the Royal Court, was first seen in the Theatre Upstairs last April. It chronicles life within the Protestant community of Belfast, focusing on the RUC and alleged collusion with the Loyalist men of terror. The cast includes Sean Caffrey, Stuart Graham, Gerard Jordan, Stephen Kennedy and Laine Megaw. Robert Delamere directs with design by Simon Higlett, lighting by Chris Davey, sound by Paul Arditti and music by Harry Peat. The Force of Change runs from 8 to 25 November, previews from 2 November.

The final production in the Downstairs' autumn season is Stephen Jeffreys' I Just Stopped by to See the Man, which opens on 4 December following previews from 20 November. Jeffreys' first play since The Libertine, which was also performed at the Court, is set in the underworld of the American blues delta where an English rock musician is trying to find the truth behind the death of legendary blues singer Jesse Davidson. The production is directed by Richard Wilson, the TV actor of One Foot in the Grave fame, and is designed by Julian McGowan with sound by Paul Arditti.

The first production in the Upstairs season is David Eldridge's Under the Blue Sky which weaves together the lives of six people who try to work out where they are as the new century begins. Sheila Hancock and Jonathan Cullen star, with Samantha Edmonds, Lisa Palfrey and Justin Salinger. Rufus Norris directs with design by Katrina Lindsay, lighting by Johanna Town and sound by Rich Walsh. The production begins previews tonight, opens on 19 September and runs until 7 October.

Under the Blue Sky is followed by Exposure, the Royal Court's Young Writers Progamme in which a variety of full-length plays, readings and extracts from the work of under 26-year-olds will be staged.

The Upstairs autumn season concludes with the world premiere of Caryl Churchill's new play Far Away, directed by former Court artistic director Stephen Daldry. One of Britain's leading contemporary playwrights, Churchill's many plays include Top Girls, Serious Money, Cloud Nine and Blue Heart. Far Away features actress Linda Bassett, star of East is East on both stage and screen. It is designed by Ian MacNeill, with lighting by Rick Fisher and sound by Paul Arditti. The production runs from 20 November to 22 December, with previews from 23 November.