Nottingham Playhouse opens its autumn/winter 2003 season tonight (5 September 2003) with a staging of George Eliot's classic Victorian novel The Mill on the Floss. Other highlights of the season include all-new outings of Peter Brook's The Man Who and Shakespeare's Othello.

First presented by touring company Shared Experience, Helen Edmundson adaptation of Eliot's The Mill on the Floss, about headstrong miller's daughter Maggie Tulliver and her struggles in a male-dominated world, was a West End hit both in 1994 and when it was revived in 2001. At Nottingham, the new production - which runs until 20 September 2003 - is directed by Playhouse associate director Richard Baron, whose productions include the recent Gary Wilmot-led revival of Graham Greene'sTravels with My Aunt.

Nottingham's schedule of in-house productions resumes, from 3 to 18 October 2003, with The Man Who, theatre legend Peter Brook's renowned 1994 piece based on Oliver Sacks' book of identity, memory recognition and other neurological studies, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. This new production of the English-language version - translated by Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne - is directed by Nottingham's artistic director Giles Croft, whose production of Rat Pack Confidential transfers to the West End's Whitehall Theatre later this month (See News, 20 Aug 2003). The now Paris-based Brook is himself currently represented in London with his production of Le Costume at the Young Vic.

At the Playhouse, The Man Who is followed, from 31 October to 22 November 2003, by Paul Savage's production of Shakespeare tragedy, Othello, with Patrice Naiambana taking the title role. The season winds up when the annual pantomime takes up residence 29 November 2003 to 17 January 2004. This year sees Aladdin as Kenneth Alan Taylor returns for his 20th Christmas season, taking on the writing, directing and starring title status. The production plays a whopping 71 performances during its 49-day period.

The Playhouse recently received a £1.2m Heritage Lottery Fund grant which will enable the theatre, now in its fortieth year at the Wellington Circus venue, to upgrade their bar and foyer facilities. The new restaurant, to be unveiled as Cast, will include a glass-fronted exterior, delicatessen, restaurant, café, bar and lounge areas. Work is due for completion in late autumn.

The season's visiting highlights include the Young Vic's updated version of Hobson's Choice, Northern Stage Ensemble's production of George Orwell's Animal Farm and stand-up with Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Adventure, fresh from his Edinburgh Fringe run.

- by Jake Brunger