Edinburgh's Royal Lyceum has this week opened its 2003/2004 season - the first under new artistic director Mark Thomson - with the first full Scottish production of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar in 30 years. A strong Scottish theme runs through the rest of the programme, which continues to May 2004, with new stagings of John Byrne, Des Dillon and Liz Lochhead revival as well as revivals of modern American classics by David Mamet and Arthur Miller.

In the Roman-set epic Julius Caesar (pictured), directed by Thomson himself, Kern Falconer takes the title role and is joined by Gilly Gilchrist (as Brutus), Kenneth Bryans (Cassius) and Phil McKee (Antony). The production continues to 18 October 2003 and is followed, from 24 October to 15 November 2003, by Graham McLaren's revival of Blood and Ice, Lochhead's first full length play, which untangles the complex relationships between Frankenstein author Mary Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley, his sister and Byron.

After the Christmas showing of Stuart Paterson's The Princess and the Goblin (27 November - 28 December 2003), the new year starts with a double dose of 20th-century American drama. Mamet's 1977 two-hander A Life in the Theatre is directed by Tony Cownie, from 10 to 31 January 2004, while Death of a Salesman, the 1949 Pulitzer Prize-winning classic by Whatsonstage.com-voted 'Greatest Living Playwright' Arthur Miller, runs from 7 February to 6 March 2004.

Scotland's own John Byrne (Slab Boys Trilogy, Writers Cramp) and Des Dillon (Miseryguts, Lavender Blue, Me and Ma Gal). Running from 13 March to 3 April 2004, Byrne's new version of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, Uncle Varick, relocates the story to northeast Scotland in 1964. The Lyceum schedule concludes with the world premiere of Dillon's Six Black Candles, which finds six superstitious sisters coming together to invoke spells and revenge in a council flat in modern Coatbridge. It plays 17 April to 8 May 2004.

- by Terri Paddock