Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre (pictured) celebrates its 40th anniversary tomorrow (Saturday 1 October 2005), and the venue’s Mark Thompson, in his third season as artistic director, has programmed a mixture of classics and new work for the coming season to commemorate the milestone. Highlights include a fresh two-part version of Faust and revivals of Tennessee Williams and Christopher Hampton.

Drama from Scotland, England, France, Germany and the US all features in a schedule that aims to build on the success of the Lyceum's past few seasons, which saw growing audiences and popular tours taking in-house productions beyond the company’s Edinburgh home. Thomson said: "I hope this programme of work is a clear articulation of why the Lyceum exists and should continue to exist after 40 years. Contemporary voices, premieres and classics speak together in a broad welcome to anyone who loves theatre."

Currently playing until 15 October 2005 is As You Like It, co-produced with Nottingham Playhouse and Belgrade Theatre, Coventry. The bard's comedy of flirting, folly, lies and love is followed by Tennessee Williams' 1955 classic Richard Baron, from 22 October to 19 November (See {News::E8821124985296/">Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, 26 Aug 2005).

In the New Year, Tony Cownie directs Scottish dramatist Liz Lochhead’s version of Tartuffe, Moliere’s 1664 comic classic about a con man who attempts to deceive a well-to-do gentleman with a show of piety. It runs from 14 January to 11 February 2006.

Headlining the season is a new two-part version of the Goethe’s epic 18th-century morality tale Faust, about a man who sells his soul to the devil. Adapted by John Clifford, whose version of Anna Karenina was one of the hits of last season at the Lyceum, the two plays will be presented in repertory over the course of six weeks from 25 February to 8 April 2006. There will be several opportunities for theatregoers to catch both plays in one day.

The Lyceum’s 40th anniversary season concludes with a new production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, running 22 April to 20 May 2006. Based on Choderlos de Laclos' 1782 novel about the sexually fuelled power struggles of the French aristocracy, Christopher Hampton's stage adaptation premiered at the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1985 in a production, starring Alan Rickman and Lindsay Duncan, that transferred to Broadway and won numerous awards including the Olivier for Best New Play. In 1988, the piece was famously made into the Oscar-winning Hollywood film Dangerous Liaisons, with John Malkovich and Glenn Close (pictured) in the leads and Michelle Pfeiffer playing Valmont's virtuous conquest Madame de Tourvel.

- by Caroline Ansdell