As previously reported, Leigh has cast frequent collaborator Lesley Manville as well as Marion Bailey, Sam Kelly and Wendy Nottingham who he has worked with on feature films. The cast also includes Ruby Bentall, Dorothy Duffy and David Horovitch.
In spite of its first preview being less than a week away, the National Theatre still bill the work as "A New Play by Mike Leigh" on their website. A spokesperson for the National this morning remained tight-lipped about the play's content.
A National Theatre commission, Leigh has devised his new work in his unique collaborative style. Leigh's previous plays include Babies Grow Old (RSC 1974), Abigail’s Party (Hampstead Theatre 1977), Goose-Pimples (Hampstead Theatre 1981) and It’s A Great Big Shame! (Theatre Royal Stratford East 1993).
Leigh's 2005 National Theatre production Two Thousand Years, his first new stage play for 22 years, was also premiered in the NT Cottesloe having been shrouded in secrecy.
Earlier this year Leigh returned to one of his plays for the first time, reviving his 1979 play Ecstasy at the Hampstead Theatre. The production subsequently transferred for a limited season at the West End's Duchess Theatre.
Now best known for his films, including Who’s Who (1978), Grown-Ups (1980), Meantime (1984), The Short and Curlies (1987), High Hopes (1988), Secrets and Lies (1996), Topsy-Turvy (1999), All or Nothing (2002), Vera Drake (2004) and, most recently, Another Year (2010).