As previously tipped (See The Goss, 2 Sep 2004), Dawson's Creek heartthrob Joshua Jackson (pictured) will shortly be making his West End debut. He’ll star with Patrick Stewart in a revival of David Mamet’s 1977 two-hander A Life in the Theatre, which will open at Shaftesbury Avenue’s Apollo theatre on 2 February 2005 (previews from 27 January).

Canadian-born Jackson - best known for playing bad boy Pacey for six years in US television’s Dawson’s Creek, which finished in 2003 – has appeared on the big screen in Cruel Intentions, Scream 2 and The Laramie Project and will soon be seen in Cursed with Christina Ricci and Shadow Dancer with Harvey Keitel. He’s not appeared on stage since the age of eight.

Fittingly, in Mamet’s semi-autobiographical story about two thespians who share a journey on and off stage together in a fading small town rep, Jackson will play aspiring newcomer John who turns to Stewart’s grandiose veteran actor Robert as a mentor and guide for his “life in the theatre”.

Patrick Stewart last year returned to the London stage for the first time in a decade, taking the title role in the West End revival of Ibsen’s The Master Builder. Though he’s best known internationally for his sci-fi screen roles in the likes of Star Trek and X Men, he's a classically trained actor and an honorary associate artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he's played such Shakespearean roles as King John, Shylock, Henry IV, Cassius, Titus Andronicus, Oberon, Leontes and Enobarbus.

His other stage credits include The Tempest, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and, in the UK and US, his Olivier Award-winning one-man adaptation of Dickens' A Christmas Carol. In 2001, Stewart returned to his Yorkshire roots to star in the West Yorkshire Playhouse production of JB Priestley's rarely performed Johnson Over Jordan.

A Life in the Theatre - which was previously staged at the West End’s Theatre Royal Haymarket in a production starring Denholm Elliott and Samuel West, who was today announced as Sheffield Theatres’ new artistic director (See Today’s Other News) - will be directed by Lindsay Posner, who recently directed two other star-studded David Mamet revivals in the West End - Oleanna with Aaron Eckhart and Julia Stiles, and Sexual Perversity in Chicago with Matthew Perry and Minnie Driver.

The new production is presented, in association with Theatreshare plc, by Clare Lawrence and Anna Waterhouse for Out of the Blue, who were also behind Oleanna and This Is Our Youth, which brought a succession of Hollywood young guns to London, amongst them Jake Gyllenhaal and Matt Damon.

- by Terri Paddock