The National will present the UK premieres of two new one-act plays by Edward Albee in the spring. The double bill of the American playwright s Finding the Sun and Marriage Play will open in the Cottesloe, the NT s most intimate venue, in May, though an exact date has not been confirmed.

Both plays will star Sheila Gish and Bill Paterson and will be directed by Anthony Page.

In Marriage Play, Albee returns to ground he furrowed so successfully in his most famous play, the 1962 classic Who s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, last seen in the West End in the Almeida production starring Diana Rigg. Like the acerbic George and Martha in Virginia Woolf, Marriage Play s Jack and Gillian have been married for 30 years, despite various affairs. The second play, Finding the Sun, also explores the theme of sham marriages.

Sheila Gish was recently seen in the West End in the revival of Tennessee Williams Suddenly Last Summer and won a 1996 Olivier Award for Best Supporting Performance in a Musical for Company. Her television credits include Pie in the Sky, Jonathan Creek and Highlander.

Anthony Page directed the revival of Albee s Pultizer Prize-winning drama A Delicate Balance, starring Eileen Atkins and Maggie Smith at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, three years ago. His other recent credits have included Hanif Kureish s Sleep with Me, also at the Cottesloe, and Enigmatic Variations, starring Donald Sutherland at the Savoy earlier this year.

Edward Albee s other works include Three Tall Women, Seascape and The Play About the Baby and Counting the Ways.