RSC veteran Oliver Ford Davies will be joined by British film stars James Frain and Tom Hollander in the Almeida production of King Lear, which is also distinguished by being Jonathan Kent's final production for the theatre during his lauded reign as joint artistic director. King Lear opens at the Almeida at King's Cross on 12 February 2002, following previews from 31 January, and continues to 30 March.

Davies, who plays the title role, has worked extensively for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre, where his credits include Racing Demon, for which he won the Best Actor Olivier. His many productions for the Almeida include Naked, Ivanov and last year's Ralph Fiennes-led Shakespeare double bill in Shoreditch. On television, Davies has featured in Kavanagh QC and A Dance to the Music of Time; and on film, in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Sense and Sensibility and Mrs Brown.

Frain (pictured), who plays Edmund, has just starred in the BBC's television adaptation of William Boyd's Armadillo. On film, his credits include Where the Heart Is, Sunshine, Reindeer Games, Elizabeth and Hilary and Jackie, and he is soon to star in a major release of The Count of Monte Cristo. His last stage role was in March 2000 in the Royal Court's production of Christopher Shinn's Other People. At the Almeida, he has previously been seen in All for Love and The Rules of the Game.

Hollander, who plays Edgar, has just completed a run playing the lead in Michael Grandage's production of Don Juan for the Sheffield Crucible. His films include Gosford Park, Possession, Enigma, Bedrooms and Hallways, Some Mother's Son, Maybe Baby and Martha Meet Frank, Daniel and Laurence. Hollander's many other theatre credits include Tartuffe, The Judas Kiss and The Government Inspector (all for the Almeida), Mojo (Royal Court), The School for Scandal (National) and As You Like It (Cheek by Jowl).

The three men are joined in the cast by Nancy Carroll (Cordelia), Lesley Manville (Goneril), Lizzy McInnerny (Regan), Anthony O'Donnell (The Fool) and David Ryall (Earl of Gloucester). The production team - who have previously collaborated with Kent on The Tempest, Platonov and, in Shoreditch, Richard II and Coriolanus - are designer Paul Brown, lighting designer Mark Henderson, composer Jonathan Dove and sound designer John A Leonard.

Kent and his partner Ian McDiarmid, who took over the directorship of the Almeida in 1990, announced their joint resignation this past September. They will continue until next summer, ahead of the Almeida's return to its Islington home, which has been undergoing a £4m refurbishment since the end of last year.

Terri Paddock