As previously rumoured, Mike Leigh looks set to return to the National Theatre with a new play next year, continuing his long-term collaboration with actress Lesley Manville. More details are starting to emerge about the project, which is to be produced in the NT Cottesloe in the autumn of 2011. Leigh is expected to direct the piece using his usual technique of devising scenes through improvising with a group of actors. Speaking to the BBC, Manville, who has appeared in His Dark Materials and Pillars Of The Community at the National, said: "As ever we don't know what it is. Like all his work you start with nothing. The title comes last, character will start to come on day one of rehearsal, but there's no premise." Prior to his work at the National, Leigh, whose film credits include Secrets And Lies and Vera Drake, stages his 1979 play Ecstasy at the Hampstead Theatre, opening 16 March (previews from 10 March) and running to 9 April 2011, the first time he has revisited the darkly comic work.