Olivier Award-winning actress Kathryn Hunter is returning to the Arcola Theatre to star in Leyla Nazli's new play The Mare Rider.

Directed by artistic director Mehmet Ergen, the production runs from 25 January to 16 February 2013 (previews from 25 January).

Elka is the Mare Rider, subversive and vengeful baby-stealer, a timeless creature of myth, who inhabits our dreams. In the maternity ward of a London Hospital, Selma is stuck between other people's reality and her own. She's visited by Elka from afar, who takes her on a fantastical journey of dreams and fears - stealing wine, meeting seahorses and mermaids, and riding mares across meadows.

Kathryn Hunter's previous work at the Arcola includes Tell Them I am Young and Beautiful and Yerma. Her other theatre credits include Kafka's Monkey (Young Vic), The Diver (Soho Theatre) and Peter Brook's Fragments (Young Vic).

She won an Olivier award in 1990 for Friedrich Durrenmatt's The Visit at the National Theatre. Her film credits include Mike Leigh's All or Nothing and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. As a director her credits include Othello with the RSC, The Birds for the National and Pericles at Shakespeare's Globe. She stepped down as an artistic associate of the RSC in 2011 due to creative differences.

Leyla Nazli was selected to be one of 'The Royal Court Fifty' to celebrate the theatre's 50th Anniversary year, where her play Silver Birch House had its first reading, later premiering at Arcola in 2007. She is currently executive producer at the Arcola Theatre.

Mehmet Ergen is the founding artistic director of the Arcola. Directing for the venue includes most recently Sweet Smell of Success, The Painter, The Cradle Will Rock, Release the Beat, Silver Birch House, Plebeians Rehearse the Uprising, I Can Get It For You Wholesale, Jitterbug, Chasing the Moment and An Enemy of the People.

Full casting for Mare Rider, which is being performed as part of Europe Now, a theatrical collaboration between theatres in Sweden, Turkey, Holland and Germany, will be announced shortly.