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Plays cast: Stephanie Cole in This May Hurt a Bit and Charity Wakefield in The Blackest Black

Coronation Street star Cole to appear in Out of Joint's new NHS play directed by Max Stafford-Clark.

Stephanie Cole

Stephanie Cole, popularly known for playing Sylvia Goodwin in ITV soap opera Coronation Street, has been cast in Stella Feehily's new NHS play This May Hurt a Bit.

The play explores the UK's best-loved and most fiercely debated institution and is directed by Out of Joint Artistic Director Max Stafford-Clark whose experience of a major stroke in 2006, plus years of subsequent treatment, prompted playwright Stella Feehily (Max's wife) to research and write the play.

Cole plays Iris – an unswerving champion of the NHS, she finds herself unexpectedly in its care. Further casting includes brother and sister, Jane and Tristram Wymark (Midsomer Murders, ITV) as Mariel/The NHS and Winston Churchill/Mr Weaver respectively. Joining them will be Brian Protheroe (Long Days Journey Into Night, Octagon Theatre Bolton), Frances Ashman (People, NT), and Natalie Klamar (All's Well That Ends Well, RSC).

Further casting to be announced

UK Tour from 6 March, St James Theatre from 14 May

Charity Wakefield

Charity Wakefield (Sense and Sensibility) is joined by Ian Bonar (The Miracle, National Theatre) and John Light (Luise Millar, Donmar) in BAFTA winner Jeremy Brock's new play, The Blackest Black which opens this evening at Hampstead Downstairs.

Martin is a straight-laced introvert. Abi is a free-spirited extrovert. Jeremy Brock's unconventional love story asks whether the outcome of a collision resulting from the attraction of opposites is inherently unstable.

Until 8 February, hampsteadtheatre.com