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Cast: Anita Dobson's RSC debut & Macbeth at the Crucible

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Anita Dobson will play Mistress Quickly in The Merry Wives of Windsor at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon this autumn. The play, which will be directed by Phillip Breen, will play in repertoire from 25 October until 12 January.

Dobson first found fame playing Angie Watts in EastEnders in the 1980s and has since appeared in a number of television dramas and sitcoms, including The Bill, Red Dwarf and Holby City.

Highlights of her stage career include being nominated for the 2003 Olivier Award for best actress for her role in Frozen at the National Theatre and appearing in Calendar Girls at the Noel Coward Theatre in 2009. In 2005 she played Gertrude in English Touring Theatre's production of Hamlet. The Merry Wives of Windsor will be Dobson's debut with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Desmond Barrit, whose varied stage career includes having played Hector in The History Boys, the Wizard in Wicked! and numerous roles at the RSC and NT, will play Falstaff.

Geoffrey Streatfeild and Claudie Blakley have been cast in Macbeth, the first production in the autumn season at the Sheffield Crucible. The play opens on 5 September and runs until 6 October.

Streatfeild, who appeared at the Crucible most recently in Michael Frayn's Copenhagen, will play the title role, while Blakley portrays his wife. She returns to the theatre following her appearance in its 2005 production of Edward Bond's Lear.

Streatfeild has performed at the National Theatre in Earthquakes in London and The History Boys and with the RSC in Henry V, Henry IV Parts 1 & 2 and Henry VI Parts 1 & 2. His television work includes Spooks and The Thick of It.

Blakely appeared in The Comedy of Errors and The Cherry Orchard at the NT last year and is known from her appearances in the BBC series Cranford and Robert Altman's 2001 film, Gosford Park.

Daniel Evans, artistic director at the Crucible, will direct, supported by designer Richard Kent, lighting designer David Plater and composer and sound designer Richard Taylor.


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