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Cast: Bush Books, McCormack Heresy, Metcalf Journey

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The Bush Theatre opens its new home, the old library on Uxbridge Road, next month (14 October 2011) with a spectacular 66-writer, 23-director, 130-actor, 24-hour production of Sixty-Six Books.

The cast will include Samuel Barnett, Billy Bragg, Nicholas Burns, Arthur Darvill, Peter De Jersey, Mariah Gale, Beverly Klein, Ralf Little, Pauline McLynn, Hattie Morahan, Bill Paterson, Claire Price, Rafe Spall and Michelle Terry, to name a few.

Sixty-Six Books features writers from a range of disciplines, including Jeanette Winterson, Kwame Kwei-Armah, Wole Soyinka, David Edgar, Tim Rice, Billy Bragg, Carol Ann Duffy and even the Archbishop of Canterbury, who have each crafted an individual and contemporary response to an ancient text.

Outgoing artistic director Josie Rourke said: “I can't imagine a better way to celebrate the opening of the new Bush Theatre. This is an explosion of actors. It feels very right to begin the life of the new Bush with a performance that incorporates the work of over 200 writers, actors, directors and artists.”

Sixty-Six Books previews from 10 October, and runs until 29 October. The performance cycle will also spill out of Shepherd’s Bush for a special 12-hour overnight performance at Westminster Abbey on 21 October.

Catherine McCormack will make her Royal Shakespeare Company debut in the world premiere of Helen Edmundson’s The Heresy of Love, which opens on 8 February 2012 (previews from 2 February) in the Swan Theatre.

McCormack plays Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, the 17th-century nun with a gift for writing poetry and plays (including The House a Desires, which was performed as part of the RSC’s Spanish Golden Age Season in 2004). Cruz was celebrated by the court but her success created alarm and jealousy within the Church.

McCormack’s films include Loaded, Braveheart, Spy Game and Dangerous Beauty. Amongst her recent stage credits are: The 39 Steps, Nora in A Doll’s House directed by Peter Hall at the Theatre Royal Bath and the UK tour of Headlong’s Six Characters in Search of an Author.

The Heresy of Love will be directed by Nancy Meckler and designed by Katrina Lindsay, the same team that produced the RSC’s current production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

American actress Laurie Metcalf will join David Suchet in Anthony Page’s West End revival of Eugene O'Neill Long Day's Journey Into Night, which transfers to the Apollo Theatre from 3 April to 18 August 2012 following a run at Richmond Theatre.

O'Neill's 1941 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama tells the story of the Tyrones, a family on the edge, with a druggie mother, penny-pinching father and alcoholic son. The last major West End production, in 2000, also ran on Shaftesbury Avenue, at the Lyric Theatre, with Jessica Lange as mother Mary Tyrone (the part Metcalf will play) and Charles Dance as father James (the part Suchet will play).

Metcalf, who is widely known for playing Jackie Harris in the sitcom Roseanne, was last on the London stage in 2001 when she appeared in All My Sons at the National Theatre. Her most recent stage credits in New York include her Tony-nominated appearance in David Mamet's November.

- Theo Bosanquet & Natalie Generalovich


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