According to the RSC's official website, the acclaimed actress will portray the Countess of Rossillion in the Shakespeare classic, which will play the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon Dec. 3, 2003-Feb. 7, 2004. Dench, who is an Honorary Associate Artist of the famed Royal Shakespeare Company, will be making her debut at the Swan Theatre under the direction of Gregory Doran; this appearance marks her first RSC engagement since her turn as Cymbeline's Imogen in 1979. After its Swan run, the production will move to a London venue-to-be-announced produced by Bill Kenwright and Thelma Holt. About her upcoming role, Dench said in a statement, "The Countess is one of the few Shakespearean women that I've never played, and I'm thrilled to be working with Greg Doran and being part of a big company again." A bittersweet comedy, All's Well That Ends Well was last staged for the RSC by Peter Hall in 1992.
Dench was most recently on the London stage in David Hare's two-hander, Breath of Life, opposite another Dame, Maggie Smith. Dench chose not to repeat her role on Broadway, when the play arrives in New York this year. Dianne Wiest will play Dench's role on The Great White Way.