Under the direction of Indhu Rubasingham, Adrian Lester will reprise his role as 19th century black American actor Ira Aldridge, who took over from Edmund Kean when the latter collapsed onstage while playing the title role in Othello.
In a press statement, Branagh commented, "Writing, direction and performance are exceptional in Red Velvet. I'm immensely proud to be presenting this work. I was aware of its development from its inception and believe Lolita Chakrabarti has written an important and exhilarating play which in its discussion of performance, politics, and race is as entertaining as it is illuminating."
Lester has added, "Getting Ira's story to the stage has been a labour of love for us. The fact that we now get to tell that story in the West End and in such illustrious company is fantastic."
Red Velvet won Chakrabarti the most promising playwright award in both the Evening Standard and Critics' Circle Theatre Awards. She has also worked as an actress for the past 25 years. She is currently writing a new play, a first feature film and developing an original television script.
Lester, who won the Critics' Circle Award in 2012 for Best Actor for Red Velvet, has appeared on the London stage in productions of Fences, Six Degrees Of Separation, As You Like It and Company. He has starred at the National in the title roles of Henry V and Othello, and has played Hamlet for Peter Brook at the Bouffes Du Nord in Paris and the Young Vic in London. He also starred in an all-black production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in the West End. His film credits include "Primary Colors," "The Day After Tomorrow," "Maybe Baby," "Born Romantic," "Love's Labour's Lost," "Dust," "Final Curtain" and "Doomsday." TV roles include Mickey Bricks in the long running BBC1 series "Hustle." To book tickets, contact the box office on 0844 482 9673 or visit www.branaghtheatre.com for more details.