One of Australia's foremost stage stars, Ruth Cracknell, has withdrawn from the forthcoming Sydney Theatre Company production of Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance. Her exit follows the sudden illness of her husband Eric Phillips, a Sydney art gallery owner. The couple were holidaying in Europe when he suffered a stroke. She will be replaced in the role of Claire by Maggie Kirkpatrick, known to television audiences through the long running soap opera Prisoner:Cell Block H in which she played a prison warden known as 'The Freak', but she also has vast stage credits in Australia and England. The production, directed by Simon Phillips, also features Michael Craig, Dinah Shearing and Heather Mitchell. The season at the Drama Theatre of the Sydney Opera House opens on July 11.