Imelda Staunton and Conleth Hill to Star in West End Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

News   Imelda Staunton and Conleth Hill to Star in West End Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
James Macdonald will direct the play at the Harold Pinter Theatre, opening in February 2017.
Imelda Staunton in <i>Gypsy</i>
Imelda Staunton in Gypsy Johan Persson

Imelda Staunton and Conleth Hill are to star in the first production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? to be announced since playwright Edward Albee's death, beginning performances February 22, 2017, prior to an official opening March 9, for a run through May 27, at the West End's Harold Pinter Theatre.

The production will be directed by James Macdonald and produced by Sonia Friedman.

Following the news of Mr. Albee's passing on September 16, Guardian chief critic Michael Billington wrote, “With America currently engaged in its own form of post-truth politics, now seems the perfect time to revive Albee’s enduring masterpiece about the danger of living in a world of illusions.” The play portrays a married American college professor George and his wife Martha who invite a new professor Nick and wife Honey to drinks, and play out a series of toxic games with each other and them.

Staunton, who plays Martha, was recently seen in the West End as Rose in Gypsy, which she is expected to reprise on Broadway in 2017. Other notable credits include Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd, for which she won an Olivier Award, and the role of Claire in Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance at the Almeida Theatre. In total, Staunton has been nominated for 11 Olivier Awards, winning four. On film Staunton is perhaps best known for playing the title role in Vera Drake, for which she received the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role and was Oscar-nominated as well, and for the role of Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films.

Hill, who plays George, is perhaps best known for his role as Lord Varys in the HBO television series Game of Thrones. On Broadway, he was twice Tony-nominated for reprising the roles in Stones in His Pockets and The Seafarer that he had originated in London. He also won the Olivier Award for his role in the West End production of The Producers. His film credits include Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and Whatever Works, directed by Woody Allen.

Macdonald previously directed Staunton in the Royal Court's production of Circle Mirror Transformation and the Almeida's production of A Delicate Balance. His extensive Royal Court directorial credits include Cary Churchill's Love & Information and Drunk Enough to Say I Love You? (that subsequently transferred to New York's Minetta Lane and Public Theater, respectively) and Mike Bartlett's Cock (that subsequently transferred to the Duke on 42nd Street). Other New York credits include Cloud Nine (Atlantic), King Lear and The Book of Grace (both at the Public), Top Girls (MTC on Broadway), Dying City (Lincoln Center) and John Gabriel Borkman (transferred from Dublin's Abbey to BAM).

The production will be designed by Tom Pye. Further casting is still to be announced.

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