Fry to make London theatre return

Stephen Fry Fry hosted the Bafta film awards in London last weekend

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Stephen Fry is to take to the stage in his first major role for 17 years, appearing in Twelfth Night at London's Globe later this year.

Fry will play Malvolio opposite the Globe's former artistic director Mark Rylance, as Lady Olivia, in a three-week run beginning on 22 September.

In 1995, Fry walked out during a West End run of Simon Gray's Cell Mates, and fled to Belgium claiming stage fright.

He later blamed his departure on bipolar disorder.

The biography section of the actor and broadcaster's website says the incident "was very nearly his undoing".

"Walking out of the play at the beginning of its West End run Fry vanished," it says, adding that, "contemplating suicide, he disappeared off to Belgium".

"The experience still haunts him but the depression has now faded to embarrassment and the anger to forgiveness," it adds.

Mark Rylance in Jerusalem Rylance won a number of awards for his role in Jez Butterworth's Jerusalem, in London and New York

"Stephen Fry is now a man content."

Rylance was the Globe's first artistic director, holding the post from its opening in 1995 to 2005.

He directed and acted in plays every season and became known for exploring Elizabethan theatre practices.

Rylance is reprising the role of Olivia that he played in the Globe's 2002 production of Twelfth Night. As with that run, September's staging will be performed by an all-male cast.

It has also been announced that actors Liam Brennan and Peter Hamilton Dyer will reprise their 2002 roles as Orsino and jester Feste respectively.

As part of the Globe's The Play's The Thing season, 52-year-old Rylance will also take the title role in Richard III, which runs between July and October.

The summer season begins on 7 June with Dominic Dromgoole's new production of Henry V.

Rylance's portrayal of modern-day pied piper Johnny "Rooster" Byron, in the West End and on Broadway, in Jez Butterworth's Jerusalem won him a number of awards including last year's best actor Tony.

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