Entertainment & Arts

Sheridan Smith to star in Ibsen's Hedda Gabler

Sherdian Smith and Duncan James
Image caption Smith's role in Legally Blonde won her two Best Actress awards including an Oliver

Olivier award-winning actress Sheridan Smith will play the title role in the Old Vic's new production of Hedda Gabler, starting this September.

Anna Mackmin will direct Henrik Ibsen's play, adapted by Brian Friel, as part of the London theatre's Autumn and Winter programme.

Old Vic artistic director Kevin Spacey described the "iconic and impactful play" as a highlight of the season.

It will be followed by musical Kiss Me, Kate, directed by Trevor Nunn.

Cole Porter's award-winning musical is a co-production with Chichester Festival Theatre and open there in June, before moving to The Old Vic in December.

"Trevor Nunn is a much-loved member of The Old Vic family," said Spacey. "I'm thrilled to welcome him back with Kiss Me, Kate, a wonderful production which I know London audiences will embrace warmly."

Spacey also praised Hedda Gabler star Sheridan Smith, who has combined a successful stage career with TV after finding fame in British sitcoms like Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps and Gavin and Stacey.

'Wonderful actress'

Her portrayal of Elle Woods in West End musical Legally Blonde won her best actress awards at both the Oliviers and the Evening Standard Theatre Awards.

She went on to win an Oliver and a Whats on Stage Award for her role in Terrange Rattigan play Flare Path, in which she starred alongside Sienna Miller.

"Sheridan is a wonderful actress who has rightly received acclaim for her recent work," said Spacey. "I am sure audiences will be intrigued to see her tackle this role."

Smith tweeted after the announcement and joked: "Must need my Hedda testing taking on this role, but it's good to step out your comfort zone."

After the success of Michael Frayn's Noises Off, which is still playing in the West End, the theatre has also extended the playwright and novellist's cold war drama Democracy.

The 2003 play will now run for a further two weeks until 28 July. It opens later this month, after being revived as part of the Michael Frayn season at Shefield's Crucible in March.

Acclaimed director and choreographer Rob Ashford joins The Old Vic as Associate Director. He previously held the same position for Michael Grandage at the Donmar.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites