Gemma Arterton to star in Made in Dagenham musical

Gemma Arterton in Made In Dagenham Arterton will play the lead role of Rita, who leads her co-workers out on strike

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Gemma Arterton is to star in a West End musical version of 2010 film Made in Dagenham.

The former Bond girl will take the lead role of Rita O'Grady, a part played on the big screen by Sally Hawkins.

The show, about women who battled for equal rights at a Ford factory in Essex in 1968, is billed as a musical comedy.

Richard Bean, who wrote One Man, Two Guvnors, is writing the script for the show, which opens at the Adelphi theatre in London on 5 November.

In a statement, Arterton said she was "beyond thrilled" to be starring in the show.

"It's an important story that I'm passionate about telling, and we intend to tell it with wit, warmth and, of course, a lot of singing and dancing in this production."

Hawkins, Oscar-nominated this year for her work in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine, said she was "really pleased" the film was being adapted for the stage.

"I'm very proud of the film and I can't wait to see it," she told the BBC. "If they need me, I'm here."

'Big-hearted'

Arterton has just finished playing the lead role in The Duchess of Malfi at the new Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in London.

She has previously appeared in the plays The Little Dog Laughed and The Master Builder as well as such films as Tamara Drewe and 2008 Bond film Quantum of Solace.

Made in Dagenham will be directed by Rupert Goold, who is known for masterminding such shows as Enron and the recent American Psycho musical starring Doctor Who's Matt Smith.

He said Made in Dagenham had an "engaging, relatable and vital story" and that he would create a "big-hitting, big-hearted musical".

"From my first watch of Made in Dagenham, I knew it was a piece I wanted to be involved in bringing to the stage," he said.

The show will also star Adrian Der Gregorian, as Rita's husband Eddie, and feature music by James Bond composer David Arnold and lyrics by Richard Thomas of Jerry Springer: The Opera fame.

The first previews will take place on 9 October, with an official opening night scheduled for 5 November.

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