Screen star Helen Baxendale will return to the stage to lead forthcoming drama The Distance, Deborah Bruce’s exploration of parenthood that plays at the Orange Tree Theatre this autumn.
Directed by Charlotte Gwinner, the sharply funny production will run from 8 October to 8 November and will be the second play to play in new Artistic Director Paul Miller’s inaugural season at the helm.
Baxendale will take the lead after a five year absence from the stage following credits including After Miss Julie (Donmar Warehouse) and Swimming With Sharks in the West End.
A well-known face on screen, her many leading credits include appearances in current BBC comedy Cuckoo, Cold Feet and Cardiac Arrest. She will still be best known to many, however, for her high profile turn as Emily in American sitcom Friends.
The actor will be joined in the cast by Emma Beattie (Ivanov in the West End) and Clare Lawrence-Moody (Mine, Hampstead Theatre) as old friends who struggle to support Baxendale’s character Bea when she returns home after three years abroad having made a very bold choice about her life.
The Distance will also feature appearances from Daniel Hawksford, who last appeared at the National Theatre in Much Ado About Nothing, Timothy Knightley (Natural Affection, Jermyn Street Theatre), RSC regular Oliver Ryan, who was last seen on the London stage in the Tricycle Theatre’s Red Velvet, and young actor Bill Milner.