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Leigh and Manville make National return

Published 8 December 2010

British stage and screen director Mike Leigh is to return to the National Theatre with a new production in 2011, once again collaborating with actress Lesley Manville.

The man behind much-acclaimed movies including Secrets And Lies and Vera Drake is to create a new piece to be staged at the Cottesloe theatre next autumn, though exact dates are yet to be announced.

Little is known about the production, as Leigh will employ his usual technique of working closely with an improvising group of actors during the piece’s rehearsal period to create the finished play.

It is has been confirmed, however, that regular Leigh collaborator Manville will be among the cast. The British actress has previously worked at the National Theatre in productions including His Dark Materials and Pillars Of The Community, while her film credits alongside Leigh include High Hopes, Topsy-Turvy and Leigh’s latest cinematic offering Another Year.

Speaking to the BBC, Manville said: “As ever we don’t know what it is. Like all his work you start with nothing. The title comes last, character will start to come on day one of rehearsal, but there’s no premise.”

Leigh, whose plays include Babies Grow Old and Abigail’s Party, last had work staged at the National Theatre in 2005, when Two Thousand Years, a drama about three generations of a Jewish middle-class family, played at the Cottesloe.

Prior to his work at the National Theatre, Leigh will return to the Hampstead theatre in March 2011, where he debuted Abigail’s Party in 1977. In 2011 he will revisit one of his previous works for the first time, reviving dark comedy Ecstasy about four working class friends living in north London.

MA

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