Lesley Manville has been announced as the lead in Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s new play, Her Naked Skin, which will run from 24 July at the National’s Olivier theatre.
The play takes place during the climax of the suffragette movement in 1913. In the fight for their right to vote, thousands of women were incarcerated in Holloway Prison as a result of their protest. Lady Celia Cain, played by Manville, finds herself imprisoned and frustrated both by her lack of political power and her suffocating marriage. Her life is changed inextricably when she becomes involved with a young seamstress, Eve Douglas, inside the walls of Holloway.
Manville is no stranger to the National Theatre, having appeared in numerous productions at the venue, most recently The Alchemist, Pillars Of The Community and His Dark Materials.
Beginning a successful acting career in the theatre in the 1970s she boasts an impressive theatre résumé. She was last seen on the London stage in 2007 starring alongside Dame Diana Rigg in the Old Vic’s production of All About My Mother in the role of Manuela. Manville’s commercial success was heightened as a result of her collaborations with Mike Leigh, appearing in several of his critically acclaimed films including Secrets And Lies and All Or Nothing. She has also enjoyed a successful television career, recently playing Mrs Rose in the BBC award-winning Cranford.
Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s work includes The Night Season, which ran at the National in 2004 and earned her the Critics’ Circle Most Promising Playwright Award. Other plays include Shoreditch Madonna, The Soldier’s Tale and her adaptation of An Enemy Of The People, which ran at the Arcola theatre last month.
Her Naked Skin will be directed by Howard Davies, Associate Director at the National. He is currently directing Never So Good, and past productions include Present Laughter, The Life Of Galileo and The House Of Bernarda Alba.
Her Naked Skin previews from 24 July (press night 31 July) and is currently booking until 9 August.