Gemma Arterton to play the Duchess of Malfi at new indoor Globe Theatre

The actress returns to the stage after filming Hollywood blockbusters

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The Independent Culture

Gemma Arterton is returning to Shakespeare's Globe theatre in London next year to play the Duchess of Malfi.

The Tamara Drewe actress will take the leading role in the inaugural production at the new indoor Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.

Named after the American film director and actor behind the rebuilding of the Globe, the £7.5 million candlelit venue will open in January 2014.

John Webster's tragic Jacobean play was performed at the original Globe Theatre in the early 1600s, and explores corruption, power and revenge after a Duchess marries a lower-class man.

While Arterton has dabbled in mainstream Hollywood films including Quantum of Solace and Prince of Persia, the RADA graduate has also tackled weightier roles. She received critical acclaim in 2007 for her performance as Rosaline in the Bard's late 16th century play Love's Labour's Lost, and went on to play Tess in the BBC adaptation of Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles.

Arterton said: "To play the Duchess of Malfi in a magical new theatre seemed an irresistible opportunity for me. I am thrilled to be coming back to Shakespeare's Globe where I made my stage debut and I really look forward to the adventure of performing in such an intimate and wonderful space."

Shakespeare's Globe concluded its outdoor summer season in mid-October, after staging productions of The Tempest, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Macbeth.