Sheridan Smith to star as Hedda Gabler

 

Legally Blonde star Sheridan Smith is set to play Hedda Gabler in a London stage production of Henrik Ibsen's seminal work.

The actress - who won a Laurence Olivier Award for Legally Blonde The Musical but is also known for The Royle Family, Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet of Crisps, and Gavin And Stacey - will be treading the boards at The Old Vic.

Hedda Gabler was published in 1890, with the part of Hedda often seen as one of the great dramatic roles in theatre.

Smith, 30, who also scooped an Olivier Award for Flare Path, will be taking on a role dubbed the female Hamlet.

Despite winning acclaim on the West End, the actress, from Epworth, Lincolnshire, has said of her success: "I didn't have any formal training so I always feel like I'm blagging it."

Kevin Spacey, The Old Vic's artistic director, said that he was "particularly pleased" Smith would be playing the lead role of the aristocratic general's daughter in "such an iconic and impactful play".

"Sheridan is a wonderful actress who has rightly received acclaim for her recent work and I am sure audiences will be intrigued to see her tackle this role," he said.

Playwright Brian Friel's adaptation of Ibsen's work, seen as a classic of realism in 19th century drama, will open on September 12.

Directed by Anna Mackmin, it will also star Buffy Davis - who is best known as Jolene in Radio 4 drama The Archers but has also appeared in Doc Martin and Silk - as Bertha.

Former Coronation Street actress and stage and screen star Anne Reid will also appear along with Adrian Scarborough and Fenella Woolgar.

Other productions announced for the autumn/winter season include Trevor Nunn directing Kiss Me, Kate.

The award-winning musical is a co-production with the Chichester Festival Theatre based on Cole Porter's music.

Michael Frayn's cold war drama Democracy extends its run and director and choreographer Rob Ashford, whose theatre credits include Olivier-nominated productions of A Streetcar Named Desire, is joining The Old Vic as associate director.

PA

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